Yesterday, Deena Kastor was in town and I had the pleasure of going to hear her speak at Fleet Feet Syracuse! For those of you who don’t know, Deena is an Olympic bronze medalist and she is the American record holder in the 5k, 8k, 15k, 10 miles, 20k, half marathon, 30k and marathon (USATF).
First of all, let me just say that Deena is one of the nicest people you will ever meet! She chatted with us like we were a group of old friends and then she took the time to meet with us individually, sign some autographs and snap some pictures – very exciting stuff (I am such a running nerd)!
She spoke for a short while about a variety of topics and then she did an extensive question and answer session. Here are some of the topics she touched on:
Deena said the three important components for her marathon training were speed workouts (done at faster than marathon pace), tempo runs (done at marathon pace) and long runs (done slower than marathon pace). I believe she said she did her speed on Tuesday, some hills on Wednesday, tempo on Friday and long runs on Sunday (obviously, she was running the other days as well).
While training for the marathon, she was running over 120 miles per week! I believe she said that she is closer to 70 miles per week now.
Deena really stressed the importance of recovery. While marathon training, she was sleeping over twelve hours per day (that includes a nap). Wow! Where do I sign up for that?
While building her mileage up, she would increase each week, but every so often, she would decrease before starting up again.
In addition, after a goal race, she would take a month off!
Being Part of a Team
Deena really focused on the importance of being part of a team. She talked about her experience at Arkansas, as well as her more recent experience with the Mammoth Track Club. You can tell that being part of a team is a huge motivation for her!
Deena does not cross-train. In fact, she said that even when she has an injury, she does not cross-train. Instead, she allows her body to rest and she focuses her mental energy on healing.
Deena’s two favorite pre-race meals are pasta with pesto and artisan pizzas. These are my favorite pre-race meals too!! No wonder we are BFFs.
She said that when she runs a marathon, she doesn’t try and think about counting down 26.2 miles. Instead, she focuses on her eight water bottles – she said this is an approach that allows her to wrap her head around the race much more easily.
I asked Deena what she thought about Mary Cain going pro and not competing in college. She said that while she thinks being part of a [collegiate] team is very important, this was the right decision for Mary, since she wasn’t really part of a team in high school either. In other words, it has worked for her up until now so it is a consistent approach.
The Los Angeles Olympic Trials and the Rio Olympics
I asked Deena about the Los Angeles Olympic Trials marathon and the possibility of Rio. She got this sheepish grin and started talking about it like a high schooler talking about her crush. It was pretty fantastic because she is 41 and she loves the sport as much as ever. Also, it was pretty clear to me that she is going to go for it – and I think that’s awesome!!
Which running celebrities have you met?
Were they what you expected?