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People decide to run marathons for many different reasons. Some people are looking for a new challenge in their life. Some people are inspired by others who have done a marathon, and think “I could do that too!” Some just want to be part of a community of long distance runners who have dare to master the 26.2 mark . The best reason to run a marathon is because IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
I’ve had many people tell me, “I could never do that.” In a way they’re right. They never could run a marathon with that negative mindset. I personally believe that almost anyone can run a marathon if they want to bad enough. Your mind is the strongest muscle you have. Through determination and focus you can conquer anything. There are people who complete marathons in wheelchairs, those in their 80’s, those with a limb amputated using a prosthesis, those who have overcome cancer, accidents, heart attacks, and many other challenges.
Training for a marathon provides a big “payoff” to your overall life. You will experience positive changes physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Physical payoff: Trainging for a marathon has the potential to increase your life span and improve the quality of your life. You might notice weight loss, better posture, and increased strength to name a few. The lifestyle changes necessary for training include: (a) follow a proper diet (b) eliminate extra body fat (c) stop smoking and avoid heavy drinking (d) get adequate sleep and (e) exercise regularly. Researchers say that these changes will add years to your life.
- Emotional payoff: People who run are happier because of the release of endorphins in their brains, also known as the runner’s high. This causes a feeling of well-being, lowers stress levels, increases self-esteem, and improves mood.
- Mental/Spiritual payoff: Running long increases resiliance, builds confidence, and improves mental clarity. Running can become a passion, not just exercise. It can be a place where you find peace and solitude. In a marathon you don’t run to mearely beat others. Instead you run to achieve a personal victory. It’s hard to explain to non-runners why you would pay money to “abuse” your body. But anyone who has crossed the finish line understands. It’s part of the mystique of the marathon. Everyone who crosses the finish line is a winner.
Oprah finished a marathon a few years ago. She said that running a marathon is a metaphor for life. It has obstacles, moments when you feel like giving up, when you’re tired or overwhelmed. But you keep going. Finally you can see the finish line. She said it wasa proud and joyful moment- one of the best she’s ever had. Veteran marathoner Hal Higdon says, “Your life will never be the same, and regardless of what the future holds you can look back and say, I finished a marathon.”