A Marathon is a Journey, Not a Race

Marathon Runners
I was looking through my RSS feed today for running blogs and I came across this great post on Active.com: 11 Keys to A Successful Marathon Journey.  Just the title reminded me of a simple fact, running a Marathon isn’t just getting prepped for a race, it’s a journey. Author Jenny Hadfield‘s article has a unique approach to Marathon training: Rather than giving a complex set of steps to go through at different points in the marathon training process,  she focuses on traits that a successful Marathoner should cultivate.

Her 11 traits are: Realism, Perspective, Gratitude, Progress, Mindfulness, Perseverance, Humility, Faith, Reflection, Patience and Celebration.  Even without the detail she goes into, each word is evocative of personality traits that one would need to be successful in nearly any endeavor, not just running a Marathon.  Some specific quotes and my thoughts on them below the break.

Realism

Start from where you are in your fitness level to get to where you want to be safely (the finish line). The fastest way to a successful marathon journey is down reality street. The first week of the training plan should closely match that of your current training. If not, find one that does.

Perspective

Eat the elephant one bite at a time. Every marathon season starts with the very first step. Tomorrow’s workout will lead to the next and soon 6 miles will turn into 14. And you’ll know you are on your way when you use the words “only” and “6 miles” in the same sentence.

These 2 are keys for me that I’ve learned when it comes to running, but not when it comes to so many other goals.  Back in 2007 when the idea of running a marathon first became attractive to me, I was running about 15  miles a week (which was alot for approximately 230 pound me).  At first the idea of even 10 miles in a day seemed insane, there was no way I’d be able to succeed at 26.2.  I poked around online and read about the “10% Rule,” the idea that you add no more than 10% to your distance run each week, and suddenly it seemed do-able.  I added 1.5 miles that next week, spread over the 5 days, it was only 500 Yards a day and I barely noticed.  When you eat the Elephant 1 bite at a time, it doesn’t seem like that big of a meal, it’s a realistic goal to bite off a tiny bit more each time.  I still follow the 10% rule now, and it still seems pretty minor to add 10% (even though I’m at 50 miles a week). Now if only I could remember to apply that to other things, but that’s for a different blog.

Gratitude

It takes a village to train a marathoner. Surround yourself with a community of people who will support you from start to finish (seasoned marathoners, running store experts, massage therapist, your spouse or friends). Take the time to communicate with your family and friends the importance of this journey as well as the significant time commitment. You’ll need support along the way, and if they know what it means to you, they will be there for you.

I’ve made the choice to only surround myself with positive people, and it shows. I’m so thankful for the network of friends and family that I have (especially my wonderful girlfriend Alysha) and all the love and support they’ve given toward this goal.  Anyone reading this Thank You!!

I was going to bite this all off in one post, but this elephant is a little bigger than I thought.  Once I got writing I realized I want to respond to all of the traits, not just a select few.  So over the next few days you’ll get my thoughts on the rest of the list!

Quotes contained are all  from:  11 Keys for a Successful Marathon Journey | Active.com.

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