Sunday, July 09, 2006

Make Your Marathon Dream A Reality

If you’re planning to run a marathon this fall, now is the time to start training. Here are some tips to stay on track and cross that finish line.

The BasicsProper shoes are one of the most important parts of training. Experts say not to choose sneakers simply because you like the color or the style. Go to a specialty running shop and get help finding a pair that’s right for you. The right shoes will help prevent injuries, but they’re also just the beginning.

The TrainingRunning a marathon can be an experience like none other, especially in New York.“It’s sort of the closest any of us will get to playing in Yankee Stadium,” said David Willey of Runner’s World Magazine. “You have 2 million people on the streets on New York cheering for you, essentially.”But getting ready for the big day takes discipline, dedication and months of training.Willey said you should train for at least 16 weeks, especially if it’s your first time. Shoot for running five days a week and build up for a really long weekend run.

He also suggested joining a group.“It sort of distracts you from the discomfort that goes along with any kind of serious training,” Willey said. “And it gets you with people who are at the same level as you are so you can feel like you’re in it together, which makes it more fun.”There are charity training groups so you can raise money for a cause as you train for your goal. There are also groups with professional trainers like “The Running Center” with Coach Mindy.“I have been coaching for 14 years and it’s been my dream to open up a facility where runners can come to congregate to learn how to run properly,” Coach Mindy said. “Proper running form is important to me so a lot of what we do at the center is about good form.”If you’re planning to go it alone, experts strongly recommend building a program. Remember, the goal is 26.2 miles, but not farther. You need a plan to get just there.

Marathon has a link called “Smart Coach” where you can customize your own training program. You can also check out the New York Road Runner’s Club Web site which offers a personalized plan for various levels.“The key is just to know each week what you’re going to do over the course of the week,” said Willey.“[Know] what your long run is going to be on the weekend so you have some structure in place to get you there.”While there’s no secret to crossing the finish line, with the right gear, the right program and the right amount of heart, it can be in your sight. “It’s the challenge. It’s knowing that no one else can do this but yourself,” said Willey. “This is all about yourself and your challenge to reach that pinnacle.”

Thanks to Ducis Rodgers for this great article!

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