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Behind the Body: How marathoner Desi Linden trains for 26.2 miles

Olympic marathoner Desi Linden's 5'1", 96-pound frame may be slight, but her training regimen for 26.2 miles is no small feat. 

NEW YORK – Desi Linden packs a big punch within a small build in the U.S. distance running scene. The two-time U.S. Olympian is coming off a runner-up finish at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in February and preparing to put the U.S. on the medal stand at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Linden seeks revenge at the Summer Games after a stress fracture in her femoral shaft in London forced her to drop out of the marathon before the five-kilometer mark. She was second at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and a series of injuries never allowed for her to find her full fitness before the Summer Games.

“I think I kind of struggled coming back from that marathon due to a lot little nagging things and we got to the point in the build-up where we needed to start pressing no matter what the body is telling you,” Linden says. “We got two or three weeks into the segment and when something is nagging just a tiny bit, it can snowball into something much larger. It came to head in late July.”


Linden never regained her full fitness until preparing for the 2014 Boston Marathon but now considers herself at 100% health with no signs of hurt. Linden took a three-week break after Los Angeles and is ready to regroup and put in the necessary work for Rio.