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There are many good reasons to run a marathon and one runner’s reason will differ from next. Even if you hate running, hear my reasons for why you should at least run one marathon in your lifetime!
In 2012, I ran a half-marathon in the summer, then a full marathon in September and another full marathon in October. With no previous running experience.
Before I ran these marathons, I thought only athletes and really fit people ran marathons, and I didn’t classify myself as very “fit” at the time. In fact, I was still figuring out how to make exercise part of my routine. But the truth is, anyone can run a marathon! Seriously. These are some people I met while running my marathons:
- A man in his 70s who had been running marathons for 30 years
- A group of women wanting to lose weight
- A young woman who told me (as we were running the marathon) that the most she had run was eight miles at a time
- A man who was pushing a disabled friend/family member in a stroller
- A young man who was speed walking rather than running, due to a heart condition
I have a feeling that many of these people were not running a marathon simply to get fit. Like me, they knew that running a marathon was much more than just a workout.
Running a Marathon Makes You Mentally Capable of Doing Hard Things
After I finished my marathon, I decided running wasn’t for me. But I don’t regret running marathons for one minute. Marathons were just the beginning of my greatest accomplishments.
I ran a marathon… what else can I do? Get into a competitive nursing program? Do Beachbody’s Insanity workout program? Go on a 75-mile backpacking trip? Survive nursing school for two years? Have an unmedicated childbirth?
Done and done!
Running a marathon gives you the mentality of being able to take on the world! So many times, we have amazing aspirations and all that is stopping us is a little voice in our head telling us that we can’t do that, but other people can. Now, every time that voice comes into my head, I respond, “If I can run a marathon, I can do this, too.”
Running a Marathon is Great for People with Little Fitness Background
We all know how to run. Running is not an exercise that you have to research or invest in before you can do it. Just step out your front door and go for it. Other sports and fitness regimens require equipment or proper training, while running is something you can do right now.
As a fitness newbie, I wasn’t comfortable in a gym setting yet– I had no idea what to do and couldn’t afford a trainer. So I began jogging with my dad in the mornings before school. It was a great way to become closer to my dad, and also, I formed a habit of exercising.
For people who are not able to run yet, there are great “walk to run” schedules out there that have you start by walking, then safely increase the intensity of your workouts until you are running.
Because running only requires one thing— your body– there are really no necessary costs involved. Of course, a good pair of shoes is recommended to offer back support and keep your feet from hurting. I used these shoes and I highly recommend them. But even buying shoes is not required.
The cost of the marathon can range greatly, depending on the race and who is running it. They generally have to cover costs of medals, route reinforcements, t-shirts, drinks and snack stations. You can pay anywhere from $40 to $100+. I suppose for some, the race itself is the most expensive part!
Many people waste money on gym memberships because they purchase before they really know they’re going to use it. Are they already taking time out of their day to be active and exercise? I always recommend that before investing in a gym, race or workout program, see if you can make a habit of working out for free, either with home workouts, walking or jogging. Or take advantage of the free trial that some gyms offer.
For some, paying money can be a good incentive to start exercising, because they know they are wasting money by not working out. But eventually, the money incentive can’t replace a real desire or a good habit. I knew after running for several months that a gym membership or other fitness investments would not go to waste.
You Associate Yourself with Goal-Oriented People
Maybe you’re familiar with the idea that the people you surround yourself with define who you are. If you surround yourself with successful people, you are more likely to be successful.
No matter the level of athletic ability, marathon runners are ambitious and driven, the opposite of lazy. I was constantly inspired while training with runners and meeting runners during the race. These are people who don’t give up easily. These are people who are self-motivated and will PUSH to meet their goals.
The best part is that you get to classify yourself as one of them!
You Can Do Any Physical Activity and NOT GET TIRED
I know there is a lot of controversy about cardio workouts and how effective they can be, and training for and running marathons is probably the hardest cardio you will ever do. But one of the most awesome benefits is having endless energy.
Imagine doing all of these things WITHOUT your muscles burning or getting out of breath:
- climbing a flight of stairs
- playing frisbee at a family gathering
- fetch with your dog
- hiking a mountain pass
- lifting boxes or heavy things
One friend that I trained with told me that she always wanted to be able to go on hikes with her kids and play with her dog. Being a marathon runner makes her more capable and improves her quality of life.
Is it okay to do something just to say you did it? I think so! Sometimes you just want to put something on your “Life Resume” for one reason or another. Running a marathon is one of those accomplishments that gives people insight into your character, because it is no small feat.
Time to Think During Long Runs
Training for a marathon requires a lot of hours every week of pure running. And what do I think is the best thing to do while running? Think. Sometimes we get so absorbed in social media, work or other obligations, that we never spend time winding down and letting our minds relax.
While your body is working hard, your mind can take a break. This is not just a good reason to run a marathon, but also good advice if you are running one. Instead of thinking about how hard it is in the moment or how much further you have before you finish, think about things that are happening in your life, like how you want to remodel your kitchen or how you want to do a date night at your favorite restaurant soon. Two hours of running will fly by!
I have struggled on and off with anxiety throughout my life, and being able to take time out of my day to think has proven helpful for my anxiety.
Get Super Toned Legs
Running for hours every week is bound to give you some definition in your legs. If you’re like me and have a naturally pear-shaped body (many women do), you’re always looking for ways to tone your lower half. Running was great for getting rid of side butt and muffin top.
Running is also great for toning your calves. My calves are naturally skinny with very little definition, and I will say they looked the most toned during my marathon days.
Running Has Its Place
Though I’m a huge advocate for incorporating variety into your fitness routine (not ALL cardio or ALL strength training), running has its place in the fitness world, ESPECIALLY marathon running. Running a marathon takes an abundance of both physical and mental strength. Plus it’s great for people on a budget, people who have no experience, people who want more confidence and energy, and people who just want to feel on top of the world.
Put “Run a Marathon” on your bucket list today!
Do you want to run a marathon? What’s holding you back?
If you have run a marathon, what were your reasons?