Run strong into festive season

Season's greetings, fellow runners!  

I hope you’re all recovering well from your fall running adventures. Whether you tackled an Abbott World Marathon Major, the AbbottWMM Global Marathon and/or a local seasonal race, you should be proud of yourself for getting back out there over the last few months.

It’s been so much fun cheering you on and watching the top marathoners in the world showcase their racing ability at the same time.

We’ve seen both new Majors champions crowned and some familiar faces break through the finish tape. We also witnessed Olympian (and 2017 NYC Marathon Champion) Shalane Flanagan complete the Herculean task of running six marathons – including five Majors – (all in under three hours!) in just six weeks.

As a coach, a spectator and a runner, this ‘breakout’ season has been full of surprises and nothing short of inspiring.

Now all we need to do is keep that inspiration and motivation going through the holidays.

I know, I know – it’s much easier said than done. But just think about how much better you’ll feel if you maintain your miles (or kilometers!) this month and can start the New Year with a good fitness base already.

Here are some pointers to help you stay strong all season long

  1. Set a goal. This can be a race goal, or simply a goal of running consecutive days through to the first of the new year. I’m personally shooting for a solid running streak, logging a minimum of 45 minutes every day, from now until January 1.
  2. Make it a date. Group runs allow you to stay social and active during this busy time. Plan to meet friends for a run early in the morning, make a commitment and hold each other accountable. The next round of eggnog is on whoever doesn’t show up!
  3. Cut yourself some slack. The goal this month is not to be in the best shape of your life. It is to maintain fitness so you aren’t starting from scratch in 2022. You might be consuming more calories than normal, sleeping less and drinking more, and that’s okay. But remember to be kind to your body, too. Running regularly, even if shorter and slower, will help you feel stronger both mentally and physically all month long.

As we put 2021 to rest and start to refocus on our goals for the year to come, I want to reflect on how much this marathon season has taught us about the strength and resilience of our community.

We’ve all had our own unique – and shared – struggles over the last couple of years, and running continues to help us all get through those challenges and rise above the really hard times. So in 2022, I say we come together and lean in to this great sport even more. Who’s with me?

Whether you're new to running or a seasoned pro, it’s always good to start fresh. Run smart into the New Year with these basic (but useful for everyone!) form tips:

  • Start every run very slowly and give yourself time for a quick form check
  • Run tall, as if a string was attached to the top of your head, pulling you toward the sky
  • Make sure your head is directly over your shoulders—not jutting forward or tilted back
  • Keep your shoulders down and relaxed
  • Bend your elbows by your sides, at about a 90-degree angle, no matter the pace or effort
  • Unclench your fists. A firm grip creates tension in your whole upper body and wastes energy. Your hands should be loose and relaxed instead.
  • Pump your arms, even vigorously at times. It actually helps drive your legs, especially when running uphill. The more you practice this in training, the bigger the impact it will have in your races.
  • Run with a quick stride, or a cadence of about 170 to 180 steps per minute. While this rate can vary per person, aiming for a faster turnover in general will make you more efficient and can help reduce impact forces, thus lowering your risk of injury.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy holiday season! I hope to see you hitting the streets with us again next year.

Coach Kastor