Why YOU Should Run A Marathon

I'll be the first to admit that when my friend suggested we train for and run a marathon together, I thought it was an impossible idea and I hated it. I'd never been overly athletic so the idea of running more than maybe one mile really just did not appeal to me. However, after my friend confided that her ex-boyfriend was a marathoner who never asked her to join him on his runs, I felt like I should give it a try. She's done things for me of course, so why not?

It didn't start out well as I was trying to go from doing nothing all day to running a few miles at once. After hurting my knee and realizing that I really needed to start out more slowly, I realized something crazy: I LOVED running! It was so peaceful and I could just think about nothing at all for 30 minutes at a stretch. We trained for a couple of months and then ran a few local 5ks and right now? I'm signed up to run a proper marathon in a few weeks!

So here's why YOU should run a marathon!

1. It's a life lesson. Sometimes you have to start out slowly, pace yourself, and push through something in order to get the benefits. You can quit a marathon halfway through of course but being surrounded by all those people who aren't quitting is incredible motivation. Maybe you won't face another physical challenge like this but it's almost a certainty that you'll face mental ones.

2. It's a source of pride. As I said, I wasn't overly athletic growing up so you can imagine my pride when I actually completed my first race. I'm proud of training every day, of sticking with it, and of not being afraid to do something that I used to only dream about.

3. You will inspire other people to get off their butts and do something. You know how many of my neighbors used to run? Zero. Guess how many have started? Three. That's pretty amazing isn't it?

4. You will meet other people who care about themselves and that positive energy is fantastic to witness. It's not about vanity. It's about taking care of your body and being there for your loved ones.

5. You'll have a great source of fun vacations just waiting for you! There are marathons all over the world, happening all the time. The Marine Corps Marathon is one I'd love to do simply because I have always wanted to spend more time in DC. If one DC marathon & half marathon wasn’t enough, there is a Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon that sounds perfect to fill the void. There's the London Marathon which I'd love to do for my first trip across the pond. No matter what city you want to visit, you can find some sort of marathon or half marathon happening nearby at some point during the year.

If you've never run anywhere in your life, don't think that you can't do it. During my smaller races I've met so many runners who didn't pick up the sport until they were in their 40s or until someone they knew suffered a heart attack and they decided to get healthy. In every race I've run, I've seen people in every kind of shape, too. A good friend of mine is a fairly large guy who is always trying to lose 30 pounds and he's doing at least one marathon a year. Once you see the wheelchair athletes, you will realize that determination can overcome anything. A friend who's done the Marine Corp Marathon said that some Marines were running it in full gear with gas masks. If that's not hard work, I don't know what is!

Training isn't expensive either, which is one of the best things about running. Get yourself some good shoes (definitely don't skimp here) and some breathable exercise clothes and get out there to enjoy the fresh air! There's no need for any crazy equipment, you can run anywhere, and seriously, nothing clears your head like a good run. Training has been a lot more fun than I would have imagined also, as I've been able to bond a lot with other runners who always keep my motivation going strong whenever I hit a wall. 

Set yourself a goal: you'll complete at least one 5k run in the next 6 months. Set aside 15 minutes a day to start walking very fast or jogging. It's incredible to see how fast your body adjusts to exercise and in a few days you'll be amazed at what you can do. Just increase it a bit each day until you're easily able to run a few miles at a stretch. Once you complete a smaller race, I can guarantee you that you'll want to go further. Here's hoping you complete your first marathon sometime soon!