June 9, 2010Read: Galatians 6 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." --Galatians 6:9

So there I was, packing up the truck to head back home. The marathon had long since ended, and Loretta was getting herself ready to leave. As I looked across the parking lot, I saw a few runners walking back from the venue. They literally looked like they'd been through a battle. I then went to check-out of the hotel and was surrounded by marathoners; medals hanging from each neck and numbers across their chests.

But you know what was interesting? I knew they had just run the race, not because of the medals and numbers, but by the familiar limp. Loretta had it too. She could hardly move. When we went into town to eat a few hours later, I saw people who either had no trouble walking or who had barely the strength to stand.

Battle tested. If you ran the race, it showed in your walk.



So yesterday, continuing our theme of running, we offered some practical beginner tips on how to get ready for your first marathon. But not everyone who runs a marathon is necessarily new to running. Many recreational runners routinely tackle longer distances but have still yet to run a full 26.2.  Today, we'll offer some tips for these intermediates for whom the finish line may already be in sight -- even if they don't know it yet.

INTERMEDIATE: If you regularly run 20 to 30 miles a week, and have done so for a year or more, you're an intermediate. Intermediates also likely do a weekly long run of 8-10 miles and have some experience with tempo runs or intervals. They've run 10K races and maybe even finished a half marathon. The rare, elite category of intermediates may have already run a full marathon but are now ready to set more challenging goals for their race times.

>> The Plan: "Long runs are the basis of marathon training, but at this level it's important to add some intensity to the program," says anaerobic management coach John Sinclair (www.anaerobic.net). So, you'll gradually increase the length of the weekly long run to adapt your mind and body to the rigors of running nonstop for several hours. But running 18 to 20 miles at a time isn't all you need, so you'll supplement these runs with some higher-effort running twice weekly, including sustained tempo runs at your half-marathon race pace. These promote aerobic strength and efficiency and will help you find that groove you'd like to be in when you run a longer race, according to Sinclair. You'll also be doing a smattering of speed work. For more specific tips, visit www.runnersworld.com.