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6 things to understand before running a marathon

6 things to understand before running a marathon

Completing a marathon can be something you remember for the rest of your life. Just having that long-term goal could be the boost you need to make a real change in lifestyle habits.

However, every marathon runner in history will tell you that it can't be done by willpower alone. Long-distance running is a wonderful thing, linked to better mental wellbeing and, of course, the physical benefits of regular exercise. But you need to be ready if you want to cross that finish line.

Here are six things to understand before running a marathon.

It's always best to check with a doctor before signing up for a marathon.

1. The state of your health

Running can have a real impact on your joints, particularly the knees. Getting your blood pumping to the extreme may also not be the smartest move for people with heart disease or other conditions that could put your wellbeing at risk. It's always best to check with a doctor before signing up for a marathon.

Should you be given the all-clear, you will need to commit yourself to getting fit - again, for the state of your health. Eric Larose, a cardiologist at the Quebec Foundation for Health Research, said those who aren't fit enough for long-distance running could come across heart problems as a result.

"There is no permanent damage to the heart, but there is some temporary, reversible damage that occurs during the run," he explained, as reported by WebMD. Get a good and honest grasp of your health and you'll have taken the first step towards completing your first marathon.

Make sure your health comes first before and during a marathon.Make sure your health comes first before and during a marathon.

2. How you'll train for the event

Rome wasn't built in a day, and a marathon won't be conquered with little to no training. How much time will you put into getting physically ready for the big day? According to the American Council on Exercise's Todd Galati, it takes three months of training for a half-marathon and about five months before being prepared for the full 42.195 kilometres.

It takes around five months of training before being prepared for the full 42.195 kilometres.

It's best to start at a distance and speed you feel comfortable, and slowly increase this over the months by small increments. Maintain your comfort levels as you do so, and you'll be in a healthy place - no one wants to get injured before the event even starts, after all.

Also, it's imperative to consider your diet. A rocket can't run on diesel, so make sure your healthy eating plan is up to scratch and you have all the vitamins, nutrients and health supplements you need as you begin to train for your marathon.

3. What you'll need on the day

At least a month before the marathon, start shopping for the items you'll need - comfortable shorts, sturdy running shoes, a sports bra and perhaps a water bottle. You should train in this gear for the entirety of your preparation, and don't leave shopping until the last minute to avoid any unnecessary stress.

A new pair of running shoes could put all of your training to the wind as they rub, pinch and squeeze your feet. Be sure to break your trainers in well in advance and you'll have nothing else holding you back.

Your running shoes will make a world of difference.The correct running shoes can make a world of difference.

4. Where break stops are along the route

As U.K. Olympic runner and marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe will tell you, sometimes you just have to take a rest stop. Ms Radcliffe may even be able to run a marathon in a blistering two hours and 15 minutes, but when nature calls, we all have to answer.

It could be a good idea to map out your route and note a few places where you can take a break - whether it's for a rest stop or to take in the scenery. 

5. You'll have to make a real commitment

Training for a marathon is not easy, and will require a real commitment long before the starting pistol fires. Make sure you understand the hours that will go into getting yourself and your body prepared.

It doesn't have to take up all your time, but setting aside the few hours a week you'll need for training and aiming to start and finish as close to that window as you can will help you stick to your goal, without making too many sacrifices.

Training for a marathon takes a lot of commitment.Training for a marathon takes a lot of commitment.

6. How many calories you'll need before the race

There's no substantial way to make energy without first putting fuel into your body, so rejoice - before and after your marathon is the time to eat some calories.

According to Active, a 90-kilogram runner aiming to finish a full marathon in three hours will need approximately 1,100 calories per hour. Make sure your healthy eating plan includes loading your body with slow-release carbs and calories before the race, and plenty of replacement calories afterwards.

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6 things to understand before running a marathon

A marathon is a huge undertaking, though the reward is something you'll treasure for a lifetime. Here are six things to know to help you prepare.

Completing a marathon can be something you remember for the rest of your life. Just having that long-term goal could be the boost you need to make a real change in lifestyle habits.

However, every marathon runner in history will tell you that it can't be done by willpower alone. Long-distance running is a wonderful thing, linked to better mental wellbeing and, of course, the physical benefits of regular exercise. But you need to be ready if you want to cross that finish line.

Here are six things to understand before running a marathon.

It's always best to check with a doctor before signing up for a marathon.

1. The state of your health

Running can have a real impact on your joints, particularly the knees. Getting your blood pumping to the extreme may also not be the smartest move for people with heart disease or other conditions that could put your wellbeing at risk. It's always best to check with a doctor before signing up for a marathon.

Should you be given the all-clear, you will need to commit yourself to getting fit - again, for the state of your health. Eric Larose, a cardiologist at the Quebec Foundation for Health Research, said those who aren't fit enough for long-distance running could come across heart problems as a result.

"There is no permanent damage to the heart, but there is some temporary, reversible damage that occurs during the run," he explained, as reported by WebMD. Get a good and honest grasp of your health and you'll have taken the first step towards completing your first marathon.

Make sure your health comes first before and during a marathon.Make sure your health comes first before and during a marathon.

2. How you'll train for the event

Rome wasn't built in a day, and a marathon won't be conquered with little to no training. How much time will you put into getting physically ready for the big day? According to the American Council on Exercise's Todd Galati, it takes three months of training for a half-marathon and about five months before being prepared for the full 42.195 kilometres.

It takes around five months of training before being prepared for the full 42.195 kilometres.

It's best to start at a distance and speed you feel comfortable, and slowly increase this over the months by small increments. Maintain your comfort levels as you do so, and you'll be in a healthy place - no one wants to get injured before the event even starts, after all.

Also, it's imperative to consider your diet. A rocket can't run on diesel, so make sure your healthy eating plan is up to scratch and you have all the vitamins, nutrients and health supplements you need as you begin to train for your marathon.

3. What you'll need on the day

At least a month before the marathon, start shopping for the items you'll need - comfortable shorts, sturdy running shoes, a sports bra and perhaps a water bottle. You should train in this gear for the entirety of your preparation, and don't leave shopping until the last minute to avoid any unnecessary stress.

A new pair of running shoes could put all of your training to the wind as they rub, pinch and squeeze your feet. Be sure to break your trainers in well in advance and you'll have nothing else holding you back.

Your running shoes will make a world of difference.The correct running shoes can make a world of difference.

4. Where break stops are along the route

As U.K. Olympic runner and marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe will tell you, sometimes you just have to take a rest stop. Ms Radcliffe may even be able to run a marathon in a blistering two hours and 15 minutes, but when nature calls, we all have to answer.

It could be a good idea to map out your route and note a few places where you can take a break - whether it's for a rest stop or to take in the scenery. 

5. You'll have to make a real commitment

Training for a marathon is not easy, and will require a real commitment long before the starting pistol fires. Make sure you understand the hours that will go into getting yourself and your body prepared.

It doesn't have to take up all your time, but setting aside the few hours a week you'll need for training and aiming to start and finish as close to that window as you can will help you stick to your goal, without making too many sacrifices.

Training for a marathon takes a lot of commitment.Training for a marathon takes a lot of commitment.

6. How many calories you'll need before the race

There's no substantial way to make energy without first putting fuel into your body, so rejoice - before and after your marathon is the time to eat some calories.

According to Active, a 90-kilogram runner aiming to finish a full marathon in three hours will need approximately 1,100 calories per hour. Make sure your healthy eating plan includes loading your body with slow-release carbs and calories before the race, and plenty of replacement calories afterwards.

6 things to understand before running a marathon
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