Why it’s Not Crazy to Run a Marathon

By Stephanie Teskers

Studies show that marathon running isn’t about weight loss because it’s comparable to a crash diet, which typically has disheartening results. Training for a marathon could initiate a lifelong habit of engaging in regular exercise, though there are no statistics as yet to prove that it does. So why do people pursue marathon running, and what are the benefits?

Running is a real calorie-burner. Since the principle behind losing body fat is to burn more calories than one consumes, running is an efficient choice of exercise. A runner typically burns off approximately 500 calories in less than one hour.

Besides improving the appearance of your body by burning off fat, running is a great exercise for heart health. Blood pressure is lowered and the arteries are much better at maintaining their elasticity in a person who runs regularly.

Running, especially on trails, requires a certain amount of coordination. Even when running on pavement, the body is trained to move more fluidly. Therefore, improved coordination is another benefit of training for a marathon.

The bones of a runner grow and become stronger because it’s the body’s natural response to greater physical demands. A sedentary lifestyle, in contrast, weakens bones. So by running, osteoporosis is less of a threat in later years.

Many individuals report that they’re happier and feel less stressed once they’ve started running in preparation for a marathon. This makes sense because endorphins in the body are released when a person is running. Endorphins are hormones that create a sense of euphoria. Running also creates a sense of satisfaction, which offsets feelings of stress.

Many people find that running a marathon is a feat that pushes them far beyond their usual limits. Competing in a marathon produces the same kind of pride in accomplishment as, for instance, climbing Mt. Everest. After all, because a marathon is so difficult to achieve, everyone who completes a marathon race is a winner. In a way, running a marathon is an adventure in conquering ourselves.

About the author:  Stephanie Teskers is a runner, writer, and proudly states that she is the mother of the greatest kids ever. 

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MarathonTraining.com was one of the premier online resources for marathon training information, run from it's inception by author and coach Art Liberman. Now the MarathonTraining.com archives exist on Marathon Handbook, for future generations of runners to enjoy and learn from!

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