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    How To Train For A Marathon: New Runners Can Complete an Endurance Event Without Injuries

    Last year alone, more than 400,000 runners, many of whom had never done one before, completed marathons in the United States. Each one subjected to a grueling 26.2 mile run once thought to be only for elite athletes. Training for an endurance event takes a big commitment of time and energy. Learning to train the proper way will not only help to avoid injury but help to improve performance.

    Build Up a Base

    New runners should begin by training with intervals, running for one minute then walking for one minute. The runner should build up very gradually, adding about one minute to the run interval per week. The total run should last about thirty minutes. This should be done every other day. It will take about ten weeks to be able to run for thirty minutes, or approximately three miles.

    Then, beginning runners need to establish a base of about 15 to 20 miles per week. This is done by running 3 to 4 miles per day, 4 to 5 times per week. There are many schools of thought as to how long this base should be maintained before beginning a marathon training program. Of course, longer is better to condition the body. At that point, runners should maintain weekly runs adding one long run per week. The long run should increase each week for about 16 to 18 weeks, building up to a 20 to 24 mile run prior to the actual marathon. Mileage should never be increased more than 10 percent each week.

    Stretching Muscles

    Stretched muscles are less likely to become injured than tight muscles. Muscles are also more efficient when they are longer. Warm up by jogging slowly. As the muscles loosen up increase the pace. After the run, cool down by walking for several minutes. Stretching afterward will help remove lactic acid from the muscle tissue and will also help reduce muscle soreness.

    Listen to the Body

    Never push through pain! Most injuries will heal within a couple of days. Although many runners insist on adhering to a training schedule,one should always feel free to modify the schedule based on how the body feels.

    The Benefits of Cross Training

    Wise runners will add other exercises to their schedule which actually helps improve running performance. It may become a necessity at times, due to injury. Replacing an easy training day or an off day with another exercise, such as swimming, biking or kayaking, gives the knees and legs rest from impact and also adds the opportunity to strengthen muscles not used when running. Yoga and strength training are also important elements of a runner’s training routine.

    Finally, enjoy the race, but stick to the pace. It is easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm at the marathon and the excitement of the cheering crowds. Starting too fast will cause the runner to burn out quickly and not have a strong finish. Remember, it is important to recover after a race too. The general rule is to take one day off for every mile of the race, so for a marathon that is nearly a month of relaxation.

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