With the New Year quickly approaching, I know that many of you are thinking about your goals for 2020. And if one of those goals is to run a marathon: good for you! But, I want you to take the time and effort now to make sure you meet that goal without getting hurt.
You see, 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 provider before signing up for a marathon training program. You must also take into account your past medical history. If you’ve had lower extremity stress fractures, heel pain, plantar fasciitis or ankle sprains, then you will need to take carefule precautions to prevent a recurring condition. It’s also a good idea to consult with your podiatrist before selecting a running shoe. You should also consider adding the support of 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 can barely juggle all the activities they already have on their schedule. Training for a marathon is a very time consuming task, especially in the last month. 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!
You need to give yourself a good chunk of time for training, so you can slowly build up endurance; include rest days in your workout plans; keep up with strength training; incorporate stretching into your routines; and, of course, listen to your body and step back if anything doesn’t feel right. Aim for a months-long training period, especially if this is your first race. That way, you won't have to push through pain to reach your goals.
And, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a newbie runner, you need to approach marathon training with caution. Don’t make every run a long run; don’t run every day. Rest is crucial for all runners, especially those of you who are logging long distances.
In addition to building in rest days and mixing short runs with longer ones, it’s important to include weight-bearing exercises and other cardiovascular activities in your training in order to prevent running injuries. People get hurt when they do the same exercise over and over again. That’s because you repeatedly put pressure on the same muscles and bones without allowing any time for healing. Including strength training in your workout regimen helps build up the muscles that support your runs; varying your cardio more evenly distributes the stress impact of exercise, giving muscles extra rest time between runs.
Finding Your Marathon Cheerleaders
The final thing to consider when deciding to run a marathon is 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