As anyone whoís ever run a marathon knows, while the actual race is a challenge unto itself, an almost bigger challenge is the commitment it takes to get ready for race day. While running a marathon is often recognized by the fact that you completed a 26.2 mile race, one of the more understated aspects of running in a marathon is what it takes to get yourself ready so that youíre actually able to complete this feat.
What Iím referring to here is the training and dedication goes into getting yourself ready to actually run on race day. However for many people including myself, what can make training such a challenge is simply finding the time thatís required to do so. In short, marathon training is not something that can just be approached in a haphazard manner, but rather it needs to be approached in way prepares you both physically and mentally for race day, and that takes time.
In order to ensure that I donít let my work day get the best of me, Iíve always been a morning person when training during the week. While this does involve the alarm going off between 5 Ė 5:30am Monday-Friday, it ensures that I get my training out of the way first thing in the morning. Therefore, by taking this approach it ensures that if I get caught-up at work or if something comes up during the that requires my attention in the evening, my scheduled run does not get put off, as its what Iím actually starting my day with, versus finishing it.
As for the weekends, while time is not much of a factor early in the training process, it does become a challenge in the weeks a leading up to race day, as this is when most of us are doing our longer runs. This often means looking at the weekend and planning your social calendar and other weekend activities around when you are going to be doing your long run. Anything thatís going to involve blocking out several hours of your time, means you have to plan around it, so as to ensure other things you were planning on doing get scheduled accordingly. I have to say that at times having to explain this to wives, kids, families and friends can be as challenging as the run itself, particularly when it means putting certain things off or having to change your scheduled plans.
The subject of coordinating your training schedule with those around you is something that I have dealt with in a very direct manner this training season. The reason being is that Iím a new father with a five month old son. While previously I was really only bound to my own schedule when it came to training, with my son in the picture I need to coordinate my training schedule with that of my wife to ensure that weíre there to meet his needs and schedule. On top of this, doing things such as 3am feedings and then still getting out the door for a run at 5:30am, has posed entirely new training challenges that I could never have conceived of prior to his birth! While I will say that the birth of my son has posed a whole new set to training challenges for me this year, I would not trade it for the world and I can not wait to seem him on race day, when Iím running through Washington Square in Brookline!!!
Running a marathon is really a true test of will and commitment on so many different levels. While race day and crossing the finish line is what will most likely create the memories youíll take with you for the rest of your life, take some time to reflect on all that you did to just get to the starting line. In short, anyone whoís ever lined up at starting line knows that just getting to that point is a marathon unto itself and in my opinion this is one of the many things that make the entire marathon experience so rewarding.
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 15-time Boston qualifier who's completed 11 consecutive Boston Marathons and 23 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 12th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes