Boston Marathon hopeful Deena Kastor is the first to admit that not all of 2006 went swimmingly, despite a 2:19:36 US marathon record performance in winning last April’s London Marathon. At New York she placed sixth behind the two chief rivals she’ll face at Boston-defending champion Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and World Marathon Majors Series Leader Jelena Prokupcuka of Latvia.
In 2007, Kastor has been dominant and her training has been excellent. She won her ninth US Cross Country Championship and a week later ran a 31:09 10K leg as part of the US Ekiden Relay team in Japan. Most recently, she approached her own US 15K record at Florida’s Gate River Run while employing a strategy used in preparation for Boston 111.
NER caught up to Deena and her coach Terrance Mahon via teleconference from the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. (Deena’s mother grew up in Hull, MA on the South Shore, site of Nantasket Beach and the old Paragon Park. For her first 18 years, Deena summered at Nantasket Beach)
NER: Out of curiosity I’m wondering when you last ran on Nantasket Beach, but for our readers I’d ask about when you plan on tapering for Boston and what will that consist of?
DK: Good question. A week leading up to the race I would drop my mileage from around 100-110 miles to about 80 miles, but still keep some of the intensity up, still do some mile repeats and some faster sessions so my legs don’t get flat. But nothing that’s going to create too much lactic acid; so that last week is just a fine balance of getting in some speedier work and not allowing yourself to get too sluggish before the race, so keeping some pop in your step.
The last week it’s really all about getting in proper fuel so you’re storing the carbohydrates you’re going to need for the marathon distance, and staying off your feet in between runs so that your legs are resting-all these things combined in order to prepare for that one day.
The last time I ran on Nantasket Beach was in 2003.
NER: Have you and Terrance discussed any strategy for running Boston’s hills, specifically and especially in the downhill portions of the course?
DK: Is that for me or Terrance?
NER: Well, either one of you, Terrance will do.
TM: In terms of strategy for us, yah, that was part of the thing for using an event like the Gate River Run (15K). If you know anything about that race you’ve got a mile-long, steep uphill and a mile-long downhill. So we created a little challenge for ourselves in there to see how Deena could turnover off the hill coming on the downside. She actually ran a 4:49 mile coming down that hill.
Our biggest thing with looking at Boston, because she’s a great uphill runner, is can she then make the transition over the last 10K to run really fast off the downhills. So in training we’ve been trying to throw things like that at her where we’ll challenge her up a hill where the goal is just to try and get up it, and then how fast can we run coming off the hill. So we’ve done that in tempo runs and long runs, as well as pick certain races to go after that aspect.
NER: Well thank-you both and best of luck in Boston. We look forward to it.