The following piece was written by one of our catalog models and running friends who recently ran her first marathon. She used to dread the idea of running more than one mile. Now, she’s conquering 26.2 of them.
I’ve never considered myself much of a runner. In fact, I used to hate the thought of running more than a mile, but two weeks ago I surprised myself and completed my first full marathon. Prior to running the marathon, I’d completed one 5k and one half-marathon. I certainly don’t have the resume you might expect from a marathoner, but it just goes to show that you don’t have to be that experienced to accomplish your goals.
One of the hardest things about running a marathon is finding the motivation to train. As a skilled procrastinator, I knew that I had to sign up for a race—that way I couldn’t make any excuses! I chose the Eugene Marathon and signed up with my favorite running buddy–my sister. She was actually the one that nudged me in the direction of running in the first place. I then found a training plan that fit my schedule and ability level. (If you’re looking for a training plan, Hal Higdon has great plans for all levels of runners.) I made sure to schedule my training into my week to keep myself from feeling too overwhelmed. Setting little milestones throughout my training was a fantastic motivator.
When it comes down to it, one of my primary reasons for running a marathon was to show myself what I’m capable of. It’s too easy to tear myself down when life gets challenging, and I find that setting a goal and working hard to achieve it is a really effective confidence booster. And crossing that finish line with my sister beside me, well, there’s no better feeling. We ran the whole race together and supported one another through the blistered feet and sore legs.
While I had some challenges moving from the half-marathon to a full marathon, like dealing with injuries or finding the right ways to sustain and hydrate myself, I knew that it’s something I could work through—because with each mile, I was showing myself how strong I am. I really struggled with the longer runs the first few weeks of my training, but before I knew it I was able to run 20 miles without feeling like passing out halfway through. And I know that as I continue with running, I’ll get better and better at the sport, even if my whole body aches for a few days. I remind myself that it’s all about finding my stride and committing to doing something for myself.
Crossing the finish line was an unbelievable feeling, and I am really looking forward to signing up for another race to see if I can beat my previous time. I am even thinking of setting a new goal for myself to qualify for the Boston Marathon—something that seems so out of reach right now, but then again, at one point I thought running more than a mile was something I would never do.
Marathon Training tips:
1. Schedule your training ahead of time to work around the other things you have going on. If you don’t have a set time and day for each run, then before you know it the days have gone by and you haven’t gone on a run.
2. Never skip your long run! It’s okay to miss a workout every once in a while, but if you’re going to skip one, make sure it’s one of your short runs. The long runs are too critical to your training to miss.
3. Invest in good socks and great shoes.I know running shoes can be pricey, but trust me, a good pair of kicks is worth it. And nice socks made a huge difference in blister prevention for me, as well.
4. Use a GPS or running app on your smartphone or iPod to keep you motivated. I used RunKeeper. They even have training plans that you can download, follow, and use to set goals for yourself.