Ask a Doctor: How should a casual runner prepare for a marathon?

Medical doctor with a stethoscope around his neck holding
photo Dr. James Haynes

Q: I am a casual runner, but I think I want to try a marathon. How do I safely work up to a marathon when I normally only run a few miles at a time?

A: The first thing to keep in mind is that it can take you up 24 weeks to safely train for a marathon - safely meaning you do not push yourself to the point of injury. Planning your training is the key to increasing your distance and speed for a 26.2-mile run.

Before you start your training, make an appointment with your primary care provider and tell him/her about your plans.