The following is an introduction to Hansons First Marathon: Step Up to 26.2 the Hansons Way by Luke Humphrey and Keith and Kevin Hanson.
There’s no denying the mystique of the marathon. For many, it is the quintessential endurance event, at the top of bucket lists, running resumes, and lifetime achievement goals. Whatever your pace or finishing time, crossing the finish line of your first marathon can be as much a spiritual experience as a physical one, providing you with a profound sense of meaning, pride, and accomplishment.
The marathon remains the gold standard for human-powered locomotion. Entertaining the thought of running 26.2 miles on foot may scare the daylights out of you. Questions abound: Can I really run that far? How do I begin to train for something like that? Will it hurt? What if I fail?
Hopefully among those contemplations of self-doubt shine rays of hope and excitement. That’s how big goals work—they seem just outside our reach, which is precisely what makes them so alluring. The gravitational pull of the marathon is very strong for some of us. For others, it holds a spot in the “maybe someday” category—a goal that you’d like to tackle at some point, but just haven’t yet found the time. If you’re in that camp, the fact that you’ve picked up this book is a good sign that “someday” is a lot closer than you thought.
You certainly won’t be alone. The marathon’s growing popularity has ushered in an ever-burgeoning number of participants. Today’s marathon start lines are populated by all types of runners: hard-core veterans, yes, but also soccer moms and dads, fundraisers, harriers, and weekend warriors—all on a mission to prove to themselves that they can do it. And guess what: They can. And so can you.
Most of us just need a place to start—terra firma from which to make that initial leap into training for the 26.2-mile distance—and confidence about where we’re headed. That’s what this book is all about.
Who Should Run A Marathon?
Nowadays, there are not only thousands of races from which to choose, but these races are billed as grand events. These aren’t your grandpa’s races, with 20 people racing each other sans water stops and fueling stations. Many marathons are extravagant affairs that garner millions in charity dollars and other revenue.
The loneliness of the long-distance runner has made way for the nation’s most well-attended social club. And while there remain some “purists” who scoff at these developments, we would argue that the sport is better for it. The marathon is more inclusive and accessible, inviting a new generation of people to participate in an activity that has proven benefits for both body and mind.
The primary aim of this book is to show you that, regardless of experience, finishing a marathon is something just about anyone can accomplish. In these pages, you will learn how to do more than simply survive your first marathon and check it off the list. Rather, you will learn how to thrive, by not only learning best training practices, but also knowing what to anticipate during the process.
Along with detailed explanations of why and how to log mileage and properly structure your training, we will dispel common myths and misconceptions and chart a course for a successful finish. We’ve also polled experienced athletes on what they wish they had known leading up to their own first marathons in order to offer you the benefit of learning from others’ mistakes and triumphs.
Who Is This Book For?
Who will benefit from reading this book? The short answer is anyone who is looking to run that first marathon. In most cases, you will fall into one of three categories.
The Beginner: Perhaps you’ve long contemplated taking up running or maybe you’ve had a sudden spark of insight or a life-changing event, but you have decided that now is the time to take charge and knock off that big bucket list item: the marathon. If you fall into this category, you probably don’t have a lot of stored knowledge on best training practices. You may run the odd day during the workweek or on the weekend, but not consistently or with any structure. This book can be a key part of your journey form 0.0 to 26.2—and if the process turns a bucket list item into a lifelong passion, all the better.
The Recreational Runner: You’re in the largest group of marathon first-timers. Your typical training includes 2–4 days of running per week and you are familiar with terms like “intervals,” “repeats,” or “tempo runs.” You probably have some 5K and 10K races under your belt and maybe a few half-marathons. Many runners in this category started running for health and fitness, but continued because they enjoyed the sport and competition. If you find yourself in this crowd, this book will show you how to safely and effectively structure your training in order to take that next step on your running journey.
The Competitive Runner: You’ve logged some impressive personal bests and may even be the top finisher at your local 5K and 10K races, and now you’re looking for a new dragon to slay. The marathon is a race that many competitive runners feel a strong pull to attempt at least once, even if they tend to prefer shorter-distance racing. This book will help you bridge the gap between fast racing at shorter distances and proper pacing at the 26.2-mile event.
Where Do I Go from Here?
So how do we get from point A to point B—from a desire to run a marathon to crossing the finish line? This book poses several questions to ask yourself before you lace up and head out the door. Your answers will guide you in your initial stages of training, helping you determine things like how long it will take to build fitness appropriate for marathon training and how ready you are to start training today. We will also discuss how to balance ambitions with reality in goal setting, as well as how to stay motivated throughout training. Taking the time to first establish these components will put you in the best position to begin your marathon training.
Hansons First Marathon will help any runner who is new to the marathon train smart and find success at the marathon distance.