No race can ever compare to my first NYC Marathon. Something mystical happened, which I was never able to repeat in my next 34 marathons. I started to pick up my pace at 20 miles and began to pass hundreds of runners walking and jogging.

So, it's time for the serious thoughts on marathon training. One must realize that the training session is 25percent perspiration and 75 percent determination. The hardest part of the session is to get out the door and get started. This will give you the full potential to strengthen the body and to relax the mind. The following guide is for the successful, goal-oriented person who has taken charge of his or her destiny.

1) Plan out exactly what you want to achieve. Is it the desire to just finish or to run a sub-three

hour marathon?

2) Visualize yourself daily in perfect harmony.

3) Map out your training program as the goal to a successful marathoner.

4) Establish many different distances and times as goals, working up to the ultimate distance and

respected time.

5) Learn to discipline yourself with control, so that you can strengthen your goals.

6) It's a necessity to use caution for one's health, safety, and well-being during a hard training

schedule.

7) The quantity of the training session with speed work (a few times per week) is also essential

to sharpen your running muscles.

8) Pace yourself. This is a must if you are to finish this type of event. It is very important to

gain proper balance between quality and quantity.

9) Follow a healthy and strict nutritional diet.

10) Keep in mind your original goals up to your last training session.

11) Triumph over the laziness and procrastination at the later stages of training.

12) Go for it -- reach your ultimate summit in the marathon.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss, a Sport Podiatrist, was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials.

Dr. Weiss has a practice in Darien: The Foot & Ankle Institute of Darien and is a veteran of 35 Marathons. For more information, visit www.therunningdoctor.net.

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