Deciding to run a marathon is no small feat. It undoubtedly takes up a lot of courage and stamina to be able to challenge your limits physiologically and psychologically. The marathon demands respect and it's intimidating requirements need vigorous training.
The half-marathon (21 km) is one of the most rapidly growing race distances with different marathon competitions springing up all over the world. You can weigh the pros and cons of running a half-marathon and then make a decision accordingly:
It All Begins With Training
Every marathon participant intends to train to an extent that they are in constant competition with themselves, trying to supersede their last record. Marathon runners can be passionate enough to be “in it to win it” or just participate in it for fun. Self-imposed targets take the training process to a whole new level giving you a sense of direction to work towards.
And once you achieve your target, the feeling of accomplishment is to die for. From breathing techniques through physical workouts and training to mental conditioning workshops, the sky is the limit.
The Challenge is Daunting But Accomplishable
Half-marathons are a feasible option for those who want to maintain a work-life balance and their willingness to run a marathon is not towards the obsession side. The commitment involved doesn't need to dominate your life overwhelmingly and you can do just fine by investing a few hours a week.
Proper marathon training targeted at full marathons may feel like a part-time job. If you want to gauge your resilience and physical aptitude with respect to a full marathon, a half-marathon can do the needful.
Structured Training With Fewer Chances of Injuries
Following a structured training regime is the perk of training for a half-marathon. Trust me; you're going to love it if you like to follow a set schedule. A proper layout for every day of the week is the central concept of training for a half-marathon, be it cross-training, running, or a day off for that matter.
You are bound to feel that you are making progress in the long run. Also, you will be at a lot lower risk of facing common injuries that athletes usually face because the mileage demands are not that exhausting.
Congrats! You're Now a Half-Marathoner!
It's an honour to be included in the list of those who have successfully completed the half-marathon. As the half-marathon races have started to gain popularity, you can sign up for it to have something to boast about. You can even contribute to philanthropic activities happening all over the world under the name of half-marathons. Support cancer-fighting campaigns, give to disaster relief or create awareness for other causes.
On the flip side of the coin, the evident health benefits that running may endow may prove to do more harm than good in the long run. You might be burning a lot of calories, increasing blood flow and oxygen levels throughout your body. However, little do we realise that it might be taking a toll on our bodies from a health perspective. The fact that the first runner to run a marathon, Pheidippides, died before he successfully finished the race is evidence enough.
Are You Running Yourself to Death?
Everything has to be in moderation for it to have the right effect on your body and mind. Two high-profile marathon runners have faced death in fall 2007, one at the Olympic trials in NY and the other in Chicago.
Although we are concerned with half-marathons here, it goes unsaid that pressuring your heart unnecessarily can potentially harm it in ways that may be irreversible. The Canadian Journal of Cardiology posted a study which said majority of the runners under study suffered from functioning difficulty in the right and left ventricle, post 48 hours of the Quebec City Marathon.
A Marathon Isn't a Surefire Way to Lose Weight
Running a marathon surely does build up your stamina and is a very good alternative for toning down and fulfilling your long-term desire to achieve your fitness goals. However, it's easier said than done. You can be inspired by marathon runners to gear yourself up for weight-loss but it isn't always the best choice.
You need to learn to train for your body type, and just going overboard wouldn't serve the purpose entirely. A well thought out diet-plan coupled with just the right amount of exercise that your body needs and can tolerate is the secret to that perfect hourglass body.
The benefits of regular, vigorous exercise are undoubtedly tried, tested and proven and the above certainly does not entail that running puts you at the high end of risk but it certainly calls for moderation.
I know I sound a bit reluctant to running miles but that's what reality is and we need to be aware of all the repercussions that might occur. Nobody is stopping you from starting this venture; I say this because it will take a toll on your mind and body so make yourself fully prepared for this life-changing experience.
I'm sure there might be several questions creeping into your mind such as: What kind of shoes should be worn? Should I run the day before a half-marathon? Should I eat before a half-marathon? How to predict half-marathon time? Am I allowed to walk during a half-marathon? How to treat discomfort during training? Well, we'll leave them for the comments section. After all, we're here to help!