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Friday, March 02, 2007

Please help - I want to run a marathon!

"Dear Gary,
I am a 27 year old male who is currently living in XXX. I am desperate to run a marathon and have never done any excessive long distance running before. I find it hard to motivate myself to run, even though I am a keen sportsman. Last year I trained for a half marathon in XXX, however I got shin splints and could not attend. I was running around 12km a day when this happened. I am in a state of unrest as my fitness is poor and I am putting on weight. I eat rather healthy but tend to drink with mates on the weekend.

I was wondering if you could give me some motivational goals and techniques to encourage me to achieve my ultimate goal of a marathon. Would the Rotorua Marathon be out of the question and would I need to set a target for a future date?"
Gary Moller responds:
First of all, it is far too late to prepare for this year's Rotorua Marathon but not too late to start focusing on 2008. Make that your long term goal.

I find that the best way to get really fit and hardened for running an event like a marathon is to commit to a whole variety of lesser events that are no more than about a month or two away. Right now New Zealand is awash with mountain runs, 5 and 10km fun and charity runs and even events like the Oxfam 24 hour 100km wlk/run. There are also duathlons that anybody can do and these are often held in exotic places. For example, I am doing the 10 km run section of the Mt Holdsworth mountain duathlon this weekend while a mate does the cycle sections.

Events that grab my imagination are now getting promoted on this website and in various e-pubs, so keep an eye out for these. You can also find events by going to the various sports websites that are listed to the left of this article.

Frequently entering these events keeps you focused and motivates like nothing nothing else. They are not so punishing as to leave you injured and otherwise overly wasted.

You do not need to train hard daily. I would never run 10km every day nowadays because the fatigue and injury risk are excessive. It is much better to do three longer, steady runs per week with relative rest in between and to do an extra session preferably in the form of a shortish race that does not completely waste you. Please read this training guide which has just been substantially updated.

Shin splints hint that you have been doing too much running too soon and probably without sufficient in the way of recovery days. You probably have pronating feet. Please read this e-pub and do the exercises diligently.

If you start doing this right now you will find that your fitness steadily improves and you will be excited and motivated by each event as it looms on the horizon

Perhaps you can interest your drinking buddies in entering a few adventure races!

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