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It Takes Time

Want to cross the finish line in the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon?
Just keep in mind that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Thousands of people are hitting the gym to train for events in the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, but not every workout is a good workout. Stephanie Barker with Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center says there are some very common mistakes which can keep you from getting the most out of your exercise, or even increase your risk of injury. “The biggest mistake is overdoing it,” Barker says. “Too much, too soon.” 

Barker says the members of Covenant Health’s marathon team are being encouraged to focus on a slow but steady progression. “We’ve talked about the five to ten percent rule – not to increase mileage more than five to ten percent from one week to the next,” she says. The same holds true for everything at the gym, from weight training to fitness classes. Aim for slow and steady progress, instead of a quick fix. “Unrealistic goals or an all or nothing approach can be very discouraging,” Barker says. “Set small, attainable goals, and reward yourself for reaching them.”

Allow yourself grace for the occasional missed workout, and remember that a little bit is better than nothing. “If you can’t get to a one-hour fitness class but you can spend 20 minutes on a stationary bike, go for it!” Barker says. “Be kind to yourself by taking time to warm up, cool down, and stretch,” Barker continues. “Failure to do that may lead to injury, fatigue, and soreness.” 

The physical ramifications of going too hard and fast with training are only part of the potential problem. When you get hurt or become unnecessarily exhausted, it can cause you to become discouraged, and less likely to stick with your training plan. Other tips from Barker include taking the time to learn how to execute moves properly and effectively (by asking a trained fitness professional), remove distractions (like your phone, for example) to focus on your workout, add variety to your workout to keep your muscles guessing and keep your mind engaged, and don’t be afraid to try something new.  “Try POUND or Barre,” Barker suggests, “or kickboxing!”

 To register or to learn more about the marathon, visit To learn more about Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center, its fitness instructors, classes, and amenities, visit