To the average person, running a marathon's full 26.2 miles may seem like an impossible task. However, according to Dr. Douglas Tumen, a running coach and podiatrist at HealthAlliance Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, all that's needed is good health, the right plan and a little bit of determination.
Tumen, along with Dr. Amy Gutman, the medical director of the Emergency Department at HealthAlliance Hospital's Broadway Campus, shared tips below on training safely for a full or half marathon:
Build A Good Foundation
First, carefully consider how you would start. “You can’t just buy a new pair of shoes and train,” said Tumen. “You have to ‘build a base,’ and that takes awhile.” He recommended beginning to run three to four times a week, for a minimum of four weeks, before even thinking about training for an event.
Respect Your Body
Proper nutrition, hydration and rest can all play an important part in helping our bodies adapt to running. Cross-training in another sport, such as swimming, is important, too. Gutman advised runners to be cautious of heat-related illnesses, even on the coolest days. “You can get heat stroke on a very mild day,” she said. Also, she advised being very careful to remain well hydrated, as dehydration can bring on dangerous heart arrhythmias.
Increase Distance Gradually
Once you’re comfortable running three to four miles, increase the distance of your longest weekly run by no more than 10 percent per week, allowing yourself at least 12 to 16 weeks to train for a half-marathon. When Tumen taught marathon-training classes, he also recommended a training partner, to help runners commit to a schedule. Keeping a mileage log is critical.
To learn more about how to properly prepare for a race of any length, click here via Advancing Care in the Hudson Valley.