Runners can’t resist the lure of an epic marathon. This year, nearly half a million runners across the country will approach a starting line to experience the agony and ecstasy of running’s premiere event. A marathon isn’t just a road race; it’s a chance to discover what it means to be a hero.
The 26.2-mile race can be merciless and unforgiving. As marathon legend Bill Rodgers once said, “The marathon can humble you.”
Before impulsively deciding to tackle a marathon, consider the following questions to determine if you are truly ready. Glory doesn’t come cheap.
Do you have the time to train for a marathon?
You’ll be running 4 to 6 days every week for several months leading up to race day. Your longest training runs may take up to 3 hours to complete. Even post-run rituals of stretching, foam rolling, icing or napping take up significant time. Fitting training into a busy schedule is one of the biggest obstacles for most runners.
Can you give up your late nights?
No more late nights—especially before your weekend long runs. Muscle soreness and general fatigue are normal side effects of marathon training. The best recovery tool is your bed. You’ll need 8 to 9 hours of sleep to stay healthy.
Can you comfortably run 25-30 miles per week?
A good mileage base develops muscle strength, toughens connective tissues and builds aerobic efficiency. Many coaches recommend at least two full years of running before attempting the marathon distance. It’s a good idea to run two or three half marathons, as well. Overuse injuries are common among first-timers, so listen to your body and be prepared to adjust your training plan accordingly.