When people hear that I have run several marathons, they consistently ask, "Why would you do that?" It's a decent question. I wonder the same thing when I see trapeze artists, high-rise window washers and attorneys at work. So, here's the list.
Why run a marathon?
1. It's difficult.
2. It's a true test of your discipline. You can't cheat. To do it correctly, it takes at least six months of training to prepare. By "training," this means running shorter runs several times a week and gradually ramped-up long runs(I preferred Sundays.) By long run, some prefer to run the full distance before a race, some run up to 20 miles.
3. There's a whole strange and wonderful community built around running.
4. It's just you, your body, your mind, and the road. (And your mp3 player, if you're me. Some prefer the solitude of their environment.)
5. There's real peace out there. (Not just the chemical thing that happens around Mile 14 for me, but that's pretty fantastic too.)
6. It forces you to get outside and see the world.
7. If you travel, it's a really unique way to sight see.
8. You start to see food as fuel, and (hopefully) get smart about what you're tossing down your gullet.
9. It's a cheap hobby. Some decent shoes(go to a store where they know what they're talking about), some moisture-wicking gear, mp3 player(optional), watch with a timer(GPS running watches available for gearheads) and a target marathon. Typical marathon entry fees will cost between $75-150. Of course, if you choose to run one out of your area, add travel cost. When all is said and done, it could likely cost you less than that gym membership you never use.
10. It's inspiring. No joke. For all three experiences, there were points in my training where I wanted to quit, but I persisted. There are points where you are in pain, but you go on. I have called on what I learned about myself on the road when times get tough.
Feeling inspired? Here's a great place to start with free training tools, as well as great videos and articles. Runner's World: Beginners.
Photo gracias: Flickr user jjan9.