Bitten by the marathon bug? Pro offers tips

Mon Nov 2, 2009 9:55am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - The ING New York City Marathon of 2009 is history. But if those sleek runners and cheering crowds have inspired you to gear up for 2010, a top runner advises easy paces and soft landings.

"The biggest mistake new runners make is trying to do too much all at once," said pro division marathoner Fasil Bizuneh, who is based in Flagstaff, Arizona. "Don't try to go out and run as hard as you can every day."

Instead Bizuneh advises people to run at a pace that's comfortable, that they can maintain conversation at, and to do only small increases from week to week.

"You'll do more for your fitness if you enjoy what you're doing, rather than if you force yourself," he said in an interview a few days before the race.

Bizuneh was one of just 200 elite runners in a marathon field of over 40,000, according to the New York Road Runners Club, which organizes the 26.2-mile race through the city.

American Meb Keflizghi was the fastest man in Sunday's race with a time of 2:09, while Deratu Tulu, of Ethiopia, was the first woman to cross the finish line with a time of 2:28.

Sunday marked Bizuneh's fifth marathon. He set his personal marathon best of 2:16:47 with a 13th place finish at the U.S. Olympic Trials in New York in 2007.

The 29-year-old said that while he's always in training, he's not always running as fast as he can.   Continued...

<p>The elite men's division runners start ahead of more than 40,000 runners in the 2009 New York City Marathon, November 1, 2009. REUTERS/Chip East</p>