In the past decade, thousands of former couch potatoes have laced up their running shoes to run marathons.
Driven by the popularity of local running clubs and charity-driven fundraising groups, scores of people with zero running experience have conquered 26.2 miles of sore muscles, fatigue, and finish line elation.
If running a marathon is on your “bucket list” or you assume that the distance is just too great, here are a few things to get you inspired to hit the starting line.
Marathons are Open to Anyone
Finishing a marathon might seem like an impossible feat, but it’s a distance that almost anyone can tackle with dedication and training. You don’t need to be Deena Kastor or Meb Keflezighi to wear a marathon bib.
If you doubt your abilities, check out this incredible story of a partially paralyzed athlete who completes marathons all over the world – including Antarctica! – for a little inspiration.
Training for a marathon takes time, and it’s one of the most difficult competitions most people will ever attempt. However, you might be ready to tackle a marathon. Just remember a few things before you sign up…
Don’t Go from Zero to 26.2
Some running groups will try to convince you that it’s possible to go from a sedentary lifestyle to marathon distance in just six months of training. While you might think “never say never,” running a marathon safely usually means building a modest level of fitness before training for the full 26.2.
If you exercise a few times a week and feel confident that you could comfortably jog about five miles, you might already have the basic fitness level to begin training. If you really are sedentary, you may consider a training program of a year to 18 months rather than the traditional 6-month schedule.
It’s All in the Training
Marathons are an incredible equalizer in sport. Elite marathoners show us unbelievable human endurance and strength by finishing marathons in just a few hours, but so do the “regular Joes” who spend six hours in the middle of the pack for their finisher’s medal and t-shirt.
Your training might take years, but you can finish a marathon whether you’re headed for a sub 3-hour finish, or you’re looking at 26.2 miles of swift walking. The most important part? Training safely as you move toward this incredible accomplishment.
You’ll never forget the amazing feeling of crossing the finish line of a marathon whether you do it in two hours or ten!