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The 40th anniversary of the Portland Marathon is still nine months away, Oct. 9.

But, registration for the second annual half marathon is filling up fast and closes Jan. 31. Also, the full marathon field was closed earlier than normal last year - full - and interested participants are encouraged to register now. Just go to portlandmarathon.org.

The bigger issue, especially for first-time marathoners and beginners, is the need to start training now.

Fortunately, the folks at the Portland Marathon provide help. The Portland Marathon Clinic, established in 1984, helps runners and walkers to successfully complete their first marathon and others to achieve their personal bests. That information can also be found at portlandmarathon.org.

The clinics start in April, with the first of several free training runs, with guidance, happening April 9. Seminars start April 19 with 'Basics of Training and Performance.'

Seminars are held during five Tuesdays (April 19, May 17, June 7, July 12, Sept. 13), for 2 1/2 hours each, organized by Warren Finke of Team Oregon and put on at Kaiser Permanente Town Hall, 3704 N. Interstate Ave. The five-seminar package is $100, each seminar $30.

'For someone running 20 miles a week, with a long run of around six miles, a good marathon training program will take six months," Finke says. "If they are not doing that much it would take longer to prepare.'

Training schedules are available at teamoregon.com.

'It is all about endurance,' Finke adds. 'During (early training) period the emphasis is on long, slow runs. You want to run long to simulate a marathon and you want to run slow to get your body good at utilizing long-term energy sources which are favored when you are running at low intensity. You want to add miles slowly so you can adapt and not overtrain, which produce injuries or mental burnout.

'The last eight to 10 weeks prior to a marathon, runners work on the specifics for the race.This is called 'sharpening.' This would include specific marathon pace work and preparation for things like hills, temperature extremes, etc., that might be different for each marathon.'

And, Finke adds, 'The last two to three weeks before a marathon is a taper phase where you back off on your training and rest for the marathon. Lots of runners fail to do enough of this because they are afraid of losing fitness.'

• Other notable Portland area events in 2011:

Feb. 13 - Worst Day of the Year Ride (bicycle), 503-459-4508

March 13 - Shamrock Run (run), 503-638-4131

April 3 - Race for the Roses (run), 503-262-0175

April 9 - Pedal Nation (bicycle show), 503-887-3084

May 1 - Run for the Cheetah (run), runforthecheetah.org/portland

May 8 - Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon (run), 503-926-2622

June 4 - Starlight Run (run), 503-638-1305

July 2 - Stars and Stripes Marathon and Half Marathon (run), Beaverton, starsandstripesmarathon.com

July 3 - Freedom Marathon and Half Marathon (run), Gresham, freedom-marathon.com

July 9 - Hagg Lake Triathlon and Duathlon (swim/bike/run), Forest Grove, racecenter.com/hagglake

Aug. 14 - Providence Bridge Pedal (bicycle), blog.bridge pedal.com

Aug. 20 - City of Portland Triathlon (swim/bike/run), 503-789-8655

In addition, bicycle racing takes place at Portland International Raceway throughout the spring and summer. Go to portlandraceway.com for dates. And, several triathlons, including the Blue Lake Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, June 11, will be held at Blue Lake Park in Fairview. Go to racecenter.com for details.