Shalane Flanagan on Her New Book, Her Experience with NYRR Run for the Future, and More
Less than three months before Shalane Flanagan will aim to defend her TCS New York City Marathon title, the four-time Olympian visited the Big Apple, stopping at the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the New Balance Run Hub for a book signing on Wednesday evening.
Joined by co-author Elyse Kopecky, her former track teammate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the two held a signing and a discussion about their new cookbook, Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. The book is a follow-up to their 2016 New York Times best-seller Run Fast. Eat Slow., and this week, it made its debut on the Times best-seller list.
The second book, they explained, was inspired in part by hearing stories from all types of athletes—young and old, elite and mid-packers alike—of how they had used the recipes and the lessons from the first book to overcome disordered eating habits and to stop following dieting trends.
Also part of her visit, Flanagan attended the NYRR Run for the Future end-of-year celebration on Thursday night. The program trains rising high school senior girls to finish their first 5K race, awarding them with a $2,000 college scholarship at the conclusion of the seven-week session. Last year, Flanagan supported the initiative by serving as a Race Buddy for a student in the program at the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run.
Prior to her book-signing event, The Run On was able to speak with Flanagan about her involvement with Run for the Future, as well as her thoughts on training as she prepares for her 12th career marathon.
Last year, you ran the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run, serving as a Race Buddy for a student in the NYRR Run for the Future program. What did you take away from your experience there?
It was a super-fun way to come into New York without the pressure of the race, and to be able to be a part of New York Road Runners’ youth programs. It was fun to get to know the girls, to get to run a 5K with them and see their excitement, and that they were learning about running, and the sense of accomplishment that they felt.
It was a great, motivating experience for me to be able to be a part of it without being here racing. It was more about them, which was really cool, and I could keep my attention and my focus on those women that day.
What advice would you give school-aged runners, based on what you’ve learned throughout your career?
I think what [the Run for the Future participants] were learning is how that group environment is really important, and what I’ve had throughout my career is that support system. The accountability and the camaraderie of sports is, I think, what makes it special.
I think they got a taste of what it’s like to be part of a sisterhood, learning how to push themselves, and how to set goals and achieve them. Sport translates into all aspects of life, and I think that’s that foundation that they were learning. In high school, I think, at that level, surrounding yourself with other people who work hard is a really important part of it.
When you started training with the Bowerman Track Club, you were the only woman in the group. How does it feel to have seen the team develop over the years, to the point that it now has one of the deepest and most successful women’s training groups in the world?
I don’t know that I would be in the sport if it weren’t for the fact that I have a team; I think I would have probably retired about four years ago (laughs). It’s because I have that group of women to really push me and to help me enjoy the everyday grind of training, that it really, I think, is my secret, or my special component.
It’s been fun to watch them all really grow as athletes and as people—I just, literally, got off the phone talking and texting with Colleen [Quigley]; she was in Poland and set another personal best in the 1500. She’s had a rocky start to the year, and she’s coming in strong with really great performances at the end here after some injuries.
So it’s fun to feel a part of their journey, because I’ve invested time and I've seen them work hard, and so it’s really rewarding—whether I have a good day or bad day, one of us is always going to have a good day, so I feel like I always feel good about running, because I get to live vicariously through them!
Learn more about the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon professional athlete field, with NYRR's press release on the defending champions—including Shalane Flanagan—returning to the race, as well as releases outlining the professional runner fields and professional wheelchair athlete fields for men and women.