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Running Your First Marathon

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									Running a Marathon for the First Time - Getting into the Mind of a Long-
Distance Runner

How does one prepare to take on one's first marathon? Let's say that you
are someone who's put in a certain amount of work for months now - which
is to say, that you can do maybe 25 miles runing every week. If you
aren't a professional, and if you haven't a coach lined up to whisper
hard-core professional advice in your ear every now and then, how is it
that you build yourself up for your big moment? Consider the kind of
results that lamateur runners actually do get in marathons all around the
country - for instance, the male runner who won the New York City
Marathon last time around and got it in under two hours and 10 minutes.
The fastest woman did it in under two and half hours. If you would like
to at least keep within eyeshot of runners like that, how is it that you
go about preparing? What does it take to prepare for running a marathon
for the first time?

You should probably only attempt a marathon if you have been clocking 25
miles every week for some time. With three months to go before the event
is upon you, it is time to begin to take it seriously. It is time to go
out on more punishing runs, and try to put some extra speed into it,
perhaps with interval training. The secret of getting your body ready for
longer and faster times is to ramp it up really slowly. Doctors who
specialize in physiology recommend that you never try to take it up more
than 5% of your regular run at a time. Even seasoned athletes can injure
their bodies if they try to build up their regimen too quickly. If you do
no more than 4 miles a day, make sure that you don't jump up to, say, 10
miles a day, over the course of just one week. If you've been a casual
runner all this while, you will probably need to take at least six months
to prepare yourself with a basic level of physical fitness; preparing to
go running a marathon should take you a year.

The speed part of running a marathon comes, surprisingly, with training
with sprints. The more power your body begins to gain through this kind
of training, the better you will be able to make it when you run long
distances. It might be tempting to look at the kind of times the best
marathon runners clock each time they enter a competition. But it would
be dangerous to try to attempt that, unless you have a year to prepare.
You can certainly find exceptions among highly trained sportspeople
though. Consider this: when Lance Armstrong, the champion bicycle racer
decided to take up the marathon, he clocked about three hours. The fact
that he was in peak physical shape and rode on the Tour de France in
bruising conditions and won, didn't make him any better disposed to
winning the marathon than anyone else. If, stamina wise, you find that
you aren't quite as good as Lance Armstrong, you'll probably have to wait
much longer before you try.

Once you do reach a certain level of excellent physical shape and
stamina, you'll need to do a degree of research to find out how best to
make use of your time at your exercises. Magazines like Runners World
should be required reading for preparations such as this. You could also
sign up with your local Road Runners Club to begin to get into the spirit
of it. Running a marathon is all about keeping your eye on the ring. It
is all about endless training under bruising conditions. If you have the
heart for this, you could be like a lot of talented runners - you could
join their ranks.

								
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