Runner Molly Huddle Explains Why You Should Never Give Up On Running

Runner Molly Huddle

My name is Molly Huddle, I’m a professional athlete (track 10,000m/5000m and now road Marathons) who lives and trains in Providence, Rhode Island. I’m sponsored by Saucony, which allows me to focus 100% on testing my limits while racing!

One of my favorite hobbies is painting my nails – I try to come up with a new design for every race. I also hope to bring some of my favorite aspects of the sport to my community by starting a cross country 5k race in Providence this fall, so planning that has been a learning experience and somewhat of a side activity lately.

How and why did you get into running?

I got into running in grade school track, encouraged by my Dad who ran track in college and later ran a few marathons. I always thought it looked fun watching him race when I was younger and couldn’t wait to try it. Now, I train with a small group of women in Providence – Emily Sisson and Aisling Cuffe currently, but over the years have been lucky to train with Kim Smith, Amy Rudolph and Róisín McGettigan, all talented Olympians and great women!

Runner Molly Huddle

Why is running important for you?

Running and racing have brought me on an amazing journey the last decade. It taught me a lot about myself and has shown me cool parts of the world and introduced me to all kinds of inspiring people. Getting outside to run every day makes me feel like a more healthy and balanced person.

How do you train and become better at running?

I have a coach and a few teammates who meet to run twice a day. Two of those runs a week are hard days on the track. I also do light weight lifting and go to altitude for certain parts of the year.

Runner Molly Huddle

What are the hardest parts of running?

With distance running, you don’t have much of an off season because when track is over in the spring/summer, you can still find road races to do all fall, then back to indoor track for winter. This makes it hard to rest so you have to intentionally plan a few weeks off every year. There are occasionally days when you are tired and don’t want to run but if you meet up with someone to cover the miles together, the run goes by so much faster (and easier).

The pressure involved in competing on big stages like the Olympics can be scary, and injuries can crop up at important times of the year, which are probably the two hardest things to get through.

How do you prepare for events and races?

My coach writes my workouts and my husband helps pace the workouts on the track. For the marathon, I had to prepare by practicing taking fluids during the run, which Gatorade had been helping me with. They even collected some data on my sweat rate to help me learn how to fuel most efficiently. I tried to ask questions of experienced and legendary marathoners like Meb Keflezighi- who has two books, Meb For Mortals and Run To Overcome, which are out that I recommend!

As for race planning, my coach Ray Treacy advises me on what would fit well into the year’s schedule as a whole. Usually we work back from one or two key races like the world championships, Olympics or a Major Marathon.

Runner Molly Huddle

How do you eat and sleep?

Diet, sleep, and recovery are all important steps in absorbing hard training. I don’t really exclude anything from my diet but I do in general try to eat healthy, which to me is fruits and vegetables, not many processed foods and adequate protein – especially red meat because of the iron content. I also try to recover by foam rolling sore areas and trigger points. I use an Addaday foam roller, which is like the black belt level of foam rollers for when you have graduated from the smooth ones and really need something that can reach hard angles in your hips and hamstrings!

As far as supplements I try to keep it simple and take an iron tablet a few times a week, Vitamin D and a multivitamin as well as occasional Gatorade electrolyte packets in the summer after long runs.

How do you handle injuries and recovery?

I see a chiropractor regularly to try to keep my imbalances in check and try to keep up on some yoga and gym work as well. Sometimes the injuries take you out for a few weeks no matter how hard you try to avoid them so I cross train to stay fit and sane during this time. Pool running, spin bike, Elliptigo and AlterG are my methods of choice depending on the injury. My injuries tend to be all foot and lower leg related due to my form. I recently strained my calf and had to race two weeks later so we made sure to apply some KT Tape before I had to train or race. I use it to
help weak areas in my calf fire better and it gives light support to the area.

Runner Molly Huddle

What is your best advice people new to running?

