The Everyman: Feeding off the Marathon Energy
With marathons happening every weekend this time of year, it's hard not to be inspired.
With marathons happening every weekend this time of year, it’s hard not to be inspired.
The days leading up to a marathon—especially a major marathon—are exciting. Even if you’re not running the race, which is most definitely the case with me this week, it’s awfully inspiring to read and hear stories about runners converging on Washington, D.C. or New York City to conquer a 26.2-mile trek.
Endurance athletes are a unique breed: Instead of cowering at the thought of running 26.2 miles, we embrace it. (OK, most of us still cower at the thought. But we still do it.) It’s a challenge we take on with authority and excitement.
Last weekend was the Marine Corps Marathon, which takes place not too far from where I live. It’s also the first and only marathon I’ve run. This weekend is the New York City Marathon.
If I could have run both this year, I would have done so without hesitation.
I’ve got a friend preparing to run her first 50-mile race—the JFK 50. Earlier this week she went on a 32-mile training run. Wow!
I wish I was running that race too.
As I continue to debate which races I’ll compete in next year, a fall marathon is right there at the top of my list. Maybe it will be the Marine Corps Marathon again. Or, if I’m lucky enough to score a spot through the lottery, perhaps I’ll run New York. But there are plenty of other long-distance journeys from which to choose.
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And that brings me to my next point: Pace. We all love to run fast, whether fast means an 8-minute pace, a 7-minute pace, or something faster. But what about running slow?
That doesn’t mean you should try to run slow during your race—on the contrary, I’m an advocate of finishing in the quickest time possible. But if you’re heading out for a 15-mile training run or even a 7-miler, why not keep the pace a bit lighter? It will make it easier to complete the run and it will allow you to enjoy yourself and your surroundings.
Not that running fast can’t be enjoyable, because it is. And there is definitely a place in any training regimen for speed work and fast-pace runs. But do yourself a favor and go slow once in a while. Take a buddy with you or go solo. Leave your iPod at home and focus on what you’re doing. Head out to your favorite gravel road and listen to your shoes crunching on the ground. Listen to the birds and admire the fall colors of the leaves.
Running doesn’t have to always be a race. Sometimes we need to take a step back and take it all in.
Come race day, you’ll have an even greater appreciation for what you’re doing.
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