The longest parade you’ve ever seen is happening in New York City right now. 50,000 humans will travel 26.2 miles during the New York City Marathon this morning, afternoon, and evening. Spectators will line the streets to cheer them on. They might know a few, but most are strangers to them. Last year, I was one of those strangers. If you think it’s as awesome as it sounds, you’re right! Think it sounds crazy, well, you’re also right. If you think it’s impossible… that’s where you’re wrong.
You could run a marathon. It’s not as far-fetched as you may think.
Listen, I’m not going to lie to you. Running my first marathon was hard. But I did it. I’m no Olympian, either. It took me over 6 hours to get from the start to finish. It was morning when I got going. When I crossed the finish line, it was getting dark. I fought through leg cramps along the way and I almost quit. But I did it, and so can you.
This thing we call “running” is simple: Just get from the Start to the Finish under your own power. For those of us who can walk, it’s just putting one foot in front of the other. If you’re differently-abled, then you do it your way. That’s all there is to it.
Don’t Worry About How Fast You Are
Don’t worry about how fast you are going. Speed is relative. Think of it this way: Standing perfectly still you are already traveling about 1,000 miles per hour as the Earth rotates. You’re moving 67,000 miles per hour around the sun! Whatever else you can add to that is gravy. It doesn’t matter what you call it either. Running, Jogging, Speedwalking, Power-walking, or just plain walking… the important thing is that you are moving.
Don’t believe me? I’ve seen all types of people running races. Old, young, heavy, thin, pregnant, disabled, cancer survivors… you name it, we can find someone who has run a marathon who has faced similar challenges.
So, What’s the Catch?
The catch is that you can’t just wake up and do it all in one day. You have to start small and add the miles little by little. As you go, you’ll get better and better. The real difficulty is making the time for it and sticking with it.
A lot of things in life are like that. But nothing happens unless you start.
The New York City Marathon had been on my bucket list for a long time. Oddly enough, it was my love of Disney that got me on the path to crossing it off my list. The runDisney events provided the atmosphere and motivation for me to train and tackle the smaller steps on my way to a bigger goal. That got me hooked, and soon I wanted to add that NYC medal to my collection.
Your motivation may be totally different. The benefits to running are numerous. Your health will improve. It relieves stress. You’ll have more energy and creativity. You’ll have all these fancy medals to show off to your friends.
All you have to do is start. Local 5ks are a good starting point. There are many training plans for people of all abilities. If you’re new and starting from scratch, check out the “Couch to 5k” plan to get you started. The Jeff Galloway run/walk method is a popular one for many novice runners as well.
Find someone to run with so you don’t feel alone. Let friends and family know your goals to help keep you accountable. If you can’t find anyone, drop me a line.
Some Tips I’ve Learned:
- Always a good idea to consult your physician before jumping into new activity.
- Get a good pair of running shoes that fit your running style. Running stores can analyze your gait and foot.
- Hydrate and Fuel your body.
- Don’t increase mileage drastically. Take it easy.
- Keep your music low enough so you can hear cars and other people.
- Run against traffic and be cautious at intersections and curves.
- Run with a buddy if you can. If not, let someone know where you are running.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing, especially at night.
Use Apps and Tech to track your progress
- Garmin Watches
- C25K Mobile App
- Runkeeper App (tracking runs)
- MyFitness Pal App (tracking exercise and nutrition)
- MapMyRun (finding and creating running routes)
- Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music for playlists.
Getting into the New York City Marathon
Now, there are many marathons across the world. The New York City Marathon is just one of the most well-known. It’s an amazing experience. I think the best way to describe it is as a 26-mile-long block party. It can be tough to get an entry into the New York City Marathon as the demand is high and they use a lottery system for general entry. But, you can also guarantee yourself entry if you meet certain qualifying times or by running for charity. If you are in the New York City area, you can also earn entry by running 9 NYRR races and volunteering at at least one other.
I didn’t get selected through the lottery for my first marathon, so I ran with Team For Kids. This year, I tried the lottery again but wasn’t selected. I’ll be throwing my name into the lottery again next year. I’ll also be registering for the Philadelphia Marathon to keep myself motivated. I may even sign up to run the Walt Disney World Marathon in January of 2018.
So, who is with me???
Talk to me. Do you want to run a marathon? What’s holding you back?