10 Questions with Olympic Medalist Shalane Flanagan
June 19, 2018
We’ve partnered with American Runner and NY Times Best Selling Author Shalane Flanagan to learn more about what fuels her passion for running and how she fuels her body. Shalane has been running at an elite level for 16 years and typically runs 100-plus miles a week. She attributes her ability to sustain this level of training to her nutrient-dense diet….and her daily intake of Yasso. Okay, we added that part! Read on for more about this amazing woman who’s hometown is just a few miles from our HQ.
- Shalane, you are a well-accomplished and decorated athlete, but which of your many achievements are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my high-level consistency over 14 years as a professional runner. My favorite race and memory that will stand out is my 2017 NYC win!
- Both of your parents were world class runners. Were you always destined to be a professional runner, or was it a decision that you made for yourself?
Growing up I idolized my parents. So I naturally wanted to do things they were into. Instead of nudging me toward running, they actually encouraged me to play a variety of sports and held me back from running. As a result, it made me want to run even more! I discovered my passion for running at a young age and it grew as I started to experience success.
- At What point in your life did you realize that you had the potential to be an Olympic runner?
I dreamed of becoming an Olympian but the reality of it didn’t really materialize until my senior year in college. I redshirted my outdoor track season in an attempt to Qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics…which worked!
- Are there any young female runners that remind you of yourself, or that you believe we should look out for in the near future?
The future is extremely bright for Women’s American distance running! I believe we are in a golden era. There is so much depth across multiple distances that make this an exciting time. I believe my training group, Bowerman Track Club, has some of the most talented and decorated women that will be paving the way for many years.
- Can you share with us your typical daily diet? Any foods you “reward” yourself with or favorite recipes from Run Fast, Eat Slow?
Breakfast – coffee with cream, hearty bowl of oatmeal from Run Fast Eat Slow, which includes berries, nuts and creamer.
Lunch – salad with a grain like farro, rice or quinoa, Roasted veggies, feta, balsamic dressing and a protein like fish, chicken or steak. With a side of bread and butter, tea and chocolate.
Dinner – marathon lasagna with a big salad or sweet potato salmon cakes with avocado cream sauce with a big salad! (Both recipes are from Run Fast Eat Slow). Post dinner treat – a Yasso bar! (Maybe two)
- What’s your food philosophy? Do you allow yourself a “cheat” day? Or is it more about fueling your body based on how you feel and not restricting yourself?
I don’t follow a “diet” – instead I preach indulgent nourishment. I like to eat food that is healthy but not bland and boring. I focus on fueling for training so I have good energy. Implementing healthy fats into all my meals helps me feel satiated and not “hangry” all the time.
- Do you have any race day rituals or superstitions?
Yes, I always look for the number 8. I have found throughout my career that the #8 has brought good results! So when I see 8 on my bib, my fluid table or it’s my hotel floor…it usually means a great race!
- How did you celebrate after a successful race, like your amazing first place finish in the 2017 New York Marathon?
I celebrated with NY pizza and a beer!
- What had been the lowest point of your running career, and what did it take to bounce back from it?
My lowest point was breaking a bone in my back as I was training for the Boston Marathon. I was devastated that I lost the opportunity to race but eventually I refocused on a new goal. I learned that a setback is just a setup for a comeback.
- NBC Sports quoted you back in April saying that you “have no idea” whether or not you will compete for the 2020 Olympics. What is shaping your decision, and do you feel you have anything left to prove in Tokyo?
Tokyo would be my 5th Olympic team if I made it. Which would be an incredible accomplishment. I need to make sure I have the passion and desire to go through the training. My passion and goals are what has kept me going for so many years. Another Olympic medal would be nice but even if that doesn’t happen I feel very happy and at peace with my career. I’ve exceeded what I thought I would ever achieve!
BONUS QUESTION: Okay we have to ask – favorite Yasso flavor?!