No race can ever compare to my first New York City Marathon. Something mystical happened, which I was never able to repeat in my next 34 marathons. I started to pick up my pace at 20 miles and began to pass hundreds of runners walking and jogging.

So it's time for the serious thoughts on marathon training. One must realize that the training session is 25 percent perspiration and 75 percent determination. The hardest part of the session is to get out the door and get started. This will give a runner the full potential to strengthen the body and to relax the mind. The following guide is for the successful, goal-oriented person who has taken charge of his or her destiny.

Plan out exactly what you want to achieve. Is it the desire to just finish or to run a sub-three hour marathon?

Visualize yourself daily in perfect harmony.

Map out your training program as the goal to a successful marathoner.

Establish many different distances and times as goals, working up to the ultimate distance and desired time.

Learn to discipline yourself with control, so that you can strengthen your goals.

It's a necessity to use caution for one's health, safety and well-being during a hard training schedule.

The quantity of the training session with speed work (a few times per week) is also essential to sharpen your running muscles.

Pace yourself. This is a must if you are to finish this type of event. It is very important to gain proper balance between quality and quantity.

Follow a healthy and strict nutritional diet.

Keep in mind your original goals up to your last training session.

Triumph over the laziness and procrastination at the later stages of training.

Go for it -- reach your ultimate summit in the marathon.

Dr. Robert Weiss lives in Westport and has a sports-podiatry practice in Darien. He is a former marathon runner and was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and the 1988 Olympic Trials.