Is there a limit to pushing yourself in training? World-renowned track superstar Mary Cain tells her horrifying story

By PJ Chandra

“There may be people that have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do,” says New York Yankees hall of famer Derek Jeter when it comes to effort and working in sports. “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up,” says hall of famer Babe Ruth. There are so many quotes and inspirational lessons that athletes preach. However, what happens when it goes too far? What happens when highly rated sports programs and highly ranked trainers push individuals too far? That’s what happened to Nike, Alberto Salazar, and an entire program was shut down as Mary Cain went public with the chilling accusation that she was “emotionally and physically abused” while training under Salazar at Nike.

Mary Cain told The New York Times that she was told and essentially forced that she had to lose weight, which caused her menstrual cycle to stop for three years and this led to five broken bones. She also said she developed suicidal thoughts and started to cut herself severely. Mary Cain became the youngest American ever to make a world championship track and field team at just 17 years old and an issue that came up was that Nike had an all-male coaching staff for her at the track and field program. 

Over time, Mary realized this could not go on and thus she came forward to take down and explain to people what Nike was doing was wrong with endorsing this kind of behavior in terms of what exactly should constitute as working too hard in training and pushing yourself to the limit. Studies have shown that Pushing too hard compromises your body's ability to bounce back the next day as you will be too sore to even move or effectively work. 

Mary Cain’s story brings us to a larger point however: Is there a limit at pushing yourself too hard in training and when should you listen to your coaches vs. your own self and your mind? 

This will be a two-week story so please email with feedback, comments, and thoughts on this and you will be included in our next edition! 


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