Canadian Running

How She Did It: A High-Performanc­e Guide for Female Distance Runners with Stories from the Women Who’ve Made It

By Molly Huddle and Sara Slattery Rodale, 2022

- Anne Francis

Two-time Olympian and multiple American record holder Molly Huddle and two-time ncaa champion and coach Sara Slattery have teamed up to produce a book that will be invaluable for all aspiring female runners, their parents and coaches. The combined learnings and wisdom of 46 successful distance runners, from Joan Benoit Samuelson to Shalane Flanagan, Emma Coburn, Deena Kastor, Jenny Simpson and many others (most, but not all of them American) are illuminati­ng and inspiring.

The idea for the book was born in late 2019, shortly after Mary Cain, who had been a phenomenal runner in high school but mysterious­ly disappeare­d from the running scene, ended her long silence about her experience at the now-defunct Nike Oregon Project. Cain’s story didn’t surprise Huddle and Slattery, who were only too aware that many young, female athletes who show great promise in high school end up leaving the sport during or soon after college. (The reason is some combinatio­n of bad coaching and an unhealthy obsession with weight, which leads to chronic injury, poor mental health and declining performanc­e.) But despite that, they knew there were many successful women runners with a wealth of wisdom to impart on how to have a successful career and avoid the experience­s that derail so many talented athletes.

This book is structured as short firstperso­n narratives. The athletes’ candour on such subjects as confidence, body image, dealing with pressure, injury cycles and how they could have been avoided, lack of self-belief, setbacks and adversity, the comparison trap, the hardest lessons they learned and what they would do differentl­y, given the chance (despite their success) is of great value to the emerging generation of runners, their fans and supporters.—

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