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Training for the Big Run

Follow these 10 tips to make your next run your best and your farthest.

Step 8. The long and short of it. continued...

As the race or marathon gets closer, start gearing up for a long run. "For a marathon, a long-run is 18 miles or more, but a long run is shorter when training for a 5K, 10K or another race," she says.

 

Before your run, do any type of exercise -- a light jog, calisthenics, a bicycle -- until you break a sweat, says Lewis Maharam. "Muscles are like taffy. When they are warm they stretch, and when they are cold they break." Also stretch out important muscles -- your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and iliotibial band -- before and after your run. "This will not only improve flexibility but prevent injury," he says.

Step 9. Rest your body and your feet.

"It's really unnecessary for 99% of runners to run every day of the week. Most people should take at least one, if not three days, off each week," Bakoulis says. "And you don't have to run every day either." Instead, try "non-impact activities such as cycling, swimming, using the elliptical trainer at a gym, or any activity that is not causing you to pound your feet at least once a week," she says.

Step 10. On your mark, get set, go!

Congratulations. You are now on your way to the starting gate and much closer to achieving your goal. Remember, aches and pains can - and will - occur during your run. If you feel sore on race day, take acetaminophen (Tylenol). Says Maharan: "The temptation is to take ibuprofen, but it can block prostaglandins and blood flow to the kidneys in race conditions."

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Reviewed on October 18, 2006

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