How to (start thinking about how to) Run a Marathon

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In honor the the Marine Corps Marathon, I thought I would dedicate this post to the root of all exercise: cardio! Now I mentioned that I’ve started dabbling with weight training, and all of my fitspiration instagrammers assure me that I can get the results I want without EVER stepping foot on a treadmill again. That sounds amazing and everything, but there’s something about a runner’s high and the physical total-body burn that still keeps me running back to my running sneakers. There are lots of articles about how to train for a marathon (check out NY Daily News article here and NY Time’s blog series here)  but how do you actually wake up one day and decide you’re ready for a marathon?

I personally am not physically ready to run a marathon, but the most important part of training is to develop the right mental state to handle taking on such a huge challenge. This can be done in different ways:

Start small! Don’t immediately sign up for a marathon, start training, lose confidence, and end up backing out. If you’ve never done any kind of race at all, a great opportunity would be to do a 5K or something shorter. This will give you experience on what a race feels like, and also give you confidence. Finishing one of these races is a huge adrenaline rush and makes everyone feel on top of the world. Snagging a bunch of these under your belt will make you feel more and more ready to take on a marathon.

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Find a support group. Running can be monotonous, especially if it’s winter time and you’re training. Everything starts to look the same when it’s cold and grey. Find friends that love to run. Even if they aren’t training for a marathon, you can make training more enjoyable by going with a friend. Also, find people that support you in what you’re doing and don’t give negative remarks or bring you down about the things you are trying to accomplish. Friends will also push you to go beyond what you think you are capable of doing, and sometimes, that push is exactly what you need!

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Finally, believe in yourself! Find a balance in your life that makes you happy– don’t stress if your running time isn’t where you thought it would be at that point in time.  Reflect on how much you’ve come since you started, even if you started last week! Make sure to take time for yourself and stay healthy by sleeping and eating right. Everything takes time and if you can reflect on your accomplishments then you can know that there are even bigger things to come.  Not to mention, serious runner’s and life high.

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While I have only ever completed a 5K, I recently had a back injury that has prevented me from running as much as I would wish. One of my goals for next semester is to run another 5K. I love running and it’s a great opportunity to work towards something and to reap the mental and physical benefits.Below are some upcoming races in DC:

  • DC Half and Half Marathon November 2nd
  • Run or Dye 5K November 2nd
  • National Race to End Women’s Cancer 8K November 3
  • Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger Run 5K November 28th
  • Run Rock n Roll Marathon March 15th
  • a more complete list can be found here as well as at Run Washington, which also provides tips and runner interviews

Also, check out this hilarious description of your thought process from starting to think about a marathon to actually completing one: 28 Reasons Why Training for a Marathon is the Worst Thing Ever.

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8 thoughts on “How to (start thinking about how to) Run a Marathon

  1. Nice post! I’d like to be able to complete the 5k races first! But I agree! 🙂

  2. Great advice, I did a few 5Ks this summer and have now moved up to 10Ks. I’ve got half marathons in my sights for next year.

  3. paulapr92 says:

    Such great advice and I love all of the gifs you used!

  4. Emily C says:

    Nice post! I saw some of the marathon yesterday. It takes so much will power to do any type of race! I liked your gifs too!

  5. Haha, love your gifs! Also, I’ve been thinking about this for some time now – thanks for listing 5ks that are coming up!

  6. seadwarf says:

    Interesting blog! I just ran my first half marathon a few days ago, it was awesome! I never had previously run in a race, but I am sure that it would have helped

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