When you watch a marathon in person or on television, do you have an emotional response and think that you’d like to run one someday? Have you ever seen pictures of people older than yourself running in a marathon, and thought that if they can do it, so can you-then started dreaming about it? The marathon will do that to you and it deserves all the mystique and tradition that surrounds it. It’s a special chance to set a long-term challenging goal, break it down into smaller goals, and proceed all on your own to achieve what I think is a fantastic human accomplishment. The strength and self-knowledge it takes to transport yourself to a finish line 26 miles, 385 yards away can be yours, if you prepare well. It’s a labor-but you can’t beat the pride that comes with crossing that finishing line. You will never forget your marathon for as long as you live.
If you’ve been running for at least a year, done some shorter races, and have been running 20 or more miles a week for the last three months, you may be ready to begin training for the marathon. If you need to build up to 20 miles a week, remember to do so gradually-don’t add more than 10 percent of your current mileage per week. You need to pick a race to work toward. The training program here allows for six months of preparation (or less if you’re a_ more advanced runner), so you may think about entering a spring marathon. There are almost 100 marathons in the United States to choose from and many of them are held in the spring. Try to pick one fairly close to home. This will fit into your routine best and the weather conditions may be closest to those in which you trained. Since there are small local marathons and large festive ones, give some thought to what appeals to you. (more…)