FIT6: Marathoner Marian Salmon

FIT6: Marathoner Marian Salmon

(Cover photo credit: JA Laub Photography)

Every week, the Louisville Women’s Sports Network highlights a local woman by asking her six questions about her health and fitness routine. This week’s guest is Marian Salmon. If there is a woman you’d like us to feature, email suggestions to

Credit Robert H. Kimball (1)

(Credit: Robert H. Kimball)

Tell Us a Little About Yourself

I am a mom of three kids – ages 9, 8, and 3. I work full time as the chief of business operations for The Filson Historical Society, and I also volunteer my time as co-chapter leader of Louisville, KY for Moms RUN This Town. It is a free running club that has been instrumental in providing positive support and the opportunity to meet up with a wide variety of runners/walkers for training.

I grew up in a very active family – we hiked, biked, paddled, camped, and backpacked all over Minnesota and Wisconsin, enjoying adventure after adventure. While my family did lots of adventures and was very focused on fitness, we did not participate in competitive sports. In college, a friend of mine was a runner and took me with her a few times. I admired her enthusiasm and soon I received a second-hand runner’s high: my friend enjoying herself tremendously while I muddled along beside her. I kept up, doing three to six-mile runs for years, but didn’t set specific goals or know how to crossover to longer distances. In 2013, my college best friend convinced me to run a half marathon with her.

Long distance training is what hooked me. The planning, carrying out the plan, listening to my body, adjusting the plan, falling down (literally!), and continuing to go despite all the obstacles that came my way. I have done five marathons, 16 half-marathons, joined relay teams of people I have never met, and spent much time on local trails.

Six Questions About Your Fitness & Health

Credit Michael Salmon

(Credit: Michael Salmon)

1) What is your weekly training/exercise routine?

I run twice and cross-train twice on the weekdays, and schedule a long run for a weekend day. For cross-training, I walk, bike, and circuit train (love squats, hate burpees). I will be working on my swimming skills this summer too. I use at least one of my weekday runs to work on speed or hills. For my long runs, I aim to run for a set amount of time and intensity rather than specific mileage.

2) How do you prepare for a workout?

I find that a lengthy preparation routine can get in my way of getting out the door. If I’m running after work, after the kids are in bed, I will change out of my work clothes into my workout clothes as soon as I get home. If I’m running early in the morning, I will either sleep in my running clothes or lay them out next to my bed. I drink plenty of water all the time and generally eat something with protein before I head out the door. I carry water on most runs, either in my hand or on my back. I run unless it’s dangerous (i.e. ice, lightning, tornado, below 10 degrees), and pay no mind to the potential for rain.

3) What do you eat, drink or do for quick energy?

I have a stomach of steel, but I do require much more liquid intake than my fellow running friends. Basically anything will do, but I do have a few preferences. Jelly beans, sports beans, or dried fruit pieces will get me through a low spot on a long distance run; I can ration them out to reward myself for going five more minutes or another half mile or whatever the moment calls for. My main source of fuel for a long run is Tailwind. It’s a powder I mix with water. I carry it in a hydration pack. If I’m carrying Tailwind, I do not need an alternate source of fuel unless I’m running for more than three hours because I’ll run out. During a marathon, this means I will drink water at the water stops and Tailwind in between.

4) What is your daily nutritional meal plan when training?

I am in the process of reworking my nutritional meal plan after realizing that my choices were causing me to gain weight while marathon training. Our family eats gluten free in the home because our oldest has celiac disease. Right now I’m trying the Whole30 diet to reset my eating habits, which means I’ve given up grains, legumes, dairy, and added sugar for 30 days. I’m loving how I’m feeling, but transitioning to fueling my body for running has been harder. Fruit smoothies, lots of protein, even more vegetables, and some nuts too.

Credit Hannah Grieco

(Credit: Hannah Grieco)

5) What do you snack on between meals when training?

Fresh raw veggies, cashews, almonds, apples with almond butter, and occasional protein bar

6) What are your fitness & health goals?

Running has been key to starting my journey of putting myself first and setting a great example of overall physical and mental health. This year I am focusing on becoming more balanced by choosing better eating habits and adding in other fitness routines. I am also taking time to reflect on the overall benefits of this journey. Continued yoga plays a big role in ensuring I take time to reflect and consider gratitude. In terms of specific goals I’m signed on for, I plan to run a trail marathon in the fall, then the Chicago Marathon, and I am entertaining the idea of a future 50k trail race. And for every race I run, I go in with four goals: have fun, listen to my body, don’t get injured, and learn from whatever the day brings.