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One of the most impressive physical feats of human endurance is the ability to run a marathon (42 kilometres), or even a half-marathon (21 kilometres). The personal challenge and fitness involved require a long-term commitment to training in order to finish these long-distance races.
Marathons and half-marathons are ideal distances for runners wanting a significant physical and mental challenge, with cardiovascular and muscular benefits. The long-term commitment of the longer distances means runners must adhere to a healthy fitness and diet routine.
Besides the physical and mental benefits, these races can also be a reason to travel to interesting locations, with marathons on every continent and with many different themes. Runners can also benefit socially from the bonds of a long-distance running community.
Be prepared. Marathons and half-marathons are intensive physical activities, so runners should be in good medical health and start training early enough to be fit for a long race.
Start with short races. Before running a half-marathon or marathon, runners can test their skills in five or 10-kilometre races.
Consider equipment and hydration. The proper running shoes and clothing, as well as a way to stay hydrated during a race, are essential.
Choose a race wisely. Starting with a hometown marathon or half-marathon can make mental preparation easier, and will allow for a runner to be more familiar with the course and have family and friends cheering them on.
For more tips, see the video How to Train for a Marathon: