Train Focused
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Written by Coach Steve Mackel   

10 tips to start training for the la marathon

Deciding to run a full or half marathon is rarely a spur of the moment decision. For many people, running a marathon is a dream that requires committed goal-setting with a strong intention. Whether your reason for running is to get in better shape, lose weight, run for a cause, set a new personal record or cross an item off your bucket list, marathons are challenging and take months of training. If you’re determined to tackle the miles, the following ten training tips will help you complete it successfully and reduce potential injuries.

Find a coach or a training program.

Just like yoga practice, it is difficult to start training for a long run without a teacher. Books are helpful, but having a certified coach check your running form and help you design a training program dramatically increases your chances of success.

Get new running shoes.

Your feet are going to hit the ground close to 40,000 times on race day and hundreds of thousands times while training. Go to a running
store to help ensure a proper fit. Many stores will replace your shoes if you don’t like them within the first month, so ask. Running shoes should be a half to full size larger than your normal shoes. Choose comfortable shoes to add kick to your motivation.

Be a safe runner: know your surroundings & conditions.

Dress properly and remember that weather conditions can change quickly. Wear sunscreen, carry identification, some money and even a cell phone when possible. Wear reflective gear if running at night. Let someone know your route if you are running in unfamiliar locations.

Invest in a hydration system.

You need water and electrolytes while you run. A good hydration system allows you to carry water, sports drinks, food, keys and other
items while keeping your hands free. Dehydration directly affects performance and can itself be a health hazard.


  LA Marathon

The twenty-fourth Los Angeles Marathon and Acura LA Bike Tour will be held on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, staring at 6th and Figueroa. Online registration closes on May 20.

To register and view a course map, visit:; for official marathon news:

For additional training tips and workshops across LA, visit:

To talk about your marathon experience, and enter in a drawing to win a free water bottle, visit:


Warm-up and cool-down before and after your runs.

One of the keys to injury prevention is a proper warm-up and cool-down. Begin the first ten to fifteen minutes of your run with an easy pace to get looser before turning up the intensity. At the end of your run, walk around for five to ten minutes allowing your heart rate to lower, then stretch out or do some yoga. [See the yoga poses for runners suggested by Kimberly Fowler on page 32.]

Listen to your body and practice mindfulness.

The body awareness developed through yoga can help prevent the leading cause of injury and training burnout – pushing too hard. Know your edge, listen to your body and be mindful.

Learn about your nutritional needs.

As the distance of your runs increase, good nutrition is essential. This includes what you eat throughout the day as well as how you plan to get enough caloric intake during the marathon itself. Most runners will need between 150 - 300 calories an hour to have their best performance and avoid bonking, or hitting the wall. Eating and running takes practice and experimentation. You need to find what works for you.

Don’t sweat missing a training run.

More runners I coach worry too much about missing a scheduled run. If you miss three or four consecutive workouts, then talk to your coach, reset your intention, get back on your schedule and you’ll be okay.

Rest, Repair, Recovery.

I call these the 3 Rs. Many athletes underestimate the importance of rest days and sleep. The body repairs damaged tissues when we sleep. Lack of sleep or burning the candle at both ends increases potential injuries. Schedule easy training days in the mix allowing the body to flush toxins and speed up recovery time.

Run with a smile.

If you want to make running easier – or anything in life for that matter, do it with a smile. Research studies link smiling to increased longevity, improved immunity and increased ability to fight illness. And, most importantly, you’ll actually feel happier, making running fun.

Steve Mackel is Head Coach of MarathonTraining, TV, certified ChiRunning® Instructor and USA Triathlon Coach. He teaches Yoga for Runners and Athlete’s Yoga in Pasadena and is a lululemon ambassador in Pasadena. Stay in the running loop at: For private coaching and training programs Coach Steve can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (818) 414 - 9181.

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