24| Elise Cranny, pro runner, Olympian and RED-S advocate: “You are the only person that knows best for you.”

Elise Cranny is a professional runner for Nike and the Bowerman Track Club. Originally from Niwot Colorado, she was a 12 time All-American at Stanford University and has been running professionally since 2019. Elise competed in the 5,000m at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, making her childhood dream a reality. 

She’s also a mentor for girls 13-22 years old through a platform called Voice in Sport. Through her work as a mentor and speaking out about her experience with RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sport), Elise is giving back to this sport and inspiring the next generation of runners to be the best they can be, both on and off the track.

Connect with Elise
IG: Instagram.com/Elise.cranny

Trigger warning: eating disorders

In this episode, we talked about…

  • How watching her parents – two elite Ironman triathletes – balance work, family, and training shaped her values. 
  • The possibility of someday doing an Ironman (!!!) 
  • Competing on the Olympic stage with no spectators 
  • Dealing with the emotional post-Olympics letdown
  • What she learned from the Olympics and how she’ll race differently going forward
  • The difference between process and outcome goals and why it’s vital to focus on the former
  • How RED-S affected Elise, what she learned from it, and what she wants other girls and women to know 
  • The turning point in Elise’s recovery
  • Elise’s thoughts on the University of Oregon women’s running allegations
  • What it means to practice intuitive eating
  • Some of the dangers of social media 
  • Is coaching in Elise’s future?
  • Passing the baton (literally)

Quotes
Moving is such a way to feel empowered and confident and learn so much about yourself and discover who you are. 

I love  feeling the power that comes with propelling yourself forward. 

You never regret a workout

When I stand on the trials, I’m gonna want to be fully confident in my preparation. And the only way to do that is to have known, I did everything I could. 

And I’m really excited about trying to level up and get the most out of myself, on an international level, moving forward.  

And this is something I really focus on is setting both process and outcome goals. So you have that big outcome goal, whatever it is right in life or running or triathlon or anything. But you also, set that on the shelf and you put it aside and you keep that in the back of your mind, but what’s really keeping you going on a day-to-day basis is those process goals.

Are you actually listening to what your body wants? Are you trying to fight that and make a decision based on what you think is, quote unquote healthy?

Especially male coaches, like you don’t have to understand everything. You don’t have to know how to talk about periods. You just have to say something like anything and then, agree to send someone in the right direction or get them the help they need.

In both high school and college, it’s kind of shocking that there’s still such a focus  on weight and body composition, because we’re not mastering like the 99%.Why are we not talking about healthy sleep habits in college athletes? All of those things are going to go way further in performance than someone’s body composition. I feel like we’re missing the mark,  why don’t we  spend more time, talking about how to balance school, to prioritize, sleep, how to recover from workouts,  how to fuel our body properly,  how to, have more resources with sports, psych or psychologists to really hone into the mental side.

It’s more about how you feel than  the number  on the scale or, or body comp

I don’t weigh myself at all anymore.

I focus on how I feel.  Am I feeling strong? Am I recovering from workouts? And am I getting a regular period? Then I know I’m doing a good job fueling. And I think that should be the focus. 

[Intuitive eating is] really been powerful because you’re taking ownership over your body and really listening to what it wants.

At the end of the day, you have to trust that you are the only person that knows best for you. 

My body knows what it wants, so I need to listen to it.

seeing it as, as like that trial and error process and like really being kind to yourself along the way. Cause it’s just about getting back into tune with, with your body and,  learning what it’s actually telling you instead of like, maybe thinking, you know, but it’s being influenced by all of these outside sources.

22 year old Elise should not look like 15 year old Elise

Links/Resources
Elise wins the 2021 Olympic 5000 meters trials 
Voice in Sport 
RED-S
Marshmallow studyFunny video of kids trying not to eat marshmallows 
Elise’s interview with Alli Feller on Ali on the Run
Women runners at University of Oregon allege body shaming by coaching staff 
Amelia Boone’s post
Allie Ostrander
New York Times article about how girls’ bodies change differently than boys (in reference to Mary Cain and Melody Fairchild) and why we need to change expectations
Nike yoga tights 

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