For many leisure and amateur runners, the marathon is a big goal. However, you should prepare to participate in this run over 42.195 km very well, as these are an extreme burden on the body. Read in a short series how best to approach training.
Running training has many positive effects. Those who walk regularly actively support their health and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular problems or type 2 diabetes. In our modern society the challenges are missing and movement has become rare in everyday life. Running can reduce the stress of everyday life and thus offers mental support in addition to the medical-preventive character. Participating in a marathon can be an interesting way to become aware of what your body can do. But here lies a hidden problem of running. Beginners and recreational runners often underestimate the preparation required for such a long run. Overloads and injuries can be the result. Marathon running is not dangerous if you are fully and long-term prepared for your goal.1
Running can also be harmful to health, history teaches us. After the messenger Pheidippides brought the news of the victory over the Persians from the battlefield at Marathon in Athens, he collapsed and died because of the heavy exhaustion. Even today, the big marathons fascinate the masses. Every year many newcomers take on the challenge of long runs. However, participation can also be a real challenge. This is mainly because regular training is essential on a large scale.
Endurance is rewarded late!
Beginners are advised to train patiently until the first start and not to participate too early in a marathon. You need to train regularly for at least 15-18 months before you should aim for your first marathon start. Beginners often try to create the marathon distance after a short time1. However, there is then the risk of health damage, which is due to the fact that the musculoskeletal system is exposed by running on asphalt very high loads. Injuries to the musculoskeletal system, such as fatigue fractures, but also inflammatory processes could then ruin the fun for a very long time2. For you as an athlete, however, the long training can be worthwhile. Studies show that marathon end times are not different for athletes aged 20-55 years3. This means that both young and old runners have good to very good times - or less good times. Your age does not decide on the end times and therefore not on the performance! Running seems to keep you young. Even with a critical view of the study, positive effects of long-distance walking on age can be deduced from the study results.3
Marathon - train the body, but avoid overloads
Marathon - create the training plan properly
1 Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 2002, Vol. 12 (1), p. 18-23
2 Kleinman, D. (2006). Running side effects. Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag: Cologne.
3 Intern Journal Sports Med, 2009, Vol. 30 (5), pp. 360-365.