MARATHON running is a special beast, and taming that beast takes a long and well-thought-out process.
Considering every aspect in the lead-up to the event - from wearing the right clothing and footwear to training and resting accordingly every day - is vital.
And then there's actually running the race.
One of the longest sporting events in the world, the marathon is a physically and mentally gruelling 42km.
Most competitors say the challenge is worth all the training just to experience that ecstatic feeling that hits in the last kilometre of the race, and of course reaching the finish line.
Such a feeling will be quite commonplace on Saturday and Sunday, August 25 and 26, as the Sunshine Coast Marathon and Community Run Festival hits Mooloolaba.
Up to 5000 people are expected to participate in what will be Australia's newest running festival celebrating healthy lifestyles, the great outdoors and community participation.
With 10 weeks to the festival, International Fitness Studios personal trainer Mark Gunther said average runners could still start training for the marathon.
"You've got over two months to go so technically, if you can run 5-10km and all you wanted to do was finish a marathon, then you could do it now," he said.
Mark said training for the event was all about progressive endurance.
"The biggest thing that kills people with distance work is not so much the distance but the speed they're doing it in," he said.
"If you can only do 10km now, then add 4km to training every week to make work progressive in the lead-up to the event.
"It's not worth pushing yourself too much to start and running 60km, otherwise you'll most likely hurt yourself."
Being a runner, Mark said diet and nutrition leading up to the event were important considerations.
"Particularly in the last 10 days leading into the marathon, you will need to increase your carbohydrate intake because the intensity is going to go up," he said.
"During the marathon, you're going to get excited because your heart rate is going to go up and you'll crash if you don't eat your carbohydrates."
While marathon is a sport of running, Mark said training could be mixed to ensure the body was given a break.
"You don't necessarily have to be on the pavement seven days a week," he said.
"You could do a bit of bike riding as a recovery day, you might be able to get out on the sand and do some water running just to get some pressure off the joints."
For those who don't particularly warm to run 42km, other options including the 2km, 5km, 10km and half marathon of 21km are available.
To prevent injury, Mark said entrants had to choose the right event.
"It's a case of what your running background is," he said.
"There's no point smashing yourself.
"Sometimes it's not the case of the longer the better."
10-Week Marathon Prep Plan
Recommended for runners who can already run 5-10km
Week 1 - Sunday, run 14km
Week 2 - Sunday, run 18km
Week 3 - Sunday, run 22km
Week 4 - Sunday, run 26km
Week 5 - Sunday, run 30km
Week 6 - Sunday, run 34km
Week 7 - Sunday, run 38km
Week 8 - Sunday, run 38km
Week 9 - Sunday, run 21km
Week 10 - Sunday, full marathon race
For the rest of the week
Monday - Recovery bike ride 30 minutes
Tuesday - Water running
Wednesday - 30 minute run
Thursday - 60 minute bike ride
Friday - 30 minute run
Saturday - 30 minute swim
Sunday - Long run
Sunday's sessions are for endurance, with the rest of the week recovering the legs, joints and energy systems. Also recommended are a good rest and stretching throughout the week.
Source: International Fitness Studios