Podcast: Episode 35 with Kim Conley

By Mario Fraioli |
Conley finished fourth at the recent NYRR Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K. Photo: Justin Britton

“Not to sound cheesy, but anything is possible. I think that when you set your mind to something, and make a plan on how to get there, then you just chip away at what the next step of the plan is and you keep working up to the next step on the staircase basically—and it’s amazing how far you can go.”

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Really enjoyed sitting down with two-time U.S. Olympian Kim Conley this past weekend after she finished fourth at the NYRR Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K, a race which doubled as the U.S. 5K road championships for 2018.

The 32-year-old Conley, who has been battling a series of injuries since early 2017, is finally healthy again and setting her sights on returning to the track in 2019. Based in Sacramento, where she lives and trains with her husband and coach, Drew Wartenburg, Conley ran collegiately at nearby U.C. Davis, where she graduated in 2009 with modest personal bests of 16:17 for 5000m and 4:22 in the 1500. Despite not being fast enough to land a sponsorship deal after college, Conley knew that she still had some unfinished business in the sport, so she decided to stick with it. It’s a decision that has certainly paid off: Conley has made the last two Olympic teams in the 5000m, captured national titles in the 10,000m and half marathon, and improved her personal bests to 15:08 and 4:07, respectively.

We covered a wide range of topics in this conversation, including: what Conley has taken away from her most recent injury experience; her marathon debut in 2016 and what she learned from that race (and why she’s going to stay focused on the track through 2020); the state—and strength—of American women’s distance running right now; her own progression in the sport, from good but not great high school and college runner to two-time Olympian and national champion; her new upcoming biography, Underdog, which comes out next spring; the shutting down of NorCal Distance, her current training situation in Sacramento, and what’s it like to be coached by her husband, Drew Wartenburg; what other runners can take away from her story; and much, much more. (more…)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mario Fraioli
Mario Fraioli is a writer and running coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area.