Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone, but that does not mean it’s for everyone. The amount of work involved in training and completing a marathon requires people to drastically alter their daily habits. While some of these changes will be beneficial, there are a few reasons to proceed with caution. Whether it’s a bucket list item or a goal to prove your dedication to your health, running a marathon comes with a few negatives that should definitely be considered.

Lifestyle Change 

The most common reason that people choose to run marathons are to set a goal for a new level of personal fitness. This is admirable and totally recommendable, but the lifestyle change that accompanies training for a marathon can be a drastic switch from the norm. If you are going to run a marathon, you should ease into the switch to a runner’s lifestyle. Instead of diving in headfirst, make small changes to wean your habits towards daily running, balanced dieting and calorie intake, and overall time commitments to exercise.

Demanding Training Regiments

Training is the most important part of running a marathon. This is the part where your body becomes a lean, mean running machine. Again, this noble intention can quickly lead you astray. The amount of time it takes to get into running shape will be determined by your current level of fitness. If you are starting from scratch, there will be a significant strain on your body as you build muscle and endurance. This expense of energy can make greater demands on you, forcing you to sacrifice effort in other fields of your life. Making time for running can make it harder to spend time on your work and with your family. The best way to counter this is to set realistic training goals and give yourself enough time to be prepared. Planning a year or two in advance is reasonable for such a challenging physical goal.

Joint Health

Running is a high impact form of exercise. Pounding the pavement or racing track can put significant strain on the joints in your ankles, knees, and hips. Especially for older runners, there is the potential of causing serious damage to your ligaments and cartilage. Consult with a doctor before training to make sure there are no concerns about your physical health. Invest in some good shoes or running inserts to provide the maximum cushion for your legs.

Unrealistic Expectations

Running a marathon is often romanticized as one of the best ways to prove your physical endurance. While this is true, it does not necessarily make you a healthier person to have a marathon under your belt. Take a good long look at your motivations for running such a huge race and decide whether they are truly in line with your overall priorities. Daily exercise is just as important, if not more so, than completing such a difficult challenge. After you run the marathon, you will still have to exercise every day to keep yourself in shape, so consider the value of consistency over eventfulness.