Take the first approach to your life.

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Answered by: Maureen, An Expert in the Healthy Living 101 Category
Scott Infanger was sitting in his Nashville, Tennessee, apartment when the mail carrier delivered his August issue of Runner's World, Scott, a 29 year old doctoral student at Vanderbilt University, had run five marathons with a personal best of 3:25, 15 minutes slower than the he needed to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The fact is that after running steadily faster times in his first three marathons, he had plateaued. One of the magazine's cover stories, about a 3-day-per-week running program that claimed it could help you run faster, seemed written with him in mind. Though he suspected it was nothing more than marketing hype, he decided to give the article a read.

Despite this initial cynicism, Infanger soon found himself genuinely intrigued. The article's author, former Boston Marathon winner Amby Burfoot, was extolling the program as the real deal. The article detailed how the program had been developed by exercise scientists and tested with real runners, who had improved their marathon times by an average of 19 minutes during a 16 week training program. And not just 4:00 or 5:00 marathoners, but sub-3:00 marathoners, as well.

At the same time, a Washington D.C., attorney Aaron Colangelo, was flipping through his mail when the same cover article caught his eye: "Train Less, Run Faster." Aaron had run multiple marathons with the same best time and, just like Scott, needed to knock off 15 minutes for the Boston Marathon.

However, unlike Scott, he had decided that with his busy professional life, marathon training was too demanding to allow another attempt. Nonetheless, his curiosity took him directly to the article. He thought this would fit into his schedule. Running 3 days a week would not be overwhelming, and he did enjoy biking and swimming, which could satisfy the program's cross-training component.

Scott and Aaron were to perform the three weekly running workouts and two cross-training workouts exactly as specified. They both decided to take the first approach.

Aaron and Scott gave determined efforts at the Kiawah Island Marathon and quickly reaped the benefits of their disciplined 16 weeks of training. Both ran smart races with good pacing, with more than enough left over for a strong finish. Aaron was 30 seconds under 3:10, and Scott made his Boston qualifying time with 9 seconds to spare.

Running, if a body is capable, can benefit a person on many levels. Cross-training is the key to keeping the body healthy. It can also relieve the mundane "dread" of training and make a training program enjoyable and interesting. Training should be enjoyable with satisfying results.

Do not be discouraged, overall fitness is what is important. A goal is rewarding when it is reached. Whether you are an Olympic athlete or a person who is trying to "get into shape", fitness is the key. Fitness can enhance a life. It provides a person with more energy, stress relief and a "clear head". Time to start! Take the first approach. Why not wait any longer. Enjoy your life!

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