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how to train for a
a woman's guide to running in Gainesville
>Training Basics

The modern-day marathon began in the Olympics in 1896, although the distance, 26.2 miles, was not standardized until 1921. Today, more than 800 marathons are run per year in the United States alone, with the larger marathons having more than tens of thousands of participants.

Training for a marathon is a great way to get and stay in shape, but before you begin, it is important to remember that most participants do not run a marathon to win, but to finish. Most runners follow one of three strategies to complete a marathon: you can run the whole thing, follow a walk-run strategy, or use an intermediate approach, stopping at the water tables along the run. The key is to find the strategy that works for you, and stick with it.

There are several key components to completing a marathon, each as important as the next. The most important element when training and running, however, is to always be aware of your body. Know what works for you, and know what doesn't.


Maintaining proper posture is an important component to running, regardless of what kind of running you are doing. Runners should maintain an upright posture and a slight forward lean. By leaning forward, you avoid landing on the heel of your foot and can therefore facilitate the use of the "spring mechanism" from the front part of your foot.

Remember: Your posture should remain upright, yet relaxed! When running, try to use your core (your abdomen and lower back) to stabilize the rest of your body. Focus your lean from the waist up, but be careful not to tilt your chin and/or scrunch your shoulders. Use your arms to help propel you forward and make sure your feet are parallel.


Experts have found that stride rates (the length of your leg extension as you move from one step to the next) are generally extremely consistent among professional runners. The main difference between the running style of long and short-distance runners is the length of their stride, rather than their stride rate.

Typically, faster stride rates coincide with the faster parallel movement of your arms. Different stride rates are for different types of running, ranging from sprinting - stay on your toes, bring your legs higher up, use shorter and faster strides - to long-distance runs - more relaxed, varied strides.

This site created by Jaime Weisser, 2008.