Need Marathon Motivation? Why We Should All Sign Up for a Race

Hey there fitness friends and Pogamat peeps!

Recently a friend of mine asked me to do a half marathon with her. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve been asked but I’ve just never gotten around to it, as lame as that sounds. I politely declined and found any excuse (really just to tell myself) for why I couldn’t do it. I’m not in good enough shape, I don’t have time to train, I’m a terrible runner, I would die (yep, I agree, that last one is pretty dramatic). But truth be told, I’ve always wanted to achieve a half marathon, not to mention a full marathon. But seriously, 26.2 miles?! Just the thought of that makes me shudder.

Honestly, I think I’d be pretty disappointed with myself if I never attempted to complete a race in my lifetime. Now, those excuses I ran through? Well, there may be some truth to them! My body is in pretty good shape but I owe a lot of that to good genes. Every time I do a strenuous hike I realize just how out of shape I really am. I have sports induced asthma which is not helped by the higher elevation I live in and yes, life does tend to get pretty busy for all of us. But I truly believe that if I set my mind to completing a race, I know I could do it. So let’s jump in together and explore the ins and outs of why we should consider a half/full marathon, how to train for it, workouts to do in conjunction with training for your run and where/how to give ourselves that extra incentive boost!

Why Should you Run a Marathon?Woman running in marathon race

Personally, running is not my favorite thing in the world. In fact, I pretty much dread it. Though I will say, I almost always feel really great after a run; fit, reenergized and accomplished. Growing up, I was very familiar with running. I played soccer all my life and between my club and high school teams, we ran a whole lot. It was nothing new to me and every time I get into a  workout “kick”, I will always turn to running first. But honestly, I’m not a very good runner, at least at this point in my life. I have slow run times, get winded within my first mile and I can feel it in my whole body. Despite these reactions, I know that over time and with persistent workouts, my body would acclimate and ultimately become accustomed to running again.

The idea of signing up for a run might seem daunting. So why do it?! Well, aside from all of these mind-blowing facts (and more importantly, the benefits) listed in this article titled, 45 Mind Numbing Facts, Figures and Statistics About Running . I think the one that stood out to me was this: Running is an excellent way to become healthy but it can also boost your productivity and increase creativity. Also, because preparing for a run requires planning, discipline, dedication and perseverance, it can help boost improvement in those areas, as well as overall character. While I love the message here and it give me some encouragement that maybe this really will benefit me, let’s break this down for real.

Personally, I tend to need something more tangible to work toward or some specific guidance when I work out, otherwise, I have no idea what to do with myself. I tend to need to workout in a class environment or with a group of some kind or have a specific and tangible goal that I am working toward in order to be able to track my progress. In case you missed it, check out our post on How to Reach Your Health Goals in 5 Easy Steps . This idea of setting a clearly defined goal would fall under Step #3 of the goal-setting process: Get Specific using the S.M.A.R.T. method. For running a race, it would look something like this:

  1. Specific – I will complete a marathon (26.2 miles)
  2. Measurable – in a time of 4 hours and 15 minutes
  3. Action oriented – Begin training for race by following a marathon training guide (see below).
  4. Realistic– Achieve a time of ____.
  5. Time or deadline oriented– This would be the date of your race!
People sign up for races for different reasons. These might include: running to compete, to get into shape, for the satisfaction of completing something major,  to build discipline, to create a commitment to something new in your life, to reap psychological benefits in an effort to ground oneself, and the list goes on. All of these result in a sense of pride and personal achievement once you complete the event on race day.

Training for a Marathon

The first question that came to my mind when I began to give serious consideration to signing up for a half marathon was, how far in advance do I need to begin training? Logically, I know that it would probably help to just be a consistent runner throughout the year, but that just isn’t the case for me. Essentially, I would be starting from scratch. According to Runner’s World, in order get through your race injury-free, they recommend 16 weeks to train for a marathon and at least 10 weeks (ideally 14) to train for a half marathon.

 

There are tons of training plans out there but I would recommend this one from Runnner’s World because you can customize the plan to fit your unique situation and goals (i.e. you are a beginner, intermediate, advanced, trying to break a specific time, etc.).

 

In conjunction with your running training, it is also wise to incorporate a workout throughout the week that will focus on strength training, core, stretching and plyometrics. Check out this pretty straightforward routine just to give some different muscles attention and focus on certain areas that are also crucial to aiding your in running goals.

 

Marathon Supplemental Training Plank PoseInstructions: Grab your Pogamat and try this series of exercises you can do right in the comfort of your own home. You should do 12 reps of each exercise in order, rest for around 20-30 seconds after each set, and go through the series 3 times.
  • Bodyweight Squats
  • Press Ups (knee assist- easiest, incline- medium, full push up- hardest)
  • Lunges (12 on each leg)
  • Dips
  • Plank (held for as long as possible)
Another great at-home option is the ChaLEAN Extreme workout DVD.

Incentive to Run a Marathon 

Sure, your local town or state might have a bunch of options for 5k’s, half marathons or the whole 26.2. But guys, marathons, half marathons and various races occur every single weekend all over the world! If you need to, give yourself some extra incentive to run! If that means booking a trip to a new place that has been on your bucket list to travel to, do it! Make that your motivating factor; your incentive; your reward! It makes the sweat, pain, hours of training and hard work totally worth it because, guess what, you’re going to be on vacation after you complete this thing! Heck yes, I’m giving you permission to sign up for a run in another state, or perhaps even a different country!

One quick but important tip in choosing a new place to run, however, is to be sure that you keep in mind the need to prepare for a race in a different climate. There are ways that you can prepare for this and honestly, some of these things are actually quite fascinating and fun (like taking hot yoga classes to prep for a hot race in the cold or spend some time in a sauna to get the feel for humidity if you live in a dry climate). Check out this article on 50by25.com, “How to Prepare for a Race in a Different Climate”. It includes what you should do both before and during your race and touches on the following topics:

  • How to prepare for a hot race in the cold
  • How to prepare for a cold race in the heat
  • How to prepare for a humid race in dry heat
  • How to train for a dry-heat race in the humidity

Runner-marathon- man running

So you catch my drift, just be aware of where you will be running and take the necessary steps to plan accordingly, both mentally and physically preparing yourself.

Check out these links for some of the best half and full marathons destinations and start to get an idea of where you might want to go! Right now would be the perfect time to start looking in to and preparing for a race in 2018.

Ok, so are you starting to see how why running a race might be worth all the hard work and dedication? The benefits are plentiful and it sounds like this journey could actually be (I can’t believe I’m going to say it)…. fun!!! It’s inevitable. Now we just need to find our race and take the plunge!

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