I hear so many people say running isn’t for them and I know after even a short layoff I think it feels hard so I can understand! But there is a great point you reach after a few months of hard runs where running feels almost effortless and that is a special and worthwhile place to hit! One day you’ll notice yourself floating through the scenery and thinking about anything and everything besides your breathing and achey legs and it can be really enjoyable, but you have to stick out some rough runs to get fit enough to find that point. I encourage people to do a little bit every day and not give up after a few weeks because just past that point is when it starts to feel fun I promise!

I also encourage people to meet up with someone for training because run conversations can be really funny and interesting and make the run fly by.

Best advice for people who have been running for years?

Sometimes I see people who have run for a long time get bored or burned out by it. I think it’s important to try new races and seek new places to run and mix up the ways in which you challenge yourself. Also, there seems to be a rigidness in training that can wear people down. It can help to not be afraid to run reallllly slow on a day when you are tired, or to move a workout a few days if you need more rest, or to loosen up on your diet if it’s really strict.

It seems sometimes the pressure can get to young talented athletes in the sport, especially young girls, where we see many phenoms emerge in grade school or high school. I would like to see less girls quitting sports at that pivotal age and embracing it for what it can give them in strength, health and self esteem rather than worrying about judgements regarding performance or how they look or what people think they should be doing instead.

Runner Molly Huddle

How do you balance normal life with running?

My husband and I treat the racing season like a small business. He puts a lot of time in pacing and traveling with me to training camps and races, so he is able to coach others on the side but doesn’t work as much as he would like because of my schedule. We also have missed out on some family events like weddings and holidays due to race preparations. It can be hard but it’s part of approaching the sport in a professional way and you know your competitors are also doing these things and that it’s part of going ‘all in’ on something.

We don’t have kids yet and we don’t have pets as we travel so much – so our world is small for now! It’s unique because I often have a few free hours every day that most people who work don’t have, but I have almost zero off days. So I have to train on Christmas, on travel days, the day we got married – you just fit it in! Luckily, between prize money and my sponsors, especially Saucony, I can afford to focus fully on chasing my dreams in the sport!

What kind of running shoes and clothes do you use?

My two favorite shoes are the Saucony Freedom (which is a lighter shoe) and the Saucony Ride (which I use more for longer training runs because it has good cushion). I run about 90 miles a week so I try to change shoes once a month.

I also love the Razor rain jacket because you have no excuse not to run in bad weather as it keeps you warm and dry. I also wear the Saucony Speed Run Cap every day to protect my skin from the sun as I have logged a lot of hours outside in the last 10 years!

Runner Molly Huddle

How do you bring things with you?

So far I have resorted to carrying things in my sports bra as a mode of ‘pocket! Usually I carry Gatorade gels in there on long run days, or my iPod or car key. The Saucony bullet shorts have a few pockets, which are good for these things too.

What has been your best sport purchase below $100?

For under 100 dollars, I recommend a running journal to document your training and progress. Check out believeiam.com and the Saucony Cohesion for a bargain running shoe, a few resistance bands for some conveniently packaged strength training, and a future race entry for some daily training motivation and a great experience!

What other favorite gear do you have?

My favorite thing so far has been my Polar M430 Watch. If you are a data geek like me you will love the app! It shows your sleep, how much you have sat/ran/walked that day plus your heart rate and run paces. You can even swim with it, which is cool.

Runner Molly Huddle

What will the future bring?

I hope to run more marathons in the future, two in 2018 and if they go well. I hope to make the 2020 Olympic team in that event!

As far as gear, I’m always looking for cute workout clothes that I can wear the rest of the day when I’m doing errands and stuff, so I am really loving Saucony’s Life on the Run collection! Especially the rose gold Freedom shoe.

For now, I’m still fully committed to running but I always loved basketball and still shoot around sometimes. I always wished I knew how to skateboard so maybe one day when I’m not worried about getting injured, I can try to learn how — that should be pretty entertaining!

Follow Molly Huddle on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


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