“I run an egregious amount of miles,” Molly Seidel confesses with a hearty chuckle.
“I run about 130 to 135 miles a week with two specific marathon sessions a week, running twice a day every day, with a long run of 20 to 24 miles on weekends,” she explains. To put it into perspective, that's the equivalent of running five marathons every single week. If our knees had feelings, they'd probably cringe at the mere thought.
Beyond running, Molly incorporates a robust lifting session twice a week and a daily 30- to 60-minute mobility workout. Understandably, with all that training the impact on her body is immense, resulting in frequent small injuries. No wonder she relies on solutions like KT Tape to navigate her day-to-day challenges of muscular soreness and joint stiffness, a crucial ally in her relentless pursuit of excellence.
Now, let's properly introduce you to Molly Seidel – a 29-year-old American long-distance running dynamo. She's not just any runner; she was a four-time NCAA track and cross-country champion while at The University of Notre Dame, and she clinched a bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Clocking in at 2:27:46, Molly etched her name in American Olympian history, joining the elite ranks as only the third American woman ever to medal in the Olympic marathon – following in the illustrious footsteps of Joan Benoit in 1984 and Deena Kastor in 2004.
Even when you’re a running whiz like Molly, the journey isn’t always a smooth ride. Reflecting on the challenges of training at the Olympics and the grueling sessions on a punishing, hard loop track, Molly reveals, “It destroyed my knees. I was in so much pain leading into the Olympics, to the degree that I was very worried.” Yet, salvation came in the form of a specific KT taping method introduced by the team's physio. With immediate relief, Molly not only raced without pain but went on to secure the bronze medal, solidifying the efficacy of the taping method as a magical intervention.
If you assumed Molly's running record launched her into the stratosphere of athletic achievement, you wouldn't be off the mark. And it's entirely reasonable to envision her floating on cloud nine after her monumental podium triumph at the Olympics. However, even though winning bronze in Tokyo “was a good marker of realizing I belong here, and I can be one of the best in the world,” she explains, “it was slightly sadder than I expected.”
The burdens of expectation
“I went out and won this medal in Tokyo still dealing with a lot of the problems that I faced over the course of my career, like various mental health issues. Winning it and realizing it didn't change me as a person, that I wasn't this perfect epitome of a human that I expected to be if I had won a medal, it didn't fix anything in my life,” she confesses.
“The last three years have been one hell of a ride,” Molly shares. “After the Olympics, I was also dealing with this added burden of the expectation that every time I showed up to a race, it wasn't just Molly Seidel showing up to a race, it was Molly Seidel, Olympic bronze medallist. Honestly, I just completely crumbled under that pressure.”
It's an unavoidable truth, once you achieve greatness, the expectation to perpetually excel becomes a formidable companion. There was a shining moment with a stellar marathon immediately after the Olympics, but it was followed by setbacks, including a Boston Marathon dropout and a withdrawal from the World Championships due to a sacrum fracture. Adding to the mix: “I ended up going into eating disorder treatment for the latter half of 2022.”
I was also dealing with this added burden of the expectation that every time I showed up to a race, it wasn't just Molly Seidel showing up to a race, it was Molly Seidel, Olympic bronze medallist.
These seismic shifts hit Molly hard, but they also propelled her forward as she realised “I couldn’t go any farther in the sport in my current state.” During the second half of 2022 and the early months of 2023, she dedicated herself to personal growth and well-being, seeing an “overall huge improvement in my quality of life.”
Molly candidly shares that “it’s still a work in progress because mental health is a lifelong deal. I got diagnosed with ADHD in 2022 and knowing that has helped me understand how I operate, and I’ve been able to start examining my patterns better.” To say Molly has come back with a bang would be an understatement. With her trusty KT Tape firmly in place, she blazed through the Chicago Marathon this Autumn two minutes faster than ever before, clocking in a Personal Best time in 2:23:07 and earning her a top-10 finisher spot.
Bouncing back with a bang
So, what are Molly’s secret ingredients for endurance in running? Balance and KT Tape. “I've used KT Tape during every race since the Olympics, and I've noticed such a difference with how the knee moves while I'm racing,” she explains. Plus, gone are the days of pouring everything into running in solitude. She learnt that lesson the hard way, having pushed herself to the limit alone: “It's like you dive down to the bottom of the lake and then you find out there's nothing there and you just ricochet back up.” She’s since recognised that running doesn’t reciprocate love, prompting her to cultivate meaningful relationships. "I’ve realized I can be happy and still run really well."
She emphasizes the importance of having a team, people who genuinely care, and close relationships. As she aptly puts it, "The runners who have that are the ones who stick to it." The age-old wisdom rings true – you can't do it alone.
Taking a page from her own book, Molly offers invaluable tips for elevating running performance. Tip #1: “Find a running group, find a running partner, find the people who are making it exciting to get up at 5 AM to go and bang out mileage, or get up on a Sunday to do a long run. Because it's way too hard to do it alone.” Tip #2: “Motivation follows motion. Once you start moving and put your body into motion, the motivation comes from there. You don't have to think your way into motivating yourself. You just have to move your way into motivating yourself.” Her wisdom here is a refreshing departure from the conventional notion of motivation as a mental battle.
What could be a more fitting celebration of Molly's triumph over pain than her very own, personalized KT Tape design? Enter 'Rule #5,' a collaboration born from the dynamic partnership between Molly and KT Tape. But why the name 'Rule #5'? It's not just a design; it's a mantra – a rallying cry that translates to "harden the %$#& up!" This saying, shared between Molly and her coach, encapsulates the spirit of pushing boundaries, fostering unyielding perseverance in the face of challenges. KT Tape sought a design that resonated with Molly's vibrant energy, and they hit the jackpot. The Pro Extreme tape, equipped with a high-strength, water-resistant adhesive, stands strong through the most grueling workouts, mirroring the intensity and fun Molly brings to her runs. Aligned with her newfound training philosophy of "it's better with others," this limited-edition KT Tape boasts a custom design crafted by none other than Molly's partner, Matt Shapiro – a true embodiment of Molly herself.
While KT Tape may not be a remedy for Molly's psychological pressures and doubts, it plays a pivotal role in supporting her physically, lifting any mental burdens and paving the way for success in the years ahead. As Molly casts her gaze towards the future, she wants “to approach these next 10 years of my career not running from a place of sadness and repression and pounding myself into the dust but surrounded by the people I love, having fun with it, and from a place of joy. Let's see what we can do there!”
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