“Why a Marathon?” Here’s what it takes…
Written by: Mayra Fajardo, Marathoner, Triathlete & Yoga Instructor
I have frequently been asked, “Why a marathon? How can you run that far? What do you think of when you’re out there running long miles?”
My answer is always, “I love the way I feel after a run. It’s a major sense of accomplishment…setting a goal and achieving it. It lifts your spirits, gives you energy, and focus. It can turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary one.”
The marathon is a journey that one undertakes and commits to, often from six-months to a year in advance of arriving at the start line. Here’s what it takes:
Choose Something Interesting
Pick a marathon that captures your interest, a race-course you’d like to explore, or an event you’d like to be a part of.
The Flying Pig Marathon in OH is a catchy name for a weekend of events and various race distances. The Chicago Marathon offers a classic run through the windy city. The Rock-n-Roll Marathon Series offers music at every mile marker.
And if you’re looking for a hilly, challenging course, The NYC Marathon is a must. Just keep in mind that if it’s your first marathon, stick with a flat course to begin with!
Choose a training plan to guide your workouts in preparation for the course.
Most plans start training 16-18 weeks before race day and require 4-5 days of running with cross-training recovery days, and rest days to prevent over-training. There are many plans to choose from and can be found online or guided by a personal trainer, like Joe Droz at JD Core.
Just be sure to rest on rest days, being an overambitious runner can kill your MOJO!
Mix it Up
Vary the places and surfaces where you run. This helps eliminate monotony and prevents over-stressing the body in the same way run after run.
There are many running options… parks, trails, beaches, running tracks and yes, the good-old reliable treadmill!
Drink Water… a lot of it
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Drink half your body weight in ounces daily. Nothing kills a training plan more than a cramped calf (the first sign of dehydration).
There are many drinks to hydrate with, including Gatorade, Nuun electrolyte drinks, Vitamin Water, etc. Just avoid overly sugary drinks.
Eat to run, not run to eat
Fuel your body with healthy, non-processed foods (lean meats, grains, whole foods, fruits, and vegetables).
It will help with muscle recovery and get you back out there running energetically rather than depleted. There are many eating plans and programs to choose from.
Be sure to pick one that encourages eating within 30-minutes after a training run for optimal muscle recovery, which is also the best window of time for glycogen stores (the source of energy found in our muscles) to be replenished.
Check out the JD Core VMI Sports supplements and Plant Powered Tyler for fueling and workout program options.
Use a keyword or phrase for motivation. This will help you when the going gets tough.
Repeat the words (“Strong to the Core”) and envision yourself getting to the finish line. Figure out what motivates you and reduce it to a phrase you can repeat back to yourself.
Anyone can do a marathon… just do it for the love of running, the challenge, or the sense of accomplishment. Run for the mental strength gained from staying disciplined, tackling and achieving such an elite goal.