With the recreational running season about to start, and the Auckland marathon on the horizon, novices, amateurs and weekend joggers can lace up their trainers and start running.
Distance co-ordinator at Athletics Australia Tim O'Shaughnessy has tips on preparing for the ultimate running experience: the marathon.
Even if you're not an elite athlete, the 42km distance event takes planning and preparation, O'Shaughnessy says.
Coming in at No1 is a balanced training regime, with a combination of short, fast runs and long, slow distance runs - known among runners as LSD.
"It has got to be very much a progressive build up," O'Shaughnessy says. "It's crucial that you get your long runs in, but I think it's also crucial that you recover from these long runs.
"Include some turbo-runs or runs at race pace [and] some where you are running a bit slower."
Diet and good running gear are also essential ingredients for success, O'Shaughnessy says. "You probably need to look at all aspects of your diet, your recovery, your sleep and your equipment and then the volume in your training."
He suggests eating plenty of fruit, cereals and grains and investing in at least one decent pair of running shoes.
"Make sure you find a correct shoe for your feet and your running rate," he says. "You probably need a couple of pairs of good shoes, if you try and be cheap it will cost you in the end."
And he is not a believer in barefoot marathons.
"I'm not convinced on that yet, there will be some that will swear by it and good luck to them, but it's not something that I advocate," he says.
Staying injury-free is also a crucial element of running success.
"Avoiding injury is a key part of it and injuries can occur from too quick an increase in your weekly mileage," he says.
It is also important to choose your running surfaces and circuits carefully. "Put some thought into your running courses, include some hills in them, some variety in where you are going and mix it up a little bit," he says.
Although most marathons are on sealed roads, he suggests doing most of your training on grass or dirt as it is kinder on the legs.
The time you need to spend preparing for a marathon depends on your level of fitness, but a lot can be achieved in 12 weeks, he says.
Getting into a running group and setting yourself short-term training goals can also help keep you motivated.
* Increasing training too quickly
* Not wearing the correct shoes
* Trying to run hard too often
* Running on the wrong surfaces
For a 10km run:
* Only walk if necessary.
* Ensure you have good footwear.
* Vary running surface.
* Incorporate hills into your runs as your fitness develops.
* Start each run at a comfortable pace.
* Always warm down and stretch after a run.
* Keep well hydrated.
* Sunday - 20 min walk/jog
* Tuesday - 30 min walk/jog
* Thursday - 20 min walk/run, plus extra bike or swim session.
* Sunday - 25 min walk/run
* Tuesday - 5 min warm-up, 3x3 min efforts at estimated race pace (1 min recovery between), 5 min warm-down
* Thursday - 30 min run, plus extra bike or swim session sometime during the week.
* Sunday - 30 min run
* Tuesday - 5 min warm-up, 6x2 min efforts at estimated race pace (1 min recovery between), 5 min warm-down
* Thursday - 30 min run Saturday, 5 min easy, 10 min hard (at above estimated race pace), 5 min easy
* Sunday - 40 min run
* Tuesday - 5 min warm-up, 5x3 min efforts at estimated race pace (1 min recovery between), 5 min warm-down
* Thursday - 40 min run
* Saturday - 5 min easy, 12 min hard, 5 min easy
* Sunday - 40 min run
* Tuesday - 5 min warm-up, 3x6 min efforts at estimated race pace (2 min recovery between), 5 min warm-down
* Thursday - 30 min run
* Saturday - 5 min easy, 12 min hard (at above estimated race pace), 5 min easy
* Sunday - 50 min run
* Tuesday - 5 min warm-up, 6x3 min efforts (at estimated race pace), 5 min warm-down
* Thursday - 20 min easy, 4x15 sec strides
* Sunday - RACE DAY
- Compiled by Tim O'Shaughnessy, Athletics Australia.