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I’ve always wanted to run a marathon.  I’ve never been much of a long distance runner myself, but I thought finishing a marathon is a worthwhile goal.  If nothing else, it proves to me that I can do it!

So I started running just as everybody was making their new year resolution to lose weight/get fit.  But I’ve been down this path before.  Almost ten years ago, I made a pact with a friend who lived 500 miles from me that we would train for the Boston marathon “together”.  By together, I meant we would call each other and keep each other accountable to train everyday.  Well, she made it, and sadly I didn’t.  But I learned valuable lessons from my failure.  I am applying what I learned to give myself a better odd of succeeding this time around.

Just what did I learn?  A few things:

  1. Routinize it. I am very much a creature of habit.  While it’s true that I am an adrenaline junkie, I really like my life to fit a routine otherwise.  So to minimize the chance of failing again this time around, I run everyday!  It hasn’t rain yet, but I am mentally prepared to run in the rain!
  2. Stick to a plan. The first day I started running, I committed myself to run three miles.  I didn’t quite finish the three miles that day, but I forced myself to walk the rest of the distance.  By committing to a distance, I did not have any excuse to stop short of my goal.  And the surprising thing was, I was running 3 miles straight in a week’s time whereas it probably would have taken much longer to reach that goal if I had not committed to it, run or walk.
  3. Identify and defeat the giant. Although I have never been a long distance runner, I’ve been relatively fit most of my life.  It became painfully obvious to me after the first day of running that my challenge is not physical — it’s mental!  So now when I find myself wanting to stop short of my goal, I concentrate on the internal conversation I have with myself and talk myself out of quitting.

So far, by doing all three, I’ve been able to increase my distance to five miles.  I am sure there will be more barriers ahead as I extend my distance.  I will certainly blog about them as they come!  Meanwhile, I would love to hear from those who have successfully completed a marathon.  If you have great tips to share, please add them to the comment section!

January 2009