I hope you didn't think we were trying to discourage you from trying to run a marathon in the other thread because I don't think that was our intent at all. Like Dan Q, we all thought that if you TRAINED PROPERLY, you could do it, particularly since you said you were in good shape from doing other activities. But you said you didn't run long distances and in answer to your question as to whether that would set you back in training to RUN a marathon, the answer is most definitely YES, for obvious reasons. But as I said, with your background you could probably get into running long distances much easier than someone who didnt workout at all. Why do I even have a question about that?
Because I know MANY who are in great shape from doing other activities who find running long distances to be very difficult (Im a fitness instructor and a running coach). Some find it plain boring to run for hours every week and dont have the patience for it. Many find running to be too repetitive or high impact and they start seeing signs of tendonitis, stress fractures or other overuse types of injuries within a few weeks when they start running regularly. Often the problem is simply that, being in good shape, they jump into a new activity (running) too quickly and overdo things. If theyd had gone slower, conditioned their body (joints, in particular) and built a good running foundation, theyd have been much less likely to have gotten injured or quit. Genetics and biomechanics will also play a major role in determining whether a person is suited for running long distances.
But the good news is that you dont have to RUN 26.2 miles in order to complete a marathon. Thousands who dont have a strong running background, train to walk, walk/run or run/walk their first marathon. This type of marathon training (see www.jeffgalloway.com, for example) is significantly less demanding on ones time and body, and very popular with first-time marathoners, even those who are not in shape to begin with. As long as you go 26.2 miles within the allotted time, which is usually 6-8 hours depending on the race, you will get the same medal, the same finishers shirt, etc. Im sure youve seen countless folks who dont look at all look like traditional marathoners crossing finish lines, elated to have met their goal to finish a marathon. You could be one of them too. Focus on going the distance, not on running every step of the way (in fact, the key is NOT to with these programs), and Id say training to finish a marathon this way is something you could begin doing right away.
Any decent program that trains you to run a marathon (as in walk only if you have to), however, will say you should have a good running base before beginning the program, which is what we suggested in the other thread. If you think about it, its really common sense. Hal Higdon has a 12-week pre-marathon training that he recommends before beginning his 18 week novice marathon training program (see www.halhigdon.com) for those who dont have running backgrounds so they can begin week one of the real marathon training program with some chance of success (Higdons words, since theres never a guarantee that a training program will work for everyone). I think with your background, Higdons pre-training and novice training program would be a good choice if you wanted to do more than just finish a marathon.
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