Expert Advice for Marathon Training

Accept the challenge

Everyone is an athlete. But some of us are training, and some of us are not.

Dr. George Sheehan, runner/writer/philosopher


Shoot for this at least

Running 8 to 15 miles per week significantly increases your aerobic capacity, and positively effects many of the coronary risk factors.

Dr. Kenneth Cooper, aerobics pioneer


Be a minuteman

The biggest mistake that new runners make is that they tend to think in mile increments - 1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles. Beginning runners need to think in minutes, not miles.

Budd Coates, four-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier/coach


Think big (and wide)

Buy all shoes, both street and running, slightly longer and wider than your bigger foot. Also, avoid pointed shoes. You'll save yourself needless foot pain.

Ted Corbitt, ultrarunner and 1952 Olympic marathoner


Listen to the rumbling

If you feel like eating, eat. Let your body tell you what it wants.

Joan Samuelson, 1984 Olympic marathon champion


Relax to the max

When running, let your jaw hang loose, don't bunch up your shoulders close to your ears, and occasionally shake out your hands and arms to stay relaxed.

Dave Martin, Ph.D., exercise physiologist


Don't crush the egg

Don't clench your fists in a white-knuckle grip. Instead, run with a cupped hand, thumbs resting on the fingers, as if you were protecting an egg in each palm.

Runner's World editors


Make time for a quickie

If 15 minutes is all the time I have, I still run. Fifteen minutes of running is better than not running at all.

Dr. Duncan Macdonald, former U.S. record holder at 5000


Stay "liquid"

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate! In cold weather and warm. We use water to sweat, lubricate joints, tendons, and ligaments, and to carry blood efficiently to major organs. I work all day at hydrating.

Dr. Alex Ratelle, former masters running great


Build with care

If you put down a good solid foundation, you can then build one room after another and pretty soon you have a house. After your base mileage, add hills, pace work, speed work, and finally race strategy.

Rod Dixon, New Zealand Olympian and 1983 New York City Marathon champ


Toss out the clutter

Throw away your 10-function chronometer, heart-rate monitor with the computer printout, training log, high-tech underwear, pace charts, and laboratory-rat-tested-air-injected-gel-lined-motion-control-top-of-the-line footwear. Run with your own imagination.

Lorraine Moller, 1992 Olympic marathon bronze medalist


Be a "cross-eater"

Like cross-training, 'cross-eating' adds needed variety to your diet—and life. Expand your nutritional repertoire by trying one new food each week.

Liz Applegate, Ph.D.


Stay open-minded

When you try a new type of training, think like a beginner. Just because you can run 20 miles every Sunday doesn't mean you can survive 10 x 400 meters on the track at a fast pace.

Jack Daniels, Ph.D., exercise physiologist, coach, and former world-class pentathlete


Rest assured

Back off at the first sign of injury. Three to five days off is better than missing a month or two. Take regular rest days.

PattiSue Plumer, two-time U.S. Olympian


Pamper your muscles

When I'm training for a marathon, I soak in a hot tub every day, and get a weekly massage

Anne Marie Lauck, two-time Olympian