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Marathon Training for the Morbidly Obese

by
author image Sara Ipatenco
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.
Marathon Training for the Morbidly Obese
Marathon Training for the Morbidly Obese Photo Credit blyjak/iStock/Getty Images

When you are severely overweight, usually by at least 100 pounds, you are considered to be morbidly obese. If you are morbidly obese, you are at a higher risk for heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. You may also have a more difficult time being active. If you would like to run a marathon, you must first analyze the quality of your health. Take steps to make improvements so you are able to train and complete your chosen marathon.

Morbid Obesity

Your body mass index measures your total body fat composition. A normal body mass index falls between 18.5 and 24.9. When your body mass index climbs over 40, you are considered morbidly obese. Morbid obesity is caused by a combination of genetics, hormone activity and eating habits both as a child and as an adult. Because morbid obesity comes with such a high health risk, losing weight may decrease your risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Decrease how many calories you consume each day and increase how much exercise you get to begin burning calories to help you shed excess pounds.

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Marathon Training

When you run a marathon, you will run a distance of 26 miles and 385 yards. To complete such a long distance, you will need to train ahead of time to increase your endurance and improve your physical fitness. Hal Higdon, author of, "Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide," recommends training for 18 weeks leading up to your chosen marathon. The most important part of training for a marathon is to run. You will run on a daily basis, striving to improve your time and increase your distance as you gradually build your strength and endurance. Over the course of your training, your muscles and lungs will become stronger so you have the ability to run the entire marathon without tiring or injuring yourself.

Recommendations

If you are morbidly obese, you will likely need to lose weight before attempting to run a marathon. Training can help you shed pounds, but you may need to improve your physical fitness before beginning a training program. The National Institutes of Health recommends that you start small and gradually work up to longer and more intense workouts. Start with walking or swimming for 30 minutes, three times per week. Work up to 45 minutes, five times per week. Over time, you can burn more calories by riding your bike, jogging or jumping rope. Once you have lost weight and improved your physical endurance, start by running short distances. Gradually increase how long and how fast you run. You may need to train longer than those who are not morbidly obese, but with dedication and regular running, you are more likely to complete your chosen marathon.

Considerations

Do not begin any workout or marathon training program without consulting your doctor first. Because you are morbidly obese, you are at a greater risk for injury. Your doctor can recommend appropriate techniques to begin your marathon training safely. Set realistic goals regarding when you will run your chosen marathon, to help encourage you to stick to your plan. Short-term goals will help keep you motivated and excited about improving your physical fitness so you can cross the finish line. You may still be able to run a marathon while you are obese or overweight, but you must train first no matter how much you weigh, to prepare your body for the exertion and to help prevent injury.

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