What We Can Learn From Shalane Flanagan’s American Record Attempt

This past weekend, Shalane Flanagan went for the American Record at the Berlin Marathon. She needed to run below a 2:19:36 (crazy town). Although she didn’t get it, she did run a 2:21:14, and ran 48 seconds faster than her personal best.

Shalane FlanaganPhoto source

In April, she also ran the Boston Marathon (I was there!), and led most of the way, running at a blistering pace. She didn’t win, but she ran the fastest time an American woman has run at Boston, and many of the women who ran that race (and who ran Berlin), ran PRs.

The winner of the Boston Marathon, Rita Jeptoo, ran a course record that day (by almost two minutes!!). Furthermore, the second and third place females also ran under the course record.

So what’s my point? My point is that elite runners are able to break through mental barriers. When Shalane set a pace, other women went after it no fear. They knew they were running faster than their personal record pace but went for it anyway. That’s why so many ran below the fastest course time in Boston. They didn’t doubt their abilities.

Here’s a great quote Shalane gave in an interview about Rita Jeptoo in that race:

Rita gave me credit again at the awards ceremony that night, and credited me with her record run and she said she actually didn’t want to run that fast early on, and I think she was a bit frustrated. But she told me she couldn’t let me go. If she gave me any room, she may not make it up. It was too much of a gamble, so she just had to stick with the pace.

Shalane is known for racing hard and “wanting to hurt” in races. She’s not afraid to go out fast. All of these elites aren’t afraid of going out fast and working for it. I want that kind of grit when it comes to racing, especially in longer distances.

PS – She was aiming for 5:19 mile splits when trying to get that American Record. So crazy to me!!

I admire that she laid it all on the line and told the media exactly what her goals were. Sometimes I’m afraid to do that for fear of not meeting those goals, or being WAY off.

I want to learn how to be mentally strong in races like those elite runners. Running really is a mental sport.

Sure, in marathons (and in training) your legs get tired and achy, but sometimes it really is all about your mental fortitude. Can you push through and ignore your body being tired? When you start thinking, “I can’t do this,” can you immediately stop and switch your mentality?

In future races I’m going to think back on Shalane’s races and be motivated to push through. A good analogy I read recently was this: Squeeze your fist as hard as you can. Now squeeze harder. You could squeeze harder couldn’t you? Same thing goes for pushing your body. You can probably push harder when you think you can’t.

Now I’m really pumped for my next 5K and especially my half marathon in November!!

Have you watched any of Shalane’s recent races? She is one of my main running inspirations!


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Motivational Monday!

Happy Monday! Another new week…and less than 2 weeks until the New York City Marathon! =O

I decided to go with this quote today:

Once again, this quote is one I can relate to, especially while marathon training. As you may know, recently I’ve had to take multiple days off due to some shin pain. It has made me nervous, paranoid, and doubting myself. But I love this quote and need to remember it!

I need to “rid my mind of can’t” and think of everything I have accomplished and will accomplish on Nov. 3.

Sometimes it’s so easy for us to get down on ourselves and believe we will not do well enough (in whatever it may be), but if we just change our mindset, we could excel and potentially surprise ourselves….something I should write down on my hand or something on race day!

Have you read any good books on building mental strength? I need tips and help!


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Motivational Monday!

Happy Monday!

Today’s quote really resonates with me, especially with where I am at in marathon training:

I fear…not getting to the starting line because of my shin issues

I fearnot being able to run 26.2 miles

I fear…bonking around mile 18 again like I did in 2011

I fear…the Queensboro Bridge…because it’s a 1 mile long incline

I fear…being disappointed with my performance and time.

All of these things are going through my mind right now…and I know I should remain positive. Only 4 weeks left but I really, really want to do so much better in this race.

Of course I have a time goal, but honestly, I just don’t want to feel completely miserable like I did in 2011. I don’t want to have to basically walk the last 5 miles, and be angry when I cross the finish line. I want to be happy and celebrate with my mom…not end up in the medical tent.

But I have to let go of these fears! This quote is so true…and I experienced it first hand. When my mom and I ran the course 2 weeks ago, when we got to the Queensboro Bridge my heart rate went up. I was scared. This was where (in 2011) my downfall started…and I ended up having to walk part of the bridge, and then most of the rest of the way.

As we started running up it, I told myself to control my breathing and my heart rate would go down. Just take it one step at a time. People watch to make the time go by. Then…we made it over! I didn’t have to stop, and I felt fine most of the way.

That is an example of how fear holds you back, not a physical limitation. My legs and body could go up this bridge…but fear caused me to be afraid and have a mini anxiety attack. Now I just need to remember this instance when I am on the bridge in the actual race!

Whatever it is you do, when you find you are doubting yourself, ask yourself if it is just fear. Perhaps you do have a limitation, and you have to slowly work towards a goal. But sometimes it is your mind you need to overcome.

Do you have an example of how fear has held you back in the past?

Do you get nervous before a marathon even though you have already done one before? Help!


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Motivational Monday!

Seriously, does anyone else feel like this year has been flying by? My parents and I were talking about how soon it will end up being New Years again! 2014. I don’t like the number 14…I prefer 2013 :-p Do you have favorite numbers?

Anyway, here’s today’s quote:

Screen shot 2013-09-08 at 8.37.15 PMI read an interesting article in Runner’s World recently about mental training. I’m training day in and day out for this marathon, but if my mental strength isn’t there, I will falter. This is evident in workouts, when I feel like I can’t keep a certain pace, or think I feel tired. Though it can be a good thing too…like last week’s tempo run where I went in feeling confident.

No matter what sport or activity you do…mental strength goes a long way. Sometimes it’s the mind that needs to be overcome, not the body. You may THINK you’re tired, or you can’t…but trust me, you have one last rep in you…maybe even more. You will surprise yourself. Obviously, there is a fine line between that and injuring yourself…but most of the time you CAN push harder, you CAN keep going and you are NOT tired.

Have you been a victim of your mind? How do you push through it? Any tips on training your mental strength?******************

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