Monday, October 25, 2010

Top Ten Reasons to Run a Marathon or 1/2 Marathon

There are many reasons to run in general. I could list at least a hundred reasons and benefits from the top of my head right now. That's not the point of this post. The point of this post is to explain why you should consider running a half or full marathon. These longer distances pose different challenges and benefits that will allow you to develop as a distance runner in ways you cannot at shorter distances such as 5 or 10k.

1) The accomplishment:  Probably the best feeling of my life was finishing a marathon. It is an emotional experience and accomplishment like no other.

2) The healthy lifestyle: It's hard to be a marathoner or 1/2 marathoner and not be conscious of how you take care of yourself. Most distance runners are healthy people. It is good for you physically (heart, lungs, better immune system) and emotionally.

3) Fight stress: Ever had a bad day and went out for a run after? It's like medicine. As your feet hit the ground you can literally feel your stress leaving your body. Sometimes you'll experience what people call the "runner's high". It's a great feeling being out there and letting go.

4) Time for yourself: We're always so busy with work and family and sometimes we forget to take time for ourselves. Running can be that time for you. Your hour a day to connect with your body and mind and do something for you.

5) Build yourself up: As you run longer distances and finish races that include 1/2 and full marathons, you will feel the confidence to keep going - both in your running and in other things in your life. Running builds you up and gives you courage and self-esteem.

6) Weight loss or maintenance: For those looking to lose weight or even just maintain a healthy weight, running long distance is a great way to accomplish that. You can also enjoy eating a balanced diet and splurging on things you love knowing that you have that "long run" coming up.

7) Enjoy the outdoors: Distance running is a sport meant to be enjoyed outdoors. As you're planning your longer runs you can explore new places and you can travel to races all over the world and experience new things and scenery. You can even just discover things you don't notice while in a car.

8) Add structure to your life: Many people ask me how I am able to work, take care of my daughter and train so diligently. The answer is scheduling. An endurance athlete has to plan things. When you train for long distance races, you will become better at scheduling in your key workouts. Remember to focus every week on one day of speed (faster than goal race pace), one day of long, slow distance and one day of tempo (race pace) in addition to your everyday mileage.

9) Enjoy the Experience: As a runner you will meet new people, see new places, compete with yourself in new races, rerun old races, create experiences that you may otherwise not have. Most of my closest friends today are runners. They know how to work hard and play hard and enjoy the experience.

10) Charity: Although not a primary motivator for all, it is certainly respectable to run a long distance race such as a marathon for charity or in memory of someone you love, lost or respect. There are many teams that will train people to participate in events. Some of those teams include Livestrong, Team in Training, etc.

Whatever your motivation, I strongly encourage you to get out there and train and race. Run a 1/2 marathon or a marathon. You can do it and you will be able to look back and remember how good you felt about yourself!


  1. Nice post Pam, great reminders on why we do this. Running is a paradox in that it is a selfish activity yet it makes one a better person.

  2. Thanks Greg - agree it can be seen as selfish - of course we think it is a "good selfish"