Can I REALLY Run a Marathon?

Running a marathon is a big decision that must not be taken lightly. Training for a marathon takes a lot of time and dedication, and puts an extra strain on your body. If you are on the fence about deciding to train and run a marathon, then there are three things you need to take into consideration: your health, your time, and your support system.

Am I Healthy Enough to Run a Marathon? 

The biggest deciding factor in whether or not you should run a marathon is your health status. There are many common medical conditions, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, anemia, hypertension, and obesity, which can lead to health complications if you start putting strain on your body. If you have any of these conditions, it is best to consult your primary healthcare doctor before signing up for a marathon training program. You must also take into account your past medical history. If you have a history of lower extremity stress fractures, heel pain, plantar fasciitis or ankle sprains then you will want to make sure that you take all precautions to prevent any of these aliments from occurring again. It is a good idea to talk to your podiatrist to find out what the best running shoe would be for you and if you could be helped by a custom orthotic.

How Much Time Does Marathon Training Demand?

The second thing that you must think about when deciding if you should attempt to run a marathon is if you have enough time to properly train for the race. In our fast-paced world, most people have trouble finding time to fit in all the activities they already have on their schedule. Training for a marathon is a very time consuming task, especially in the last month of training. You must decide what time of day you are going to fit in runs that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than 3 hours!

When I trained for an easy-by-comparison half-marathon, I gave myself eight months to get ready. This way, I could follow my own advice of slowly building up endurance; including rest days in my workout plans; keeping up with strength training; incorporating stretching into my routines; and, of course, listening to my body and stepping back if anything I was doing didn't feel right. It's ideal to give yourself a good chunk of time, especially if this would be your first race, so you don't have to push through pain to reach your goals. 

Finding Your Marathon Cheerleaders

The final thing that is important to consider when deciding to run a marathon is who is in your support system. Who is it that most wants to see you finish your race? Most people do not think about this when deciding to run a marathon but it is very important. If you are married and your husband or wife does not support you running the race because it is too expensive or takes up to much of your time, then this is not a positive mental motivator to keep you going. You need your friends and family to be there to support you through your training and the big race day.

Deciding to run a marathon is a big decision. Your health, time, and support system should be taken into consideration when deciding if training for a marathon is right for you. Marathons are very challenging endeavors that simply aren't for everyone. Do not be disappointed if you decide running a marathon is not for you, but if you do decide to take on the challenge, the best of luck to you!

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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