By Marnie Caron
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Additional resources for Marathon and Half-Marathon: The Beginner's Guide
Cold muscles work less efficiently and are more easily injured. They lack the flow of blood necessary to do the work. Your warm-up should include some kind of general body movement designed to get the blood flowing. After about 10 minutes of moving your arms, legs, and trunk continuously, you can proceed to some gentle stretching, and the emphasis here is on gentle. Wendy Epp, a sport physiotherapist and competitive runner and triathlete, points out that research shows you’re more likely to pull a cold muscle by stretching too vigorously than by actually starting right into jogging.
Sport medicine physician Dr. Jack Taunton, of the University of British Columbia’s Allan McGavin Sport Medicine Centre in Vancouver, recommends that people run regularly for at least a year before training for a half or full marathon. He does recognize that an increasing number of athletes use the half or full marathon as motivation to start a regular exercise program. Understanding that this is a growing phenomenon, we have created a gradual and progressive walk/run program to get you off the couch and to the finish line in 26 weeks.
These are just some of the changes that affect the aging population’s ability to enjoy sports. However, if you’re over 40 and think you’re too old to consider training for a distance event, please think again. As most of us know by now, the health benefits associated with running are far reaching. Not only is running great for our physical health, it also does wonders for our mental health. In other words: running keeps us young both physically and mentally. Dr. Bryan Barootes, a sport medicine physician based in Louisiana, says the benefits of distance running or any regular exercise program for beginners over the age of 50 is immense.