If it seems like everyone around you is running a marathon, that’s because…they are! According to Running USA, there were 232,600 women (including me!) that finished a marathon last year. Participation in marathons is at a record high, and numbers will likely continue to grow. If you have been thinking about joining the masses and committing to a marathon, here are four reasons you should click register on that screen:
- The sense of accomplishment. Running a marathon is a wonderfully amazing physical feat. When you inevitably cross that finish line, you will be beyond proud of yourself. Setting a goal and accomplishing it — whether it takes 3 hours or 4 hours or 7 hours — is one of the best feelings in the world. I honestly think that when that goal is a marathon, it feels 26.2 times better!
- Your confidence will grow. While training for a first marathon, every long run is a new mileage record. It will likely be the first time running 16/18/20 miles. You will feel like such a rock star each time you ramp up to the distance to a number that previously seemed impossible to you! After the race, you will be able to think: “Hey, I ran a marathon. I can do anything.”
- You will make new friends. Last week I wrote about how awesome it is to run with a buddy. While training for a marathon, chances are you will find a training partner. You will start to see the same runners on your trails. You may join a training group. Or maybe you will somehow stumble across other runners who are training for the same race as you are. I have met so many awesome folks while training for and running marathons, and you will too.
- You will inspire others. In the year and a half since I ran my first marathon, I’ve inspired a coworker and my husband to both sign up for the marathon that was my first (The Richmond Marathon, if you’re looking for a great race). I’ve inspired another coworker to get into running (he just finished his first half marathon a couple months ago). It’s pretty awesome to be able to share my love of running with others, and I guarantee you’ll do the same when you train for a marathon. And yes, a part of that will be because you will talk about it all the time…but that’s cool, right? :).
Of course all that sounds awesome. However I can think of one big reason NOT to run a marathon…if you just simply don’t want to! In my circle of running friends, there are folks who have run marathons, as well as a bunch of runners who haven’t. Sometimes us marathon gals can get a little crazy and want ALL our friends to run marathons as well. However training for a marathon is a huge commitment and if your heart isn’t in it, then focus on what you love instead.
So, have you decided to take the plunge and begin training for a marathon? Or is it just not your thing?
This post first appeared on Women’s Running.