Can I run a marathon?

The simple answer is YES, provided you meet some criteria first. The following is rough guide as to what to have cognition of and how to approach a marathon. For people who have never run before it is important you get a check-up from your doctor, this will or should include a treadmill heart test (no matter what age you are, many young people have heart conditions they never knew they had) a full blood count and a general check-up.

It is advisable to see a good sports physio so they can ascertain any weakness that may rear their head before you start. In inexperienced runners we see a lot of problems such as weak glut med, lower lumber pain and hip flexor issues that can cause extreme pain when you start to run seriously.

Getting the basics right first and by getting strong in the right places will ensure you have a pain free adventure. Having strong gluts, abdominals and core is your first starting point. Having the right firing patterns is essential. Get a good trainer who can advise on some glut med, core and abdominal work.

The physio will check hip flexors and if you are like most people these will be tight and will need stretching regularly. After all this it is a good idea to commence an endurance phase of weight training using such exercises as lunges for your legs, and glut med exercises like, Side-lying hip abduction, Single limb squat Lateral band walk, Single-limb deadlift, before moving into a hypertrophy program.

Do these for at least 6 months before you start running. When you do start running beginners may want to walk before they pick up the pace. As you continue start with small runs of 2km, 5 km, and 10km fun runs as you build. A good marathon training base is 24km-32km per week for a few months before you start training for a marathon.

Your body needs time to adapt to the pounding that it will be taking during the training. Make sure you’re running on the road and not on the treadmill for 100% of the time because your body makes different adaptations for road running. When building your base, try to run at least 1/3 (more is better) of your km on pavement, as that’s likely what you’ll be doing when running during the marathon. As you progress plan to run or exercise at least 4-5 days a week and one of those days will involve hours of running when you are near the peak of your training. If you train well, rest, and slowly increase the km you will have a better chance of completing your goal with no permanent injury. Allow at least 12-18 months for training. Everyone is at a different level of fitness and capability. Get a trainer who knows running and has a sensible approach to the task. Avoid the crazy trainers (screamers) and those who tend to push you beyond your current capability. You must eat well and avoid alcohol and enjoy a balanced diet high in carbohydrates. You food intake will increase as you place demands on your body and energy levels. Good Luck.

By: John Hart

Master’s In Education” (Disability/Rehab)Newcastle University Australia

“Grad Cert Education”Newcastle University” Australia

“Diploma Fitness/Recreation”

“Diploma of Sport and Recreation”

“Cert 4 Personal Training”

“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”

Member of ASCA (Australian Strength and Conditioning Association)

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