Having a concrete goal is motivating–especially when you’ve paid for it–and the earlier you can get motivated, the better. Even if something comes up and you can’t run the race, the entry fee is a worthwhile investment if it gets you out the door for a few months, Kurtis says.
Run most of your miles easy.
Kurtis’s training plan calls for just one fast run–speedwork, a marathon-pace run, or a race–each week. The rest of the time, he advises running comfortably. Why? “A marathon is all about endurance, not speed,” Kurtis says. “Speed comes from putting the miles in.”
Give your shoes a rest.
Allowing your shoes to dry out for a day, even if they’re just damp with sweat, will stop them from breaking down as quickly as they would if they didn’t have time to recover, Kurtis says. And it’s good to have a few models to cycle through–a 2013 study found that runners who wore different pairs of running shoes over 22 weeks had a 39 percent lower risk of running injury than those who used only one pair of shoes.
Use races as training runs.
Kurtis says running casual races without the pressure to beat a time has helped him defeat prerace jitters–he’s accustomed to feeling calm at the starting line. Plus, the camaraderie and the crowd support make any long distance feel easier and more fun. If you’re using his training plan, you can swap any long weekend run with a race. For instance, if you’re slated for a 12-miler, you could do a 10-mile race. Kurtis suggests running a few warmup miles and then running the race at a “fairly comfortable” pace.
Doing a second workout when you’re worn out from your first is a lot like running the last stretch of a marathon: By training yourself to do the former, you’ll be more capable of the latter. “When you’re at mile 20 of a marathon, you have more confidence because you know you can go out and run while you’re tired,” says Kurtis. He suggests adding a second, three-mile easy run to any running day when you have extra time.
Full Story: 10 Tips to Master the Marathon
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