Training for My First Marathon

People often ask me, “Why do you want to run a marathon?” Although I try to keep the answer brief, there are numerous reasons why I feel compelled to put my body through 26.2 miles of agonizing stress. Just the thought of it sounds unappealing to most people, but over the years, I’ve realized that there’s so much more to long-distance running. I’ve thought about it long and hard, and concluded that the pros outweigh the cons. So I ask, “Why not run a marathon?”

Training for a marathon is more than just a physical sport. It’s a fight to knock down the mental barriers, the little voices questioning your own abilities and strength. This was a challenge when I first thought about signing up for a marathon. Given my small body frame and physique, I wouldn’t say I’m typically what comes to mind when you think of an “athlete.” I’m 5’2 and I have short, buff legs. And as much as I admire advertisements showcasing fit, pro runners with long legs wearing Nike shoes, I know that I have to work with what I got. Acknowledging this fact, I’ve learned to accept my body type for what it is and gained a better understanding its advantages. For instance, I shouldn’t try to take long strides, but rather short, quick strides to keep pace with the other runners.

Before you begin training, it’s important to have the proper equipment: a good pair running shoes, a distance tracker and possibly a set of earbuds for music if you want. I cannot emphasize how important it is to have a pair of fitted running shoes for long-distance running. Do your research and find out which shoe size you need. Novice runners often forget that their feet swell when they run, so buying half a size bigger will save you the trouble of getting blisters and foot aches after your first test run. It’s also important to see how much arch support you need, as well as the rocking motion of your foot as it hits the pavement. Running 26.2 miles is no joke, so make sure your running shoes can take off the physical stress that comes with each pounding step.

Training for the marathon itself takes discipline, consistency and a lot of patience. Every run adds coins to the piggy bank. Eventually you’ll find out that the savings increase exponentially. For example, pushing yourself to run six miles sets you up to run eight then 12 miles. With every accomplishment you achieve, you’ll find it that much easier to do more. It’s honestly an amazing feeling to look at how much you’ve accomplished by the end. In order to make sure you're reaching your goal, it’s a good idea to create a realistic running schedule for yourself. They say that when you’re training for a marathon, you should run at least 45 miles a week, which can consist of a couple tempo runs and one long run. To prevent injury, remember to stretch properly before and after a run.

These are just a couple of encounters I’ve had in the past month of training, but I’m sure I will learn a lot more as I build up my mileage. For anyone intrigued or interested in running a half marathon or marathon, I highly encourage you to just go for it. Push yourself to see how much you’re capable of achieving.