It turns out that watching the best runners in our sport was also a great learning experience.

Olympic Marathon Trials

Like many runners, I was incredibly inspired watching the Olympic Marathon Trials a couple of weeks ago. The race was thrilling and I was filled with so much pride watching the best of our sport compete. After thinking about the race, I realized that in addition to inspiration, I had gained a few lessons from watching the elites race. Read on for three lessons learned from watching the Trials.

Weather is always a factor. The day of the trials was unseasonably warm. You could see the heat reflected in the faces of the runners. It was a great reminder that as we move out of winter (hopefully) and into warmer weather to truly take care of your body and make note of what adjustments need to be made. Personally, I’ve been doing most of my shorter runs without water but as the temperatures rise, I know that is going to have to change. The weather is ALWAYS a factor – for better or for worse—and the Trials helped me to remember that.

Running friends are truly the best friends. Everyone saw how Amy Cragg helped pull Shalane Flanagan through the last loop of the race. And many of us have been in the same situation. I’ve definitely been pulled through workouts and races, and I’ve done the same for friends. It’s such a true testament to a friendship when you know what to say to get a fellow runner through a rough patch. It was so inspiring to watch Amy and Shalane run in almost perfect harmony for the vast majority of the race. It looked like they were just doing a training run together and if you read their post-race interviews, they both gave each other a lot of credit for their success in the Trials. Running friends are the best, y’all.

“The road is open.” Apparently this is what Meb told Galen Rupp early on in the race when Rupp was almost running on Meb’s heels. As funny as that exchange might sound, I was thinking about those words more figuratively. It’s a wide road, and Rupp is a track athlete who might have been treating the road as such. There’s no need to follow the same exact path as the runner next to you or someone you follow on social media. Blaze your own trail.

Did you watch the trials? What were your takeaways? Tweet @WomensRunning!