What distinguishes a Marathon running event from all the other hundreds you might be able to take part in? Why bother with the whole slog of training? Why not choose the more manageable race sizes that can actually fit into your schedule without changing anything? These may be three good questions. But they have easy answers all of which testify to how and why a marathon is worth every second.
1. It’s a really special run
There is something really incredible about marathons. It is utterly filled to the brim with an atmosphere of achievement, happiness and support. There is something wonderful in the endless supply of people who are there for others — whether it’s runners fundraising for charities, spectators cheering from the sidelines, or strangers simply being friendly, the whole community seems to come together to celebrate every gruelling hour you’ve spent working your way to that start (and finish) line.
2. It’s an amazing (CV worthy) life achievement
Completing a marathon is the ultimate life goal. You’ll always remember that you did it, how hard you worked for it and the sense of achievement you had after completing it. Demonstrating quite a few of the qualities employers no doubt look for, it makes for even a completely legitimate thing to have on your CV.
3. You’ll feel fabulous
Marathon training will clean you out and up. It will tone you massively, you’ll likely lose excess weight, feel lighter on your feet and you will just be that bit stronger. You’ll find everything from walking up stairs to dancing slightly more pleasurable as you exist with a general level of fitness that just makes life easier.
4. It is just generally healthy
Running will lower your cholesterol. It will strengthen your heart. It will deal with high blood pressure. And it will harden your immune system. All in all you’ll be a healthier you without even paying for it in butter-less toast.
5. It will give you an absolute life focus
Either you’re in need of something to kick your life into a bit of structure, or you need a break from the monotony of your very structured office work. Marathon training can be the ultimate remedy — true, it’s time consuming, but not unmanageably so. You can absolutely fit it in to ordinary days in a way that simply forces you to be more efficient and productive with your time. There are definitely more hours in the day that you think, and training for something as momentous as a marathon will force you to realise (and enjoy) that.
6. You’ll sleep better
It’s not just the night after the race that you’ll (well-deservedly) sleep like a baby. The runner’s privilege is being able to fall into bed and that being the end of it. To be physically rather than mentally tired serves as the ultimate gift— you’ll wake up more refreshed, work more productively and hopefully won’t need the routine morning double espresso anymore.
7. You’ll improve your diet
Eating a little better when running or feeling fit is a natural progression. You no longer fancy the greasy burger in the same way as you did before. But you also don’t have the guilt if you do. You’ll probably end up eating food that keeps you feeling great, and not feel it as any kind of sacrifice (it really is one of life’s biggest mysteries).
8. You’ll even explore your local area
Running around your local area for marathon training is one of its perks. Training is too long to do in the gym on the treadmill, and you’re forced outside for a little variation at the very least. You will probably find that you don’t ordinarily seem to have the time to explore your city, and be amazed by what you see — including realising how short the distances you travel on the underground travel system really are. It’s a pretty amazing wake-up to how little you knew about the place you live before.
9. It will give you a love of running
You might swear off all marathons as soon as you’ve completed one. But you will also be fit enough that running shorter distances will seem easy and you’re unlikely to give up running altogether. Once you’ve achieved a certain level of fitness, you’ll find that the hard-work of running is no longer the painful experience it always was. And usually you need a goal to motivate you to get to that point. So if you want to set yourself up as a runner, booking onto a marathon is a pretty good place to start.