Running the Long Distance of a Marathon or Half Marathon

We all have run the pseudo marathon held at our schools on the annual sports meet. It is real fun running around the school field with your friends, laughing and joking, and those few kilometers do not even tire you. But then have we ever thought what exactly a marathon is?

The definition of marathon states that it is a long distance running event with the set official distance of 42.195 kilometers (26 miles and 385 yards). This race is run as a road race, which means it is run on a set course of road rather than tracks or fields.

The history of marathon is very interesting. The name and the event, as the legend states, are in commemoration of the fabled Greek messenger, Pheidippides, who ran all the way from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated. Though there are still doubts over the authenticity of this running event, the name has stuck.

When the modern Olympics were reinstated in the 19th century, the organizers were looking for an event which would compliment the ancient glory of Greece and also become popular. The marathon was the ace they were looking and the first ever modern Olympics in 1896 featured it for the first time. Since then, the marathon has become one of the major event at the Olympics.

An offshoot of this running event is the half marathon. The distance of half marathon is 21.97 kilometers, half of the distance of a marathon. Recent studies have shown that participation in half marathon has been increasing steadily. It is one of the fastest growing sporting events in the US. The major reason for this is that a half marathon provides a challenging long distance to run, yet it is not as demanding in terms of physical fitness and training requirements. Also most people tend to run a half marathon before running the full one to mentally and physically prepare their bodies.

For people desirous of running a marathon, it is advisable to start by running a half marathon. Training correctly for this is very important. You should build his stamina and endurance slowly and gradually. A disciplined regime is required including a balanced allocation of time to both training and rest.

Ideally, the training should start at least three months before running the half marathon. Four days of long distance running and three days of total rest in a week is the ideal routine. Also, the intensity of training should decrease gradually in the last couple of weeks before the race so as to allow the body to recover from all the stress, because an overworked body will be more prone to injuries. And it’s just as important to consume a healthy diet and keep your body hydrated before, during and after the race.

One must respect the body and its limitations, so plan accordingly. Plan well so you can go ahead and run the long distance to finish that race!!!!

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