Running Your First Marathon: Anyone Can Do It

You don't need to be a hardcore runner to complete a marathon; in fact most participants aren't. If you love the idea but have questioned your ability, you should do some diligence on the number of finishers that are handicapped, have prosthetic legs, or have other challenges. Anything is possible in life if you set a goal, break it down into manageable pieces, and work at it tenaciously. You can complete a marathon regardless of how far fetched it might seem. Do it. I can promise you on the day of your marathon when you are out there running, you will have an epiphany. You will feel the exhilaration with all of your being, and when you cross the finish line you will join the inner circle of those that have completed this marvelous feat.

I wanted to run a marathon my whole life, but never got around to doing it. After I had lifesaving open heart surgery I decided that I was not going to wait any longer. I decided I was going to run the NYC Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the operation. I also planned to do well enough to be listed in The NY Times (sub 4:30). People thought I was nuts, but I was determined. I talked my wife into doing it with me. I popped the question to her in the hospital the day after she delivered my son via cesarean section. She looked down at her incision, looked at the heart patient asking her, and she had a great laugh. She laughed about it but she couldn't deny my optimism and ambition. We were active, but neither of us were in any shape to run a marathon before our surgeries let alone after a cesarean, and open heart surgery. We had only 3 months left until the race by the time we healed up enough to start serious marathon training. We started training in August, and the race was scheduled for the first week in November. We squeezed in our training while working full-time, caring for 3 children(including a newborn), and fighting an array of other hardships. In the end the journey ended up being a therapeutic distraction for us, and it helped us heal in many ways. We finished the NYC Marathon in 4:23, crossing the line together, and we came away with memories to last a lifetime. Barefoot in November is a book I wrote afterward that chronicles the journey from start to finish in detail.

Why run a marathon? You have all arrived at this moment of truth via many routes. Perhaps it's something you've always wanted to do? A new years goal? A mid-life crisis? You're running in memory of someone? You're running for a cause and raising money for a charity? You want to lose weight and it's part of a commitment to fitness? Maybe you know someone who told you about the thrill, exhilaration and sense of accomplishment? or maybe like us you've decided to run a marathon for a combination of reasons. Regardless of what brought you to this crossroads, you are about to embark on something that will affect your body, mind, and soul in ways you never imagined.

Running a marathon is a lifetime achievement that approximately .1% of the people in the world complete. I repeat, only one tenth of one percent of all the people in the world complete a marathon. This is based on a world population of approximately 6.6 billion people. If you consider the United States alone the number is a little closer to 1%.[source: http://www.arrs.net/MaraList.htm]


Running a Marathon requires a ten fold increase in energy production, and includes the risk of sudden death, hyperthermia, hyponatremia, hypothermia, glycogen depletion, musculoskeletal injury, and a weakened immune system.

Myths

  • You need to train for years to run a marathon.
  • You need to run everyday to train for a marathon.
  • Marathon training will occupy all of your time and require all of your energy.
  • You have to be able to run 26.2 miles in training before you will be able to complete a marathon.
  • You have to qualify to run a marathon.
  • You need to be an athlete or "fitness type" to run a marathon.
  • If you hit "the wall" in a marathon you will lose all of your energy.
Since you've already made up your mind to join the inner circle of marathon finishers, the next step is the training. "It's only as bad as you make it."



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