Could Basketball Be Good Cross-training for Marathon Training? Experts Weigh In

As far as fitness and working out goes, basketball has always been my first love.

photo credit: Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina - Wikimedia Commons

photo credit: Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina – Wikimedia Commons

From playing until after dark as a kid, to playing pickup games nearly every day in college, I loved playing the game. When I decided to run my first half marathon in 2009, I was still playing basketball with c0-workers two to three times a week. At the time, I felt like basketball would be a good compliment to my running.

As I looked into half marathon training programs, I ended up settling on Hal Higdon’s novice program. As I dug deeper into Hal’s site and forums, I discovered that he wasn’t a big fan of mixing basketball and half marathon training. “It’s not a matter of if you get injured, it’s a matter of when” was Hal’s was clear warning on the subject.
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The Secret of A Three Mile Run

There is a secret about training to finish a marathon that no one really tells you.

Even though it’s hiding in plain sight behind a simple Google search, for the most part no one comes right out and says it.

I’m going to do you a solid and spell it out for you:

If you can run three miles, you can train to finish a marathon. 

If you Google ‘marathon training for beginners’ or ‘first time marathoner’, you’ll find a ton of really good training programs to sift through. As you click-through all the first-time marathon plans, you’ll probably notice two things. The first thing is that all of them offer up a disclaimer of sorts telling you to spend at least a few weeks working up to the first week’s training distances. The second thing you’ll likely notice is that most of the first couple of weeks in these plans include several three mile runs.

Essentially what they’re telling you is that before you graduate to training to finish a marathon, you should be able to run three miles with ease.
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3 Simple Tweaks That Can Make This Weekend’s Long Run Easier


I first got the idea for this post a few months ago as I was walking through the GEICO corporate offices for my weekly Toastmasters meeting and saw this sign:


I’m not sure if the HR rep who walks me to my meetings was pulling my leg (I’m not a GEICO employee and can’t be in the building without an escort), but according to her those signs were fastened to almost every common area door in that building to prevent people from running into each other or worse – bonking people on the other side of the door in the face.
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What Toddlers Can Teach Us About Becoming Runners



If the contents of this post don’t motivate you to run, imagining these babies in your kitchen, calling your name should do the trick.

If you’re thinking of taking up running and are apprehensive for any number of reasons, I have good news you for you.

You’ve already started.

No, you haven’t been running in your sleep and no you haven’t developed a case of running amnesia. You’ve already accomplished one of the most basic and fundamental foundations to being a runner – you learned to walk.

While I may have written the first part of this post with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, there is more than a kernel of truth to all of this. When you were a kid scooting around on all fours, you were bound and determined to walk. You weren’t going to let anything stop you, and one day you did it.  There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle in a toddler learning to walk, but for all intents and purposes, that was the first major goal you accomplished. Here is a quick look at how you did it.
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