2017 TCS New York City Marathon Winner Shalane Flanagan On Beer, Diet & Fun
Simply put, Shalane Flanagan is an American long-distance runner. Beyond winning the 2017's New York City Marathon for women -- the first American woman to do it since 1977 -- Flanagan is an Olympic medalist and holds several national records. Also interesting about Flanagan is that both are her parents are accomplished runners, as her mother Cheryl Bridges is a five-time U.S. World Cross Country Championship participant and her father Steve Flanagan was a U.S. World Cross Country Champion participant as well.
Shalane Flanagan is keeping things further interesting by collaborating with Michelob ULTRA as part of the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon. Flanagan is helping to recruit people to the Team ULTRA community -- in partnership with the non-profit Achilles International, which serves athletes with disabilities to participate in mainstream running events -- to get Michelob-drinkers to run as part of the legendary New York race. I spoke with Flanagan to learn more about her career, training, and overall work with Michelob.
More on Shalane Flanagan can be found by following her on Twitter and/or Instagram via @ShalaneFlanagan.
Before excelling in long distance running, were you active in any other sports?
Shalane Flanagan: Yes! I loved a variety of sports. I played competitive soccer, was a swimmer and did a lot of downhill skiing.
How many days a week do you run?
Shalane Flanagan: When I’m preparing for a marathon, I typically run twice a day except for long run days. So I run around 10 miles in the morning and 5 to 8 miles in the evening and long runs range from 20 to 28 miles. This usually totals from 100 to 130 miles a week.
What sort of diet do you follow when you have a big race ahead? Is it different from how you eat otherwise?
Shalane Flanagan: Whether I’m training for a major race or just living my “normal” life, I follow a pretty basic diet and cook from my own cookbook quite a lot. It’s healthy natural foods that taste delicious and indulgent. I make sure to incorporate lots of fruits, veggies and healthy fats!
When training, is beer part of your diet?
Shalane Flanagan: I love celebrating a race with good beer, or even after a particularly hard training session. That approach falls very much in line with what Team ULTRA aims to represent – after you work hard and really push yourself, a refreshing beer is a great way to celebrate.
Have you met any of the other athletes that are part of the Michelob ULTRA campaign?
Shalane Flanagan: We just announced the return of Team ULTRA on June 25th and consumers have until July 2nd to tell us why they run for beer to enter to participate. The runners will be selected later in July and I’m really looking forward to the coming months when we’ll all participate in a training run and celebratory happy hour together.
New York City Marathon aside, what is coming up for you?
Shalane Flanagan: I have some fun summer training and adventures planned as well as the release of my second cookbook in August, Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow.
Is there a career accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Shalane Flanagan: Battling back after a major injury to win the 2017 New York City marathon! But I’m also extremely proud of my consistency over my 14-year career as a professional distance runner, having medals on the road, track and cross country. Making 4 Olympic teams is certainly also a highlight.
When not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?
Shalane Flanagan: I love hosting cookouts and dinner parties at my home in Portland! Cooking is my other passion and I really enjoy feeding my friends and family delicious food and drinks!
Finally, Shalane, any last words for the kids? Sorry, err, any last words in general?
Shalane Flanagan: I started working with Michelob ULTRA earlier this year and actually made an appearance in their Super Bowl spot, “I Like Beer.” I’m looking forward to continuing the partnership as the coach for Team ULTRA and leading this awesome group of 95 runners to the finish line!