Behind the Body: How Marathoner Desi Linden Trains for 26.2 Miles


Two-time U.S. Olympian Desi Linden is coming off a runner-up end on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in February and getting ready to place the U.S. on the medal stand on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Linden seeks revenge on the Summer time Video games after a stress fracture in her femoral shaft in London pressured her to drop out of the marathon earlier than the five-kilometer mark. She was second on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and a collection of accidents by no means allowed for her to search out her full health earlier than the Summer time Video games.

“I believe I form of struggled getting back from that marathon resulting from quite a bit little nagging issues and we acquired to the purpose within the build-up the place we would have liked to start out urgent it doesn’t matter what the physique is telling you,” Linden says. “We acquired two or three weeks into the phase and when one thing is nagging only a tiny bit, it may well snowball into one thing a lot bigger. It got here to go in late July.”

Linden by no means regained her full health till getting ready for the 2014 Boston Marathon however now considers herself at 100% well being with no indicators of damage. Linden took a three-week break after Los Angeles and is able to regroup and put within the mandatory work for Rio.

“We had been cautious going into L.A. so we are able to regroup and I’ll really feel good. I do really feel good now,” Linden says. “I’m aware of my physique and caring for my physique however I don’t really feel like I’m being overly cautious the place I sacrifice coaching. I’m going to push as onerous as I can and be smarter about it. It’s a fragile stability.”

Linden skilled on an indoor treadmill the place she ran for an hour at 89 levels (33 C) and 75% humidity to simulate the situations for the Olympics. The USOC offered the coaching session and gave her a tablet in morning (three hours earlier than her run) that allowed them to check and monitoring her core temperature.

inden will keep in Rochester, Mich., to coach for Rio as the typical summer time highs there are about two levels hotter than Rio de Janeiro within the subsequent few weeks, in accordance with her coach Keith Hanson.

The ladies’s Olympic marathon shall be held on Sunday, Aug. 14.

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A part of her physique that’s essential to operating sturdy (moreover legs)

"You need to get the core sturdy. For those who’re a runner and have some kind of downside, it might be weak hips. It’s the very first thing a PT or chiropractor will let you know. I’m all the time engaged on my core. For me that’s planks and ab energy."

Exercise important to marathoning

"If I might only one factor, I’d do lengthy runs. You are able to do tempo runs inside your tempo."

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Favourite train within the gymnasium

"Planks. They’re simply actually useful and a simple place to carry."

Favourite exercise


What her low season break seems like

"I like taking my two weeks off after a marathon phase however I additionally get within the pool. Not essentially for aqua-jogging however being within the water and having that buoyancy is helpful. It looks like a bit of however it goes a good distance."


​On how a lot cross-training she does

"As little as potential. If I’m cross-training then it means I’m damage. I perform a little little bit of yoga and perhaps I ought to perform a little extra."

On the right way to construct the bottom for a marathon

"It’s slowly constructing into it. It will depend on whether or not you’re coming off an enormous break. It might begin with one week at 70 miles, one other at 85 or 90 after which simply working into these 100-mile weeks. Two or three weeks of mileage after which sprinkle in lighter exercises."

On how lengthy she holds peak mileage

"Two or three weeks. You simply contact on it after which come down."

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Off-track actions

"I grew up enjoying soccer. I’m undecided if I’m coordinated sufficient now however I kick across the ball."

On how dietary consumption adjustments from the start of marathon coaching to race day

"In my downtime, my urge for food drops. As I decide up my mileage, I’m hungry on a regular basis. I attempt to put wholesome issues on a regular basis so I’m snacking on wholesome issues however I’m not over-the-top."

On counting energy

"Under no circumstances. My weight is loopy as a result of if I’m on downtime, I’m 98.6 kilos. If it’s race day, I’m 96.eight at each marathon I’ve each marathon I’ve carried out. I’ve simply dialed in my urge for food."

Takeaways from the Kenyans' diets after coaching there

"A whole lot of Ugali (a cornmeal porridge). That’s a staple at each meal. They’ll typically have goat or hen for protein. I haven’t come dwelling to make a bunch of Ugali however my plate will look related with a protein, a vegetable and a few form of rice or carb." (Editor’s word: Linden offers credit score to her husband for the cooking in her dwelling.)

Pre-race meal

"It’s very bland. I am going with white rice and candy potatoes with perhaps a plain pasta or a primary marinara spaghetti. It’s actually boring."

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On staying hydrated throughout a race

"I take advantage of a PowerBar electrolyte for the primary 20Okay, the place I attempt to soak up eight to 10 ounces each 5K. I swap over to a double latte PowerBar gel that I combine in with water for the remainder of the race."

Submit-race deal with

"Pre-race is meals for operate. Submit-race is meals for enjoyable. I like an enormous burger and beers. Simply preserve them each coming."

On staying cool throughout a scorching race

"Over your head soaking occurs. Any time you may moist the pores and skin that’s nice since you get a cooling impact from the wind and helps deliver the core temperature down. You simply delay the slowing down as a lot as you may."


​​​Future health outlook

"I haven’t put a cap on that. I’m making an attempt to win one of many World Marathon Majors. I haven’t thought an excessive amount of in regards to the time it takes to try this but when I felt like I used to be actually sharp and operating fast, everybody needs to flirt with the two:20 mark. I do form of have restricted days in my profession so I must be a bit of choosy in how I do this over the following few years."

Figuring out with music

"If I’m pressured to be on a treadmill, I’ll have music on."

What’s on her iPod

"Lady Speak. It’s all this mashed up stuff that results in a 70s track caught in my head."

Meals responsible pleasure

"Positively donuts. I sneak these in on a regular basis…it’s not even sneaky. I inform myself that I earned it."

Recommendation for aspiring marathoners

"Simply be affected person. It’s a course of. From the very first day, you’ll get on the market and suppose, 'Wow. That was onerous.' It’s going to be like that for 10 days. You’ll wish to give up for 10 days however when you recover from the hump, you determine a routine. Getting in form is tough however being in form is superior. Ease into it and keep it up."


This article initially appeared on SI Edge. 

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