From Ski Slopes to City Streets: Professional Skier Lauren Salko on Marathon Prep
“I am so excited to be a part of a team, especially a team made up of type 1s. The camaraderie I have already felt with the Beyond Type Run marathon team is absolutely incredible. It is awesome to be able to connect with others while we train for this amazing race.”
Lauren Salko’s excitement for this year’s TCS New York City Marathon is clearly palpable and as an athlete, she’s no stranger to pumping herself up and getting psyched for a major competition. This is because Lauren is a professional skier—and a good one at that. Getting into competitive skiing late in high school, she took to it naturally and milestones came shortly thereafter. For instance, in Lauren’s second-ever ski cross competition, she came in 9th place and received All-American distinction. Ultimately, she wants a shot at competing in the 2022 Olympics, but first up is competing in the TCS New York City Marathon with Beyond Type Run. A native New Yorker, Lauren will be bringing it home and raising awareness for type 1 diabetes in the process.
Thankfully, ski cross and endurance running are both high-intensity sports, so Lauren is accustomed to cardio and strength training. But she acknowledges that cardio training for skiing doesn’t really measure up to what is required of marathoners.
“Training for skiing for me means a lot of weight lifting and some cardio but not a ton. The cardio I end up doing is more of a recovery spin or something that complements my general strength training or recovery rather than specific run training.”
Differences in preparation aside, Lauren trains year-round for endurance events and this won’t be her first marathon either, as she ran the TCS New York City Marathon in 2014. She hopes to be more competitive this time around: “That was my first marathon, first running race actually. I was super undertrained and had not run more than 3 miles in succession before. It was honestly one of the best things I have ever done. I was not fast and I was definitely sore afterwards but it was so worth it.”
To the casual spectator, the difference in timing is perhaps what separates the two sports the most: marathons are run in an average of four and a half hours, while a ski cross race is about a minute long. Lauren says, “In ski cross, when the gate drops, you go full speed ahead… There is absolutely no holding back, it is full gas the entire time. There is no need to pace yourself in ski cross. In endurance sports, it is the complete opposite.”
She emphasizes that while both dry land and snow ski training involve incremental goals, marathon training involves a few long-term goals and working towards one end result. Lauren’s current workout regimen sees her completing two hours of swimming, four hours of running, eight hours of strength training and 12 hours of biking per week. As we close in on marathon, her run time will increase and her bike time will decrease, though she needs to keep up the strength training to remain competitive for when ski season rolls around. Lauren also uses a technique called negative splitting, which is running the second half of a run faster than the first. The practice makes it absolutely necessary to properly pace yourself and proves a real challenge, but that’s exactly why she likes doing it: “When I do endurance sport. I am not trying to win, I am trying to get the best effort out of myself. I really like the contrast of the two types of sport as well.”
A team effort
When asked about possible changes as far as her type 1 management goes, Lauren says, “I do my best to keep my blood glucose (BG) as stable as possible while I train and race for skiing. I want to make sure that I am able to compete and recover at the highest level. This being said, as my endurance training ramps up in the summer, I will have to adjust basal rates. I have different basal profiles in my pump that I use depending on the amount of training I have had in the few days prior. My insulin sensitivity factor and my insulin to carb ratio also changes depending on how much training I have been doing. My Dexcom and t:slim pump are crucial during this training period.”
Lauren’s t:slim X2 has basal IQ, a predictive low blood glucose suspend software. She’s enjoyed using it because she’s seen a significant reduction in low blood sugars. A t:slim user for nearly four years, she loves the benefits it’s provided in terms of type 1 diabetes (T1D) management.
Of course, Lauren’s biggest excitement looking ahead to marathon is the team aspect, especially due to the fact that Beyond Type Run is a team made up of solely people with T1D. Lauren says, “I knew that I wanted to run another world major marathon and I knew that I wanted to be a part of a team. It’s not hard to get a bib and run for a charity but what makes it truly special is being a part of a team. This is my first time doing an event with Beyond Type 1 and I am so excited that I am able to be involved in a way that I am so passionate about.”
Lauren Salko is raising money for Beyond Type 1 through Beyond Type Run—her fundraising will make a real difference in the lives of those living with T1D.