Khalid Khannouchi, who grew up in Morocco and became a U.S. citizen in 2000, has posted some of the fastest times in the history of the marathon, covering the 26.2 miles in 2:05:38 and 2:05:43. During an interview with USA Today, Khannouchi provided tips on how to be a success.
Q: How hard is it to run a marathon?
A: “It’s a combination of discipline, hard work, harshness of weather. The most difficult part is keeping your focus for a long period of time. The time I like to prepare for a marathon is four months.
“Marathoners seem either to be training or getting ready for the next workout. You wake up every morning and you know what you have to do. You have long mileage to accumulate. Sometimes you’re already tired from your last two or three workouts. You still have to wake up, have the motivation and go outside and do the training. It makes it hard if the weather is really bad.
“Involving your body in all these things, it’s easy to get hurt. When you get injured, you can get really frustrated. With all the running and pounding, it can happen any day. It’s one of the toughest things. You have to be lucky to have full, safe training. If you can’t have that, you will never run a fast marathon.”
Q: What’s the most important thing about running a marathon?
A: “I always learn something new. The key is you have to be patient mentally and physically. Control of emotions is important. I’ve found a lot of people can’t do that, even if they are professionals. You have to run smart. Sometimes I run in the back of the (lead) group, five to 10 seconds behind. I’m pacing myself and body the way that suits me to run better. That’s difficult to do sometimes.”