Running Marathons: Understanding the Pros and Cons

Running Marathons: Understanding the Pros and Cons

Training for and running marathon is an endeavor that’ll require both physical and mental fitness. If you thought you’d just go out, get some good running shoes, and take part — we hate to break it to you, but the process leading up to the big moment itself is incredibly complex. However, if you dedicate yourself to it, the whole prep and the marathon itself can be a gratifying experience beneficial for both your body and mind. 

Even if you don’t end up finishing the race, the whole effort is one ample learning opportunity. Stick with us as we explore the advantages and disadvantages of running a marathon. 

Pros of Running Marathons

Did you know that over one million individuals run a marathon every year? Yes, that's right. More than a million runners train for months to participate in one of these events. But why do they do it? What are the benefits of marathon running? Let’s give them a closer look.

  • Better health and fitness levels — We’ll commence with the most important perks. Running is an aerobic activity, meaning you’ll do the cardio you’ve dreaded all these years. The good news is — you’ll be improving your cardiovascular health and keeping your blood pressure levels in check. Moreover, training for a marathon requires you to be in good shape all the time, which can be challenging even for the fittest of athletes. By practicing regularly, you’ll also improve endurance and build strength. 
  • Improved sleeping cycle — Sleep deprivation has become a common ailment for the modern generation. Lucky for you (or unfortunately, depending on how you perceive things), marathon training will drain you of energy, leaving you craving sleep. 
  • Less stress — Speaking of modern-day challenges, stress affects us more often than it should. How we handle those situations will impact our overall well-being, both mental and physical. Certain research indicates that running is one of those activities that help us cope with stress more effectively by strengthening our mental resilience. 
  • New perspective — There is a famous saying in the running marathon community: “The person who starts a marathon is not the same as the person who finishes a marathon.” And granted, you are bound to undergo numerous transformations, both of physical and mental nature. With marathons, there’s no “not training.” You must be diligent, even if you don’t feel like running on a Sunday morning. Once you make it, however, you’ll realize that the hard work was well worth it. 
  • Tight-knit community — Speaking of belonging, you’ll make friends for life. Marathon enthusiasts have an entire subculture going for them. There’s a whole vocabulary you’ll get to master once you join the clique. As a side note, meeting like-minded people to whom you can divulge your troubles or successes while you're training for a marathon is invaluable. 
  • Strong sense of achievement — Yes, running a marathon can be a lifetime feat, but finishing one is an incredible accomplishment. You may have to jump through hoops to get in shape and be able to complete one — yet once you do, you’ll be bursting with pride. Furthermore, many events are for a good cause, so you’ll also be running to support something bigger than you, making the whole endeavor all the more meaningful. 
  • Discovering places and traveling — As you start training, you’ll begin to look for new places to run, so you’ll also get to discover some brand-new spots in your city. Who knows, the next time you run, you might find your new favorite cafe or restaurant. Moreover, those with itchy feet can always visit another city or state and take part in a marathon there. 

Running Marathons: Understanding the Pros and Cons

Cons of Running Marathons

Marathons are a fantastic activity, but they’re not without flaws. Rather than jumping into things, make sure you become familiar with their flaws, too. 

  • Time-consuming — If you’re in a time bind and won’t be able to dedicate a certain number of hours to training, then marathons might not be your cup of tea. This activity will require a commitment on your end. You can’t just decide to run a marathon one day and then do it the next. You’ll need to train a few hours every week to build endurance and ensure you can cross that finish line. 
  • Not suitable for weight loss — If you’re going into this because you want to lose weight above everything, you might want to reconsider your decision. Namely, training for a marathon and training to lose calories simultaneously is not an ideal combination. Your body will need nutritious food to replenish itself following a running session. But if you’re on a specific dietary regime, that might not always be possible. Therefore, it’s best to focus on one objective at a time. 
  • A toll on the body — We don't say we feel like we've just run a marathon when we're tired for no reason. When you run for prolonged periods and over long distances, your body can enter panic mode, disrupting your immune system and leading to muscle inflammation. 
  • Running Marathons: Understanding the Pros and Cons

    Ways to Prevent Injury

    “How to train for a marathon?” is a fundamental question that can make or break your entire experience. If you’re just starting out, make sure to set aside an appropriate amount of time for training (ideally six months or more) before registering for a marathon. The length of a race is crucial, too. Again, if you are a newbie, go for short distances first. 

    Prior to running, consult a health professional for advice — especially if you have a history of injuries or illnesses. They’ll give you the green light if they feel you’re up to the task. Train and keep track of your progress with a smart scale like Eros, which monitors up to 13 body metrics.

    EROS Smart Scale

    EROS Smart Scale

    And when you finally get to run, invest in a good pair of running shoes and keep yourself hydrated. 

    Bottom Line

    There you have it, folks — the good and the bad sides of running a marathon. Weigh both factors before making a decision. If you do choose to go for it, make sure you are well-prepared.  Invite your friends and family to cheer you on, and cross that finish line feeling like the champ you are!