If I can run a marathon, anyone can.
By Kate Trahan
I have never been a runner and I never even liked running until I got to college. Running is not a part of my genetic make up nor am I naturally built to run, yet at the ripe age of 21 I scratched “finish a marathon” off of my bucket list.
My time was not impressive (the term “at least you finished” was used a lot in response to my time) I still crossed that finish line and got a big, heavy medal and a t-shirt that says Missoula Marathon that I break out to let people know what’s up.
My point is anyone can run a marathon and here is how:
- Pick A Marathon.
Literally go to http://www.marathonguide.com/races/races.cfm because it lists every marathon you could imagine. (There is one that is called the “Old Farts Running Club Fallsburg Marathon” in Lowell, Michigan this year on August 6th if anyone is interested.)
Anyway, my point is that you need to pick a marathon that works with your time and location. Also you will want to select a marathon that is as at least four or five months out just depending on how long you want to train and prepare.
Once you select a marathon, SIGN UP! This makes your goal real and gives you a target to shoot for.
- Set a Training Schedule
Hal Higdon training program has a good variation of training options: http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51135/Marathon-Training-Guide
You can click on any training plan from Novice to Senior depending on how you think you rank. I picked a beginner level and it worked well and having a calendar helps you stay motivate.
However, I do have some advice in addition to the advice of Hal Higdon and that is to run at least four days a week but then add in some other exercises whether that be long walks, bikes, swimming, pick up basketball or whatever. I say this because running every day especially if you don’t have a lot of experience can really wear you out and can make running a dread as opposed to something fun.
- Get Good Shoes
Get yourself a good pair of shoes. Running shoes can be expensive but you are about to log a lot of miles so its worth the cost. Shoes that are too worn down can cause injury so if you think your current shoes have seen better days, a new pair is not a bad idea.
- Start Running (Duh)
Kick your training schedule into gear. Plan running into your daily schedule and just hit the pavement.
- Keep Your Mind Busy
Runners are weird. Some runners who can just run with their own thoughts are a unique specimen and represent only a very small percentage of the population.But if you can do that then great.
If you do not fall into this category, put together a playlist of music you like or that motivates you. Another great trick is to listen to Audiobooks/Podcasts (I have started listening to Serial when I run and I honestly spend so much time thinking about the story that I forget how bad my lungs are burning)
- Change Your Scenery.
Running can get old pretty quick so make it exciting for yourself by changing your scenery and trying to run in new places.
If you have a route that you like, then try running that route in reverse so that the beginning of your route becomes the end to trick your mind to think it’s a new route.
You can also change up the time of day that you run just to mix it up.
Make sure you take days off! If you do not take days off you will get injured or burnt out.
- Drink the ocean and watch your fuel.
Running this much everyday burns so many calories and causes dehydration. I didn’t change my diet too much but I definitely tried to eat three meals with snacks in between and carried my water bottle everywhere.
During the last stages of your training and your marathon you will be running so much that you will have to fuel WHILE you are running. I bought a nifty fanny pack that holds a water bottle and has pouches to stash gel packs and gummy bears for the fifteen plus milers.
- Do it
The night before makes sure to drink a lot of water, eat a good meal and get a good night sleep.
Have your playlists and music figured out before hand.
Buy Vaseline or anti-rub because chaffing is a very real and unfortunate side effect of running long distances.
- Own it
Once you cross the finish line you take that medal and you get all the free swag they give you and cross “run a marathon” off your bucket list.