I find myself saying quite often “If I can run a marathon, I can do anything”. Does running a marathon take some kind of extraordinary physical ability? No, it does not. Running a marathon is not really a physical accomplishment but rather a mental one.
You can train your body to do anything, but training your mind is the true challenge. You will come up with a million excuses as to why you can’t accomplish any given task. The moment that you say “YES I CAN” is the moment that you set yourself free.
What you really need to run a marathon:
- A can do attitude
- A good pair of well broken in running shoes
- A decent running watch
- A comfortable outfit
- A nutrition plan that works for you
I’m not saying that running a marathon is easy, if it were easy then everyone would do it. What I’m saying is that it’s not this impossible feat that our minds make it out to be. There are athletes out there running ultramarathons! Running a marathon is as simple as making a plan and executing it.
The first thing I advise is to know your zones. Marathon runners spend most of their time in zone 2. It’s a comfortable pace that can be sustained for hours on end. The next thing to know is that a good nutrition plan is a must. Runners that hit the dreaded wall at mile 18 are suffering, not because they’re bad at running, but because they didn’t take in enough fuel.
Over the course of your 20 week training plan, you will experiment to see what foods work for you and when to consume them. You will have a dress rehearsal during your longer runs to make sure that your clothes are comfortable. A tag that rubs you the wrong way could be the end of you on race day. There are many different apps offering 20 week training plans, just choose one. Having a coach is the best but you don’t need one to get to the finish line.
You must train no matter what. Marathon runners are like members of the coast guard, always ready. We must run in inclement weather to prepare ourselves for whatever it is that we may face on race day. We all imagine that race day is going to be fifty degrees fahrenheit with mostly cloudy conditions and maybe a bit of drizzle but that may not be the case. I ran my first marathon in the pouring rain with heavy wind gusts but I was prepared for it. My second marathon was unseasonably warm and humid but, although it was winter, I was prepared. The secret to running in the heat is to keep your body cool. If they hand out ice, hold it in your hands. Holding ice in your hands will cool your body down. Talk to an aging runner, they can teach you all kinds of secrets that could help you on race day.
On race day there are so many things going on. It can be overwhelming. The excitement can affect your sleep and elevate your heart rate. That’s okay, just remember your training. Your mind will run just as much as your body. You will psych yourself out repeatedly over the course of your longest run ever. Make mini goals along the way until you reach the ultimate goal of reaching the finish line.
What is your why? I’m not saying that I had a rough childhood but it was filled with people telling me that I couldn’t do things. For me, my why was proving to myself that I can accomplish anything. It was a way to show everyone that never believed in me that I’m stronger than they ever gave me credit for. I ran the second marathon to prove to myself that the first time wasn’t a fluke. Now, I just really enjoy the journey of marathon running. I love the overwhelmingly emotional feeling at the finish line. I love each and every training mile, even the ones that feel like a swift kick in the ass. When I hit the bottom, there’s nowhere else to go but up!
I am taking 2023 off of marathon running to focus on other things but look for me on the course in 2024!
You only get this one life. If it all ended tomorrow, would you be happy with the way things went? If the answer is no then it’s time to make some changes… If you can dream it, you can do it!