38,000 people took part in the London marathon on Sunday, the highest number ever to run the 26.2 miles through the city. People of all shapes and sizes, all backgrounds and running abilities, all competing in the same event.
I wanted to hug each and every runner (despite the sweatiness) and say well done. Well done for signing up and well done for showing up.
Because that’s half the battle- deciding you’re going to do something and committing to it.
Yesterday I received the email I’d been hoping for; confirmation that I had a spot in the Chicago Marathon in October! I am so unbelievably excited to run my fifth marathon, and my fourth marathon major in 5 months time. I’m especially thrilled that my Step-Dad, Dave (most supportive step-dad ever) will be running too, taking on his first marathon! Three and a half years ago, he ran my first ever 5K with me, so it seems fitting that I’ll be there for his first 26.2 (at the age of 62!)
You don’t have to be a superstar runner or athlete to complete a marathon, infact many toeing the line in London weren’t. But there are a few things you need;
- Self belief that you can do it
- Commitment and dedication to training
- A positive mental attitude – throughout your training and on race day
If you want to do a marathon, you can. Simple as that. The most important think is having the mental strength to achieve it.
I signed up to do my first marathon with no running background, and the inability to run a mile. I don’t think I even really knew how far a marathon was, and I’ve just signed up to run my fifth marathon!!
You don’t have to run fast or even run to do a marathon, and that’s part of the beauty. It’s the physical distance that is the challenge. Whether you sign up to a specific walking marathon (such as the MoonWalk) or you tackle a marathon like London with a long cut off time (8hrs) you can power walk or stroll your way through the miles if you would prefer not to run. Although believe me, neither are easy.
So if you want to complete a marathon, but have a list of reasons why you can’t, start thinking about how you can. Select a goal race, with a realistic time to train, then select a training plan that works for you and start building towards 26.2 miles. I’d recommend looking at the course profile (whether the route is hilly or flat) and whether it is feasible for friends and family to come and watch. It really does help having support along the way!
You’ll need to choose a training plan that fits with your life; more is not necessarily better, so don’t choose a plan with 6 runs a week if you won’t have time for that. You could even speak to a coach or trainer for help too.
I’d also advise having a goal. Whether you’re raising money for charity, running to get fit or simply giving yourself a new challenge. Remembering whey you’re running will help push you through the hard miles in training and on race day.
And if you never, ever want to do a marathon- well that’s fine too!
(In COMPLETE contrast to this, I also have a post coming next week about why you don’t have to run a marathon! )