How Do You Do It?

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I get asked these question a lot, particularly as I’m training for 2 back to back marathons and then will follow it up with 1 – possibly 2 (fingers crossed for NYC) in the fall. The conversation goes a bit like this.

Q: How do you do it? How do you train for a Marathon? And WHY do you want to run Marathons?

me: It’s an Adventure.  You know me, there isn’t an adventure I say NO to. And I just do it. Cliche yes, but I do.

Followed By Their Statement: I could never do it.  or I don’t have what it takes. 

**This statement does not apply to all and doesn’t just have to do with marathons, it could be any physical or mental challenge.** However, in most instances, you’re just plain WRONG. It is not about whether or not you can do it or you if have what it takes, it’s that you’re often consciously or subconsciously making the choice not to do it and not to push yourself out of your comfort zone to test your limits.

There is an aura around marathons that people either gravitate towards or run.like.hell. away from I thought this was an easy way out outlining some of the top facts and fears about them.

Over 500k people finished a marathon in 2010 and I’m willing to bet that well over 50% of the are not natural-born runners.  You’ve all seen them, they’re everyday worker bees parents, students, food lovers, charity drivers, walkers, cyclists etc, all looking for a new challenge to tackle.

This is me too – always looking for a new challenge to tackle.

I’m a natural athlete, but never ran cross-country or track. Growing up, I played soccer which means I clearly liked to run but running marathons and playing soccer are quite different. So yes, when I say I just do it – it is a cliche, but the truth is, I’ve had to train. I’ve had to work hard. And I’ve chosen to say YES to a new journey and a new challenge.  Here are some of the things that have kept me on pace and inspired me along the way.

  • Patience – getting up and running a marathon without training may be this guy’s reality, but it is certainly not mine.  Cramming for a race is no fun and I think that you’re a much happier (read not crabby and disgruntled) runner when you actually give your body time to adjust, learn, respond and perform.  As you see your performance start to improve, you’re a much more satisfied runner and you more easily bring on the next goal.
  • Having a Plan – my life is nuts.  Hands.down.insane.  At times I’m a harebrained.perfection-driven.overachiever who always says YES. So imagine what my calendar looks like.  {Yes, I have to schedule sleep time}.  But in my training process, I’m a firm believer that my life schedule – work, travel, friends etc. has to have a primary seat. So the fact that I am a compulsive list maker ensures that I also cross running off my to-do list.  Sure it means 5:45 alarms, even on Saturdays, but the end my life is rich, because my life is full.  And with all those endorphins swirling around, I am fun! so i think.
  • Shopping – hey, I’m still a girl.  Thanks to Lululemon, FrontRunners, Asics, New Balance, Nike, Saucony, etc. I’ve got all the right gear and as a typical.girl.with.a.shoe.problem, Ineed new running shoes about every two months!  That’s a way better turnover than work shoes. New Shoes New Shoes New Shoes.
  • Adventure – no two days are alike and no two paths are alike.  Even the same route changes daily depending on my mindset and my body. Some days I’m a super hero.  Other days feel like a punch in the guts and I have to learn how to adjust on the fly to where my body and my mind are. But I like the adventure of not knowing what a new day our a new route will bring.  {The alternative is to get on an elliptical machine and not go anywhere for 45 minutes while you stare at the back side of the person on the elliptical in front of you}.
  • Doing More Good Running for charity, like I am for Boston, ices the cake.  An oft-perceived selfish sport due to the dedication and commitment levels to training, running is a sport easily put to more good by running and training for something greater than yourself.  When you consider your own personal training hardships, they really pale in comparison to whatever cause or charity you’re running for.

Running may not be your sport, but I guarantee that with Patience, Planning, Shopping, an Adventurous Spirit and perhaps even a Charitable driver, getting over the hump and taking on a new physical challenge is something everyone can do.

So what are you going to do?

{MF Dre}

by the way…SR…Melanie Johnstone’s goal of 100 marathons before age 34… it’s yours to beat.

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