Whether you’re a veteran marathoner or someone looking to break into long-distance running, there’s no better weekend in D.C. than this one to get inspired.

On Sunday, 30,000 people will participate in the Marine Corps Marathon, a 26.2 mile race that winds through Arlington County and the District.

In anticipation of “The People’s Marathon,” PostTV’s “On Background” jumped into the conversation on all things running for Thursday’s live show with guests Marine Corps Marathon race director Rick Nealis and RunningBrooke Fund’s Brooke Curran of Alexandria (who has raced on every continent).

Host Nia-Malika Henderson also caught up with viewers and running experts, Jim Lynch and Jennifer Roe, after the show for a Twitter chat on what runners should know going into the Marine Corps Marathon.

Here are some takeaways from “On Background” that will help you hit the ground running.

1. Remember: It’s a marathon — not a sprint. Here’s the advice our panel offered for new runners on how to prepare themselves for race day:

Guest Brooke Curran, who has embarked on a global marathon campaign, offered her three tips for race day: 1) Do what you know and stick with it, 2) Don’t wear anything new, 3) Get a good night’s sleep two days before a race to prepare yourself for race day jitters the night before.

Brooke Curran has participated in a marathon on every continent, in all 50 U.S. states and in the five marathon majors. She shares three best practices for first-time runners with Nia-Malika Henderson. (The Washington Post)

2. How do you fall in love with running? 

“Run by feel,” said Curran, who doesn’t run with a stopwatch. “You just gradually build up — listen to your body and listen to your breath.”

From a heavy smoker to running a marathon on every continent, Brooke Curran wasn't always the avid runner she is today. She gives Nia-Malika Henderson advice on how to get started. (The Washington Post)

3. Following the Boston Marathon bombing, the spirit of the race, as well as security, will be elevated. 

Marine Corps Marathon race director Rick Nealis said there will be eight hours of helicopter coverage this year to provide a live feed of what’s happening on the ground.

“When you have 30,000 runners, it is a participatory sport. Every runner I think realizes the importance we have to our sport to look around and have those extra eyes — and they’re empowered and expected if they see something wrong to speak up.”

Six months after the attack at the Boston Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon race director Rick Nealis speaks with Nia-Malika Henderson about enhanced security at the start and finish in D.C., aerial coverage—and the roles of every participant and spectator in taking ownership in the event. (The Washington Post)

4. The past years have seen a boom in popularity for marathons. “On Background” guests offered some historical reasons why: 

Nealis said two factors attracted more attention towards marathons in the ’90s: Oprah and charities.

Actress, talk-show host, philanthropist—and marathoner. Oprah Winfrey's Marine Corps run in 1994 had an impact on many, and to race director Rick Nealis, perfectly embodied what makes this race "the people's marathon." (The Washington Post)

5. Running is a mental exercise as well as a physical one. Our panel members shared some of their race day rituals that help get them in the right mindset: 

“Start slow,” said Curran, who has run on every continent, in all 50 U.S. states and in the five marathon majors. And then in the last four miles: “Run with your heart.”

Brooke Curran has participated in a marathon on every continent, in all 50 U.S. states and in the five marathon majors. She tells Nia-Malika Henderson how to get through when you hit"the wall". (The Washington Post)

You can watch the full “On Background” show on marathons here, and see our chat here. Join the conversation on Twitter using #Postback.