Deciding to run a marathon or half marathon for the first time is not too different from what we are experiencing in producing our first marathon; it’s really big, going to require a lot of time and effort, sounds fun and rewarding but where do I start?
Start with what you know. Have you run a 5k or 10k? If so, draw on those experiences for confidence, you are obviously capable of running or walking a significant distance, now you just need to build the capacity to repeat the same actions for a longer duration (this might sound simplistic but the reality is that running is one of the most primal motions the body is designed to do). If you have never run a 5k or 10k, no worries, you still have running experience that you can draw from, even if you have to reach back to your elementary school days. At some point in your life you ran, it might have been a while but your body has not forgotten the motion.
Start with who you know. Who do you know that has run a marathon or half marathon successfully? Seek out people you know who have accomplished what you want to accomplish. If you’re not sure you know someone, ask on your facebook or twitter page if anyone has run a marathon before, you might be surprised how many people you know who have marathon medals hanging on their dresser.
Find out what you don’t know. Drawing on your past experiences running, pieced together with what you learn from people who have run a marathon, what are the things you didn’t know about running longer distances? Create a list of the things you didn’t or don’t know, such as: how often should I hydrate? Water or Gatorade? What should I eat before I run? Should I eat while I run? Do I need different shoes? What kind of socks should I wear? How do I look good in my race pic’s? etc.
Get out and run! “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao-tzu You don’t have to have all of the answers before you begin, you simply must begin. There will be plenty of time to learn “what you don’t know”, the trick is to not let “what you don’t know” keep you from doing “what you do know”. Where do you start? Right where you are…by taking the first “single step”.