I’ve had a few people ask me why I decided to run a marathon (and more than a few ask my why I’ve done more than one…that’s a different post).
That first question is not a simple one for me to answer. At some point in 2009 I got it in my head that I wanted to run a full. I had no real reason to go beyond a half marathon, but I just felt deep down inside like it was something I wanted to take on.
I didn’t really understand back then what was involved in terms of training and commitment. But one thing I did know is that I was committing not to running a marathon, but rather to training for a marathon. I’d looked at the training schedule and knew what was involved. I’d seen a bunch of friends take on the challenge and be successful with it.
And I was ready to give it a shot.
There are a couple of definitions for the word ready. One is the idea of being prepared. For a runner, that means being prepared for what the training schedule brings, and it also means being prepared for the race because of that training. There’s also the idea of something being “in reach” – the campsite has ready access to the beach is an example of this meaning. That’s also part of it. The marathon goal has to be attainable. You need to have the foundation of running to build on. It should be there for the taking.
That notion of “being ready” is something that I think is key to anyone’s marathon journey. If you aren’t ready to make the commitment to training for a marathon, then don’t. It’s really that simple.
This might sound a bit harsh, but you can’t really dabble in the marathon like you can with a 10km or even a half marathon. It’s an all-in kind of endeavour. If you aren’t 100% committed to it before you start, you’d better be soon after, or you’ll find yourself in deep trouble within a month or two.
The months of training aren’t there to help you decide if you can run a marathon or not. They are there to get your body physically ready. Sure, you’ll have your doubts mentally leading up to race day. Can I really do this? Will my legs hold up? That’s normal. I’m heading into my seventh marathon and I still ask myself that most days.
So how do you know that you’re ready? You just do. And if that doesn’t make any sense to you, then maybe it’s because you aren’t actually ready.