5 Things I Learned From Running With Olympian Deena Kastor

A man stretching before exercising.

To be the best, you have to beat the best—or so they say.

Even though I had no chance of beating Deena Kastor in a race, I was able to learn from one of the best female distance runners of all time at the Mammoth Running Escape sponsored by Pear Sports.

Kastor, a three-time Olympian (2000, 2004, 2008), led the inaugural retreat, which took place in Mammoth, California in September 2015. The event provided opportunities to learn from, run with and even cook next to the American record holder.

Throughout the weekend, Kastor offered many pieces of running wisdom. Here are five that particularly stuck with me.

1. Set Ambitious Goals

Goal setting is a common theme in sports. But how ambitious are your goals? Is it really beneficial to set a goal you know you'll achieve?

In an effort to push yourself and strive for more, Kastor stressed the importance of setting goals that sometimes may seem out of reach. If you've already run three half marathons, is setting a New Year's resolution to simply complete another going to help you grow as a runner?

Instead of choosing an easily obtainable goal, try aiming for something that will force you to put forth the maximum effort during your training. Even if you don't achieve it, you'll often receive satisfaction knowing you tried for something big rather than settling for something small.

More: 8 Steps to Reach Your Fitness Goals

2. Positive Self-Talk

Kastor's message about self-talk was simple: As you run, be positive with the thoughts running through your mind. When you're on the fourth mile of a half marathon, instead of thinking about the 9.1 miles you have left, think about how great your pace has been, how fresh your body feels or how you've already finished almost a quarter of the race.

More: Motivational Quotes from Running Legends

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About the Author

Hunter Hewitt

Hunter Hewitt is the fitness editor for Active.com. As a former collegiate athlete, Hunter has always been passionate about living an active, healthy lifestyle. He enjoys weightlifting, basketball, ultimate frisbee and many other outdoor sports and activities. Follow Hunter on Twitter @HunterHewitt

Hunter Hewitt is the fitness editor for Active.com. As a former collegiate athlete, Hunter has always been passionate about living an active, healthy lifestyle. He enjoys weightlifting, basketball, ultimate frisbee and many other outdoor sports and activities. Follow Hunter on Twitter @HunterHewitt

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