Dashing Through the Holiday Night

That period between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, made mercifully shorter than normal this year thanks to the vagaries of the calendar, might be, as Andy Williams sang, “the most beautiful time of the year,” but for the majority of runners, it’s anything but.

SettieRun

Nighttime excursions to see the neighborhood decorations are a popular holiday run.

Buffeted by the potentially overwhelming combination of shorter days, colder and often slipperier weather in much of the country, and the demands of the holidays – parties, shopping, and end-of-the-year deadlines – it becomes nearly impossible for all but the most dedicated runner to maintain even a semblance of a regular training plan. And indeed, with many just ramping up their training after an autumn marathon and the prospect of a spring 26-miler seemingly too far in the future to provide motivation, it’s easier to throttle back to just a bare maintenance schedule of workouts, or, even worse, skip running altogether and just have another plate of cookies washed down by a glass of eggnog (and how come the American Dairy Council hasn’t been promoting that concoction as a post-workout recovery drink like chocolate milk?). Continue reading

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E Pluribus Track

Each year, the weekend after Thanksgiving, the varied tribes that make up the sport of running in this country convene for the yearly rite known as the USA Track & Field Annual Meeting, most recently in USATF’s home city of Indianapolis.
ImageIn some ways, these gatherings resemble, at least from an athletic standpoint, the Mos Eisley cantina from the first Star Wars movie, with “creatures” from every corner of the track and field universe – race walkers, trail and ultra runners, officials, track and field athletes, course measurement geeks (that would be me) – all coming together to ostensibly improve the state of the sport and decide on its governance and direction for the future. Attend one or two of these, and you might come away amazed not that track and field’s governing functions so poorly, but that it functions at all. Continue reading