I won’t be the first to tell you that running a marathon takes a lot of hard work. Most training programs last anywhere from 14 to 18 weeks and over the course of that time period you’ll log literally hundreds of miles. And what for? A few hours of running on a single day culminating the entire experience in a celebration of all of your hard work and dedication. Now, for a first-timer like myself, that is a lot of pressure on a single day, a single run. That pressure cannot amount to a lot of anxiety the week leading up to race day. But remember when I said this is a “celebration?” Well, it’s true.
My marathoner friends tell me I’m ready. I’ve logged every workout, tackled my 20-milers and (knock on wood) have made it to race weekend relatively injury-free. As I write this on the plan ride out to California, I found a note one of my coworkers and friend, left on my desk in the middle of this past week. She outlined 10 reasons why she is confident I’m going to “rock Big Sur.” The note was genuine and helped put me at ease. It was also too good not to share, so I’m sorry Megan but I’m putting you on blast and letting everyone know why they shouldn’t be afraid to run their first marathon either.
- “You’ve conquered 10th Street how many times? Like a million. Look at your log and count the number. It’ll surprise you.”- 10th Street is a very hilly road near work that we use for hill workouts and hill runs are vital to Big Sur preparation. But this is good advice for any first-timer- look over your log, look at your workouts, your miles. You’ve come SO far.
- “You dominated your 20-milers. I remember how nervous you were before it and how ecstatic you were when you finished it successfully.” –This is true, I was scared out of my mind for both 20-milers but I finished both of them feeling strong and happy. Even if your 20-milers weren’t perfect, you still managed to get them done and that’s what counts. You can cover the miles, what’s 6.2 more?
- “You did all the little things- you’ve done enough core/strength/yoga for the both of us. You’re strong girl!” – This is true and every first-timer should try to incorporate as much core, strength and yoga exercises to supplement their running as possible. I credit all of that to getting to the starting line injury-free.
- “You followed your plan to a T. I’ve never seen someone so committed to a plan- that means you’re prepared.” – Again, yes I may have been a little neurotic in sticking to my plan but as a first-timer, I didn’t know how to train for a marathon so I figured following a training plan as close as possible would be the best way to learn.
- “You’ve actually seen your progress- figure out how much your average pace has dropped since you started. Instant confidence booster.” – I’m not the only one who has seen a change in pace throughout marathon training. Many of my other runner friends said training for a marathon made them faster overall and it was definitely a confidence booster.
- “Unless a landslide falls on you, you will finish. This is your only goal for your first 26.2 and there’s absolutely no reason you won’t make it.” – True, my only goal is to finish and I would advice other first-time marathoners to have the same goal. Time doesn’t matter because you really don’t know what to expect. If your goal is to just finish it’s a lot easier to handle.
- “You’ve said it yourself that you’re committed to sticking to your game plan. That’s like 95.6 percent of the battle. You’ve got this thing in the bag before it’s even started.” – It’s good to go into any race with a set game plan but also to be willing to make changes along the way and be flexible depending on how you are feeling.
- “If Joey Fatone can do it, you can. Period.” – Enough said.
- “You can bank on those freaking stunning views to get you through the last 6.2 miles. Seriously, your first marathon is Big Sur…. Umm… Awesome!” – True. Big Sur is rated one of the top marathons in the country and it is on many people’s bucket lists of races. I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to run my first marathon at Big Sur.
- “You’ve made it to the starting line healthy and ready to go. Remember, the race is just a celebration of all the hard work, dedication, freezing cold miles, and sacrifices you’ve made to get there. There’s no pressure. You’ve got this!”
It’s true, there really isn’t any pressure on me and like everyone has told me, you only run your first marathon once. So now that I know I’m ready, I am going to enjoy every mile.