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Dr. Geoffrey Mountvarner: Marathon Training for Beginners

November 16, 2012

Training for your first marathon requires dedication and commitment, but that nearly goes without saying. The training program will span 18 to 24 weeks, and you will face multiple unforeseen obstacles. Without a strong commitment to complete the program, your results on race day will suffer a great deal.

The decision to train for a marathon should take into account your life situation. The most important question to ask is, do you have the time available to adequately prepare for the marathon? As mentioned, a typical marathon training program spans 18 to 24 weeks, with runs occurring four to five times per week. Maintaining a consistent training program is far more beneficial than simply running long distances two or three times per week. The goal of the program is to build muscle endurance to a point that peaks right at race day. Beginners are often surprised that they aren’t required to run 26.2 miles during training and that distances start to progressively taper four weeks before the race.

About the author:
Dr. Geoffrey Mountvarner is committed to increasing patient safety and quality within the Department of Emergency Medicine at Howard University Hospital, where he is the Chief of Emergency Medicine. He is also a marathon and triathlon athlete.


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