Throughout her long and illustrious running life, Samuelson has always done things her way. She turned down an opportunity to relocate to the running mecca of Eugene, Oregon, and continued to live and train in her home state of Maine, despite the harsh winters, because she was comfortable there. Becoming a champion requires that you are comfortable when and where you are training, she said in a 2007 speech at the Maine Running Company.

We will return to this important idea of comfort zones in Chapter 4. Samuelson stepped back from racing in her very prime, even forgoing the opportunity to defend her Olympic gold medal in 1988, to have children because she wanted to be a mother. In her peak years she seldom trained with other runners, despite the purported benefits of group training, because she had more fun training alone.

And as she often says, she has always trained by the seat of my pants. Even in her finest hours, her training schedules were never more specific than calling for a long run on a certain day, a tempo run on another day, and so forth. The details were always filled in on the fly. If she felt good, she ran longer or faster, and if she felt lousy, she ran shorter or slower. Whatever felt right at the moment was what she did.


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