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Running For the Finish Line

Posted by C.L. R.

So, supposedly, if you can run 30 minutes without stopping you should be able to train for a marathon. This is what I had read, so I talked to a friend of mine who had run in a couple marathons. She was a little too yeah! yeah! it's so easy, for my taste so I then decided to throw my questions at another friend of mine. This girl is extremely obese but just ran her first marathon - and her answers were way more my style. She gave me candid thoughts like 'running the marathon was the hardest thing I've ever done - I thought I was going to die!' Hearing her sentiments as opposed to the friend who made it sound so easy made me feel like there was some hope. Because, come on. Who really sits there and thinks that running a marathon should be easy? Some people do, given. But most of us are just regular Joe's who dabble in some form of exercise here or there but are not athletes. But according to the facts (and my heavy friend), if you can run thirty minutes without stopping, you can train to run a marathon. There are all sorts of formulas available but one thing is clear - if you are going to train to run for a marathon, you should check in with your doctor just to be certain running those 26 miles won't kill ya. (It shouldn't if you train properly, but hey - better safe than dead, right?) As for the training formulas, I found several programs that coach you with a specific running schedule. You put in your time frame you have to train (9 weeks, 12, 16) and they give you a list of how much you should run to prepare your body. For example, a sequence I found online instructed me to run 5 miles the first day, 4 the next and 3 the remaining days. The numbers changed over the 16 weeks, but seemed carefully formulated to be certain my body could handle it. I also kept hearing over and over again that running is more mental than physical and if you put your mind to it, it's not a big deal. ((I would disagree, as running too much has made me throw up in the past. And who really thinks they want to throw up?)). It was pretty easy to keep up the pace for the first couple weeks. But it's gotten hard. I have to eat more, eat right, make sure I'm drinking enough water and replenishing my fluids. I honestly don't know if I'll actually get to 26 miles ever in my life - but for now, I'm excited that it's always a possibility to try.
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I think that if a person starts to train for a marathon after they've been able to run for 30 minutes, they are asking for a disaster -- either an injury or they give up. Most marathon plans that I've seen assume you are running about 25 miles per week and are doing a long run of 6 miles when you start training. Even though those plans will help you finish the marathon distance, they don't even come close to getting your body used to the stress of the marathon distance. Your friend commented that her marathon was the hardest thing she had ever done and that she thought she was going to die because she wasn't trained to handle the stress of the marathon. When you think about doing a marathon, don't think miles, think stress on your body. How long do you need to train and how far should your long runs be so your body can handle the stress of a marathon?


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