Marathoner says staying injury-free most important


Photo courtesy of Dimitri Miras


Miras flew to Greece last October to compete in Athens’ Classic Marathon. He completed the mostly uphill race in just over four hours with his brother watching from the sidelines.


When it comes to racing, humans have a natural inclination to want to finish first, so it seems counterintuitive to hear that the key to training for a marathon is to take it slow.


But Toronto’s Dimitri Miras, a financial broker who has trained for and ran seven marathons in the last three years, says taking it slow is imperative to successful training.

“The most important part of the marathon is staying injury-free. A lot of times people push themselves in training and they get injured before the race,” says Miras, adding “Start slow, make it part of your life.”

Slow training is also repeated throughout John Stanton’s book, Running Start To Finish, which repeatedly tells readers that training for a marathon is a test of endurance, not speed.

Stanton, the founder and president of the Running Room, provides a series of training programs in the book that lay out exactly how much and how long a person should run in the months and weeks leading up to a marathon.

Tara Walton/Torstar News Service

Runner and walker participants of last year’s Scotiabank Marathon run West on the Lakeshore towards the finish line at Metro Hall.

Miras’ own training program is based on one from Stanton’s book; it involves running up to six times a week for the 18 weeks before a race.

He says following a program is a great way of monitoring your training.

“I always thought a marathon was too difficult to do,” says Miras, who was used to running 10 to 12 kilometres (the standard distance of a marathon is 42.2 km).

The 51-year-old ran his first marathon three years ago after his neighbour, a cancer survivor, completed a marathon for the first time.

Since then, Miras has run two marathons a year, and says the activity has become one of his passions.

“It is a lifestyle, it’s about setting goals and trying to achieve them,” he says.

Last fall Miras even flew to Greece to take part in the Athens’ Classic Marathon, an experience he calls unforgettable.

Miras suggest beginners train for at least a year before taking part in their first marathon, saying it takes a lot out of your body.

“They should run a half marathon first, just to get a sense for it.”

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