Wednesday, Jun 19th

How Can I Train for a Marathon as a Beginner?

marathonIf your goal is to run a marathon, you're in good company. Distance running has grown significantly in popularity over the last several decades, with more than 50,000 runners completing the TCS New York City Marathon in 2023. While running is a great exercise option with many health benefits, as with any new exercise plan, it is best to consult with your physician to discuss any underlying health conditions before you begin.

With a few precautions, you can prevent common running injuries and make the most of your training. The most important part of a running program for injury prevention is a proper warmup and cool down. A 5 to 10-minute “dynamic warmup,” such as walking lunges, high-stepping, or arm circles, will get your blood flowing and warm up your muscles in motion more effectively than simple stretching.

There are a variety of resources online with customized training plans based on your experience level, with a typical training timeframe of 16 WPHospitalJan2024weeks for beginners. I recommend starting small with running just one mile, walking part of the way if you need to. Take the next day off and see how you feel.

It is normal to experience discomfort during and after running, but it is important to recognize the difference between “good pain,” such as muscle aches, and “bad pain,” which might indicate an injured tendon or inflammation of the tendon from overtraining. If you experience sharp pain around your hip, ankle or knee during every step, pinching pain or the sensation of buckling or instability, pause your training regimen and see an orthopedist.

For overall conditioning and to avoid muscle strains, add two strength training sessions per week to your routine on days when you aren’t running. Try body weight exercises with resistance bands, push-ups, crunches, lunges, or calf raises. Remember to incorporate at least two rest days into your routine each week to allow your body time to recover.

StevenAndelmanDr. Steven AndelmanAim to increase the intensity of your training by no more than 10% each week to build your endurance as you approach race day. “Slow and steady” is truly a winning mantra.

Dr. Steven Andelman is an orthopedic surgeon at White Plains Hospital Physician Associates who specializes in adult and pediatric sports medicine. For an appointment, call 914-849-7897.

Health Matters
The original version of this article was published in Health Matters, a White Plains Hospital publication.

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