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Is Running a Marathon Right for You?

Is Running a Marathon Right for You?

We’ve all seen the 26.2 stickers on car bumpers – a badge of honor and pride. But is that a good enough reason to run a marathon?

Dr. Andrew Gerken was recently participated in an article, “Just How Unhealthy is Running a Marathon?” While no one disputes, regular exercise can help keep you healthy, and running is certainly a great form of cardiovascular exercise, the question is if distance running, 26.2 miles specifically, going to cause more harm than good?

While the article covers many different possible types of health concerns associated with marathon running, we were more concerned with orthopedic injuries and Dr. Gerken’s view on things.

Dr. Gerken works with many endurance runners and while it may seem like simple advice, he says the key is to listen to your body. "Injury history seems to be the biggest predictor of future issues," says Dr.Gerken, “It makes sense: If you end your runs thinking, "Everything hurts and I'm dying," you're likely pushing too hard, too fast, or too far," Gerken says.

It's also okay not to buy into the hype. Your body may not be built for distance running and marathons and that’s okay. There are plenty of other running milestones or fitness goals you can achieve, to keep yourself motivated and make fitness fun. "A marathon is more than anybody needs for good health," Gerken says. "It's a nice goal, but you need to ask yourself why that's your goal before blindly flying into it."

To read the full article featured on Tonic, “Just How Unhealthy is Running a Marathon?” click here.

About Dr. Andrew Gerken:

dr. andrew gerkenDr. Andrew Gerken is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports injuries involving the foot & ankle. Dr. Gerken was part of the cross country running team at Corona del Mar High School and initially got interested in orthopedics from his own running injury back in high school. Dr. Gerken lives in Newport Beach with his family and still enjoys running, playing tennis and golf in his spare time.