Q: How can I tell if I’m in good enough shape to start training for a half marathon?
A: First, if you aren’t currently active, or if you haven’t had a physical in a year, visit your primary care physician to get permission to start an exercise program, recommends Vonda Wright, MD, orthopaedic surgeon, director of the Performance and Research Initiative for Masters Athletes (PRIMA) at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and author of Fitness After 40. Once you’ve been cleared, lace up your sneakers: If you can walk for at least 30 to 45 minutes (approximately three miles) without stopping, you should be able to safely train for a half marathon in 12 weeks (for Wright’s beginner-friendly training guide, click here). Not there yet? That’s ok. Take the next 3 months to build a fitness base by gradually increasing the time, distance, and speed you walk. This is the safest way to get active without risking injury or compromising your cardiovascular system.
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