Take the First Step to Run or Walk a Marathon

Tina Saladino, a Southern California college student, always enjoyed sports but never ran more than a 5K. When a friend suggested they run in San Diego's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, Saladino decided to take on the challenge.

That was the easy part; the challenging part was getting ready for the 26.2 mile race. Saladino, who survived childhood leukemia, chose The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training? (TNT) to help her prepare. The lessons she learned during her training were invaluable and apply to all aspiring marathoners.

First off, start slowly, recommended Tommy Owens, D.D.S, national TNT training coordinator.

"Gradually build up your mileage over a several-month period," he added. "There's no reason to break any records on your first day of training. Always remember, "it's not what you could do; it's what you should do."

Seven Tips for Marathon and Half Marathon Training

1. Choose a training program that's right for you.
2. Keep a positive attitude.
3. Rest is as important as training--don't overdo it.
4. If you miss a workout, don't worry. Skip it and move on.
5. Mix it up. Do fast-paced training sessions to improve form, tempo runs to improve stamina and long runs to improve endurance.
6. Eat a proper diet and drink enough fluids.
7. Your shoes are your feet's best friends. Get fitted by a professional.

For 20 years, Team In Training has helped more than 340,000 people from all walks of life and athletic levels successfully prepare for marathons, half marathons, triathlons and 100-mile bike rides. Teammates train for four to five months under the guidance of certified coaches and learn the fundamentals of physical conditioning, nutrition, footwear and race strategies.

For many of the athletes, the best part of TNT is helping the Society cure leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma--blood cancers that claim thousands of lives every year. TNT participants raise funds for the Society's efforts--more than $800 million since 1988--and train on behalf of honored patients, local adults and children who are battling blood cancers.

"Choosing Team In Training wasn't hard," said Saladino. "They were there for me when I was a little girl battling blood cancer. And they were there for me when I decided to run my first marathon."

Visit www.teamintraining.org or call 800-482-TEAM for details.

Get inspired by running addict Anne Bonney.

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