Joe A., our most experienced full marathon runner, shares more on his background and how he\u2019s preparing for race day.\nJoe A.\nPittsburgh, Pa.\nI\u2019m 49 years old and came back to running a little bit later in life. I ran 5K and 10K races when I was in my late teens. While I\u2019ve always done some sort of activity to stay in shape, I really got back into running after moving to our home in Crafton back in 2007. It started out with a couple of miles on the treadmill at the local gym after dropping my kids off to school each day. Then the gym I went to closed for good just about the time I realized that I really didn\u2019t enjoy running on a treadmill. It\u2019s fine for a couple of miles but that got old as I increased the distance I was running. There are a lot of great things about running but at the top of the list is the fact that all you need is a good pair of shoes (very important!) and some motivation.\nA few weeks ago I ran the New Orleans Rock and Roll Marathon. I began training for that race back in October 2014. The plan I followed called for four days of running per week with some core strengthening exercises on two of the off days and a day of rest. I wanted to try something different from what I\u2019d done to prepare for my previous four marathons. Those plans all called for three days per week of running. There were no core exercises involved. While I\u2019d done fairly well, I wanted to see if I could improve my time, and maybe more importantly my enjoyment over the 26.2 miles of the marathon. Also, I figured that if I were stronger to begin with then the recovery period would be quicker.\nSince I just finished the last race I\u2019m going to take a break for a week or two. I\u2019ve got some soreness in my right knee. I think it\u2019s the typical \u201crunner\u2019s knee\u201d injury. I\u2019ve been stretching and icing it in order to keep on training for New Orleans. Now that the race is over I\u2019m going to rest it.\nThe day after the race I started feeling some discomfort in my left foot. It\u2019s something new that didn\u2019t bother me during the race or even while walking around that afternoon and evening. I\u2019m not 100% sure what\u2019s causing the discomfort so I made an appointment to see my primary care physician, who is also an orthopedic specialist. Instead of checking Facebook and playing Words with Friends on my phone, I spent the time in the airport on my way home looking up what the problem might be based on my symptoms. We\u2019re all internet MD\u2019s, right? Haha!\nSeriously, it\u2019s important to me to have a good relationship with my doctor. Training for and running a marathon is a serious undertaking. I see little sense in spending hours or days worrying about this pain or that when a simple exam will reveal what the problem is.\nLike I said above, injuries are always a challenge. Everyone has different tolerance for pain. While I\u2019m not in any way saying that I\u2019ve got a large threshold for pain, I will say that like most runners I\u2019ve got a certain determination to stick to my training plan no matter what. This can be counterproductive. There are nagging pains that you can run through and then there are things that require decreased intensity or rest.\nThe first marathon I ran was Pittsburgh in 2013. I had a good race, meeting my goal time of 3:50. I was anxious to maintain my fitness because I\u2019d worked so hard to get to that point. Despite the pain in my knees, I started back into training without any rest period. Eventually I had to take a break just to give myself a chance to feel better.\nI\u2019ve run five marathons in the last two years and I\u2019ve learned some things along the way. One thing that\u2019s clear is that what I actually know is a lot less than what I don\u2019t know. So what I\u2019ve done is to join a club. I joined the Steel City Road Runners, but really any of the clubs in our area offer great resources like coaches, training plans, and other runners to train with.\nInterested in how others approach marathon training? View the introduction blog post from this series to meet all of our bloggers in the virtual running group.\nAre you training for this year\u2019s Dick\u2019s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon or any of the other events? How do you prepare for distance running? We\u2019d love to hear from you!