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Fitness Friday: Maximizing Running Performance and Marathon Training

Runners Participating in Marathon

When the New York City Marathon was cancelled this year because of Hurricane Sandy, runners who’d been training for months found other ways to use their athletic ability in the recovery efforts. Like all devoted runners, they will soon find another race to run if they haven’t signed up already. This weekend’s Brooklyn Marathon and Philadelphia Marathon are perfect examples.

Devoted runners continue to train for this and other upcoming races through the end of this year and into the next. Below, see our Dos and Don?ts for marathon training and running:


  • Start training with long easy runs.
  • Engage in speed training, but not more than once a week, and not until you’ve developed endurance and strength.
  • Pace yourself when you train by limiting your long-distance runs to one every 2-3 weeks. Start with 8-mile runs and work up to running 22 miles, or 3 hours, a month before the marathon.
  • Stretch to keep your muscles flexible, but not to the point where you feel pain. Include strengthening exercises for your postural muscles & legs.
  • Maintain a high-carbohydrate diet before a race — fruits and vegetables, as well as bread and pasta — increasing the percentage to 70% of your food intake the week before the marathon.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of fluids; remember to drink before you feel thirsty.
  • Replace your running shoes every 250-500 miles, whether or not they appear worn out.
  • Apply sunscreen before the race.
  • Survey the marathon route before the race, and station friends at various spots along the way so they can hand you sports drinks or fruit slices to replenish your energy.


  • Increase your mileage too quickly when you’re training.
  • Continue to run if you feel pain.
  • Run 7 days a week. Be sure to take a day off every week.
  • Forget to stretch.
  • Ignore cross-training aerobic exercises such as cycling, swimming, and stair climbing to build fitness.
  • Wear new shoes or clothing at the race. It could cause chafing or blisters.


Topics: Performance
The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.