"If you are going to dream, dream big; it takes no extra effort," advises running coach James Kuegler.
For most runners, "big" means a marathon - and for many New Zealand runners, that means the Auckland Marathon.
This year's Auckland Marathon has five distance options - 5km challenge and children's marathon, 12km traverse, 21km half marathon and full 42.2km marathon.
Once a goal has been set, the first-time runner or walker may not know where to begin.
The Run & Walk Series is designed for those training for one of the Auckland Marathon distances.
The five mini-events run from July to October at locations in and around Auckland, and have distance options to suit all ages and abilities. As the series progresses, runners and walkers steadily and safely increase their distance towards their goal.
Race director Richard Lindroos has seen events from both sides of the fence - he represented New Zealand at three world cross country championships, and was race director for the Auckland Marathon from 2008 until last year.
He is excited about applying his event expertise, experience and passion for organisation to the series this year.
"We want to help you achieve your goals on event day, and for that reason the courses and distances are chosen to provide the perfect build-up for the Auckland Marathon."
Event-specific training sessions for something as popular as the Auckland Marathon must be suitable for a wide range of abilities.
"We have people with vastly different goals entering the series," says Lindroos. "We need to ensure that each course provides enough challenge for those wanting to be tested, yet at the same time is walker/runner friendly for those who may be entering an event for the first time."
Kuegler reiterates the need to be realistic when taking on a challenge the size of a marathon.
"The key to dreaming big is to then break the dream down into manageable chunks that build on each other progressively towards the main goal.
"The Run/Walk Series is timed for beginners to build their distance, speed and time on feet towards the Auckland Marathon in November."
Participants can enter the Run & Walk Series events individually or sign up for a series package that includes guaranteed entry into one of the five Auckland Marathon events.
Run Walk Series
Event 1: Sunday, July 12, Unitec, Mt Albert.
Event 2: Sunday, August 2, Alexandra Park, Greenlane.
Event 3: Sunday, August 23, Ngataringa Park, Devonport.
Event 4: Sunday, September 13, Highbrook Business Park.
Event 5: Sunday, October 4, Sir Barry Curtis Park, Botany.
For more information: runwalk.co.nz, www.aucklandmarathon.co.nz/