The first day is done on the Runner's World: Ask Me Anything Forum! I have already had some impressive questions that really got my brain workings and found me thinking about our sport at large.
To see all the posts, check this link: http://community.runnersworld.com/topic/ask-me-anything-shannon-rowbury-2x-olympic-finalist-andamp-world-bronze-medalist?reply=78563467582055622#78563467582055622
I thought I would use my blog to re-post some of my favorite questions. I'll start with the first responer to the "Ask Me Anything" call for questions. If you think of anything else you would like me to answer, feel free to post here or on the Runner's World Forum!
Posted by wcrunner:
"Shannon, welcome to the world of recreational runners. As both a world class runner and someone committed to promoting health and fitness, do you see any conflict between the growing practice of handing out finishers medals and participation awards with encouraging the excellence needed to compete at the highest levels? Secondly, what effect do you think the growth in road running, especially in the half marathon and marathon, is having on track and field as I see more young runners on the roads rather than running for their school teams?"
Response to wcrunner:
"In a world where obesity is endemic and physical education is disappearing from schools, anything that gets people out the door has my support. While I wish that professional running would receive better coverage and support within the United States, I have hope that the growing participation in the sport at large might help raise interest and awareness about running at all levels. It's amazing what something like a participant medal (or a Tiffany's necklace a la Nike Women's Marathon) will do to motivate a person, especially someone who maybe never had a chance to participate in sports before. Setting your mind to something like a marathon, preparing for and then finishing something that monumental is quite an accomplishment, and I think it's great for participants to have something with which to remember that.
As for youth runners, I think the most important thing is that they are training appropriately for their age. I am seeing more and more youth runners undertaking training loads that are harmful to their growing bodies. While these boys and girls are still growing into men and women, I think their coaches need to make sure they are teaching the fundamentals of healthy training to help their athletes establish habits that will hopefully last a lifetime. If these youth prefer road racing over track, that's fine. I am more concerned with making sure they make it to adulthood still running and don't succumb to career ending injuries before their time."