One of the things that makes a running marathon very unique in my opinion is that it’s not just simply something you can wake up and decide to do. It’s something you must prepare for. (Of course that there are those very few freaks of nature who defy the odds, but they are few and far between).
While a lot of other sports such as baseball, soccer, and basketball require a lot practice to achieve a measure of superior skill, if you want you can still go out and play them at a moment’s notice. And while you may not be very good, you can still actively participate. The same cannot be said of marathon running, as being able to complete a 26.2-mile run is something that you must gradually prepare for both physically and mentally. Sure, most anybody can run, but most cannot run continuously for 26.2 miles on a moment’s notice no matter what kind of shape you are in.
With a little more than a week to go until race day, most everyone, elites and first-time marathoners included, have spent the past several months preparing and training for race day. While the primary goal of course is to cross the finish line, another goal that often goes unnoticed, but is as equally important, is simply being “ready”.
Think about it. How many times over the past several months has someone said “are you ready?” I can also guarantee that over the next week or so, you will get asked that question 10 times over. However, if I had to guess, how you answered this question several weeks ago is much different than how you will answer it in the coming week.
While we all train with the vision of race day in our mind, in reality, what we’re really doing is training to make sure that we’re “ready” for race day. Marathon training is not easy, and part of what makes running marathons so rewarding is the road we must take to get there. You experience ups. You experience downs. There are times when you feel on top of the world and times when you question what you are doing. Therefore during the course of your training when someone says, “are you ready?”, it’s very easy to answer with tepid response of “I think so” or “I hope so”, as you are on the path to preparedness but you have not necessarily achieved it. However, with a week to go, my guess is that this answer has now changed to a very earnest “Yes, I’m ready”.
Therefore, before you have even crossed the starting line, by training and preparing for race day, you have already achieved one of the most crucial components to race day success -- the “state of ready”. Simply stated, you are now prepared both physically and mentally for the task before you and by simply being “ready”, you’ve already achieved a state of being that will not only carry you to the starting line but across the finish line as well.
So for the next several days, when anyone asks “are you ready?”, be sure to say “yes!” Not only will you inspire those around you (and silence any critics), you’ll unconsciously inspire yourself. Achieving a “state of ready” when it comes to preparing for a marathon is no small feat, and I can guarantee that simply acknowledging it will help to really motivate you in the coming days leading up to and on race day itself.
And, while I may only be a focus group of one, I know it certainly has for me.
- 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