America's long distance darling has some inside intel for your marathon season.
Shalane Flanagan's name is already written into the history books as one of the best American long-distance runners of all time. Among the slew of records in her possession is the result of her performance at this year's Berlin Marathon, a 2:21:14, which made her the second fastest American woman in the history of the distance. If you're wondering how the marvel from Marblehead, Massachusetts, is able to get in such sickly-fast shape, she gave us a glimpse into her training regimen, from her go-to strength moves to her post-run recovery routine. For those gearing up for a 26.2 this marathon season—at this weekend's New York City Marathon, for example—Flanagan no doubt serves as an inspiration. Read on.
The Training Regimen: I started training for the Berlin Marathon at the end of June. I spent the first month up at altitude in Park City, Utah, focused on building my base. During this phase, I emphasize high mileage (between 105 and 120 miles a week), which includes a long run of 2 to 3 hours and one speed session, either a fartlek or 400-meter repeats.
I also incorporated a gym session 3 times a week. The gym is an important part of my training because not only does it help me build muscle but most importantly I look at it as injury prevention. I cycle three different kinds of workouts in the gym: balance/stretching/drills, light weights, and heavier lifting. Every gym day has an emphasis on my core, which I consider to be my power house. A strong core keeps my form together at the end of long workouts and marathons. Some of my favorite upper body moves include pull-ups, dips and med ball throws; for legs, I like body squats on bosu ball (single and double), and for abs, I am a fan of crunches, planks and side bends over a big Swiss ball.
The Nutrition Regimen: My nutrition plan is pretty simple: An emphasis on quality, natural and nutrient-dense foods. My go-to meals and snacks all incorporate proteins, fats, and carbs. A typical lunch or dinner has a lean protein like fish, turkey, chicken, eggs or bison with vegetables, fruit, nuts and a grain like quinoa or farro. My snack is typically a piece of fruit with a KIND bar because I am focused on recovery and keeping my energy levels high. A cheat meal is typically a burger and fries!
The Regeneration Regimen: My recovery routine is focused on replenishing my fuel within 30 minutes of a hard effort. I try to hydrate with an electrolyte drink and a snack that combines protein, fat, and carbs. I also use a foam roller to work out any tight areas that need help. For really deep tissue work, I see a physical therapist or massage therapist. If I am particularly sore or fatigued I will also take an ice bath or swim; I find the hydrotherapy to be helpful in flushing out toxins in the legs.
What’s Up Next: As far as next year, I hope to run another marathon, attack some American road records (10k, 13.1 or marathon), and make the U.S. track and field team for the World Championships in China.
Image: Courtesy of Nike