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Training for the St. Jude Marathon

Man and woman running.

Start training for the St. Jude Marathon.

The St. Jude Marathon is fast approaching on Saturday, December 5. If you’re looking to participate in the marathon, which supports a great cause, we have some suggestions for training over these next few months in advance of the big day.

Importance of Prepping for a Minimum of 12 Weeks

When training for a half or a full marathon you need to at least give yourself 12 weeks to prepare. For those training for a half marathon (more people do half marathons than full), we recommend that people are already able to run a 5k without stopping. They should be able to run three miles without stopping before they start training for a half marathon.

I recommend they do a staggered approach where they increase their mileage each week for at least 12 weeks. At the end of their 12-week program, they will only be running 10 miles instead of the 13.1 miles. They don’t necessarily have to run the full half marathon prior to running in the St. Jude Marathon. They can run 10 miles, and the adrenaline alone will take them into their next three miles at the end of the race. Prior to running, I recommend doing a dynamic warm-up.


Get Fitted for Proper Shoes

When it comes to running the big problem we find coming into our office is people don’t have a good pair of shoes for running. We recommend you get fitted for shoes before you start the training process because good support is essential. A good pair of shoes can last between 400-500 miles. We will be happy to assess your shoes and let you know if it is time for a new pair. Local stores that offer fittings include Breakaway Running and Fleet Feet.

Treadmill vs. Street Running

If you train on a treadmill, I tell people to raise the incline at least 1-2%. Most treadmills are manufactured with a decline. By putting a small incline on it, you’re ensuring that you’re running at least flat or a little bit uphill.

When you’re running outside, sidewalks are made of unforgiving thick slabs of concrete, which means lots of pounding on the body. Another option is running on the street. I find that people who run on the same side of the street or against traffic all the time end up with low back pain, hip pain, knee pain and or ankle pain.

If at all possible I recommend running early in the morning in the middle of the street (on side streets only). By running in the middle of the street at least you know it’s flat. The best and most ideal situation, however, would be running on a path paved specifically for walking or running. Here in East Memphis we have the Greenway and the Greenline.

Advice for First-time Participants

First marathon for you? A first-time participant needs to start slow by walking a minute and running a minute. You want to get to the point where you can run a full mile without stopping and then build on top of that.

It’s important to have chiropractic care because of the amount of tension that running puts on the body itself. You need to make sure your pelvic bones are in proper alignment which allows the lower extremity muscles the opportunity to work with each other. We also want to watch a runner’s gait. For example, if someone is running and they don’t have a good stride with their right leg compared to the left they will have to swing their left arm more to compensate which can result in shoulder pain.

By giving yourself sufficient time to prepare, you can be in great shape to run the St. Jude Marathon and support a terrific cause at the same time!

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