The basis for a successful endurance event (road race, marathon, tennis football, soccer, field hockey, etc.) is a good training program.

Equally important is the athlete's psychological make-up; he must focus on his mental status and concentration levels.

Concentrate on setting your goals for your training schedule. The program schedule must have a built-in alternative schedule to allow for the possibility of injury or sickness.

Work on your training endurance to gain strength and then to increase speed. One of the biggest problems that an athlete will experience is the lack of concentration during his training.

Then, when the day of competition arrives, the endurance athlete just doesn't feel relaxed or comfortable. His nerves and muscles are working against him, because they are attempting to do something completely new or different from his previous training schedule.

If the athlete has been training on an 8-minute pace in his training program, and then on race day, he attempts to race at a 7-minute pace, this is a violation to the "set goals and training principle." You should select the time you want to complete your event and use your planned pace during your practice.

There is also the possibility that the athlete may not have had good nutritional habits during the hard training sessions. The individual must eat enough carbohydrates and consume enough electrolyte replacement drinks.

It is important to get enough sleep, relax, and give yourself enough recovery time between hard training activities. When the day of the event comes, you should have a feeling of supreme self-confidence.

Concentrate your entire being on the event right from the start, and don't allow your mind to wander.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathons, has a practice in Darien, affiliated with Stamford Hospital and is a member of Stamford Health Medical Group-Foot & Ankle Institute.