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Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi: I'm ready for the New York thunder

Meb Keflezighi

Meb Keflezighi Credit: Getty Images

In the last few months, I have been running more than 100 miles per week in preparation for the ING New York City Marathon, the most competitive marathon in the world.

I switched my shoe sponsor to Skechers this year, and they made me a customized version of their GORun shoe that encourages a mid-foot strike. I've put in about 1,400 miles on them now, and I'll be racing with them here for the first time.

I think the beginning of the race is pretty awesome: You're looking at the double-decker Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. I try to focus on pacing myself - that's what a marathoner does. It's not like, "Oh, I'm gonna roll the first mile."

That's not New York.

Later on, exiting the Queensboro Bridge onto First Avenue, I'm anticipating the thunder of thousands of fans. That's when I wonder: What are all these spectators going to do this time?

I love getting the crowd involved - not that New Yorkers need my thumbs-up to encourage them. That's the beauty of road racing, as opposed to the track. You get so close to them - as close as six inches on some turns. It gets so loud that you almost need earplugs.

Toward the end, in Central Park, I'm challenging the course itself and hoping I'm in contention. Feeling good and strong is the key at that point, and hopefully I will be.

Meb's Tips

How to get started. An achievable goal for most people is to run for half an hour 3-4 days a week. Think gradual, not drastic. Think gradual, not drastic. Think long-term, not immediate.]

Stretching is important to prepare for and recover from a run prevent injuries. If you are pressed for time, I recommend a shorter run that makes time for adequate stretching.

Music is a powerful source of energy while training. Put together a personal playlist and choose a music player that doesn't distract you while running. I use a Sony Walkman W Series. Its cordless design lets me focus on my run and not fussing with cords.

How to improve your running. My mantra is: Solid and consistent training + good nutrition + adequate rest = Progress. Make it yours!

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