I have learnt about the story behind Marathon during my history classes in high school. The legend states that the Greek messenger ran a full distance from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens. He has announced the battle victory and immediately collapsed dead.
I always loved running, it provides me a great feeling of achievement for my mental and physical health. Running a marathon was always my aspiration but it felt so IMPOSSIBLE, especially when remembering the original legend. It has stayed as a forgotten dream for a while until I have met a colleague who has inspired me to run my first marathon. I have finished it in 4:04:21 which made me very proud and, more importantly, fearless for the IMPOSSIBLE.
Finishing the full marathon had a very symbolic meaning. It gave me a feeling of being able to achieve anything in life, as long as I dare to dream and go for it. So how did I do it?
Prepare your plan
Please, don’t be naïve. Running 42,195km for a non-professional is an ambitious target thus you cannot just apply “Hope” strategy even you are a strong heavy-weight lifter or fit tennis player. You need to create your own personal training plan (e.g. long-distance running, speed training, endurance, heavy weight lifting etc) based on the target time you are aiming for. I would advise to be realistic too, don’t look to the world champions yet. Test your competence with the first marathon and then aim higher accordingly. Don’t underestimate the distance!
Acquire good resources
Once your goal is stretched and it is your first time, tools which you use can make a big difference. Don’t go too “cheap” here and provide yourself with all the required resources such as customized sneakers, proper diet and other equipment. “One size fits all” might not be the best strategy thus don’t be afraid to test and adjust where needed.
Follow and commit to your plan
I think a discipline is the hardest and most important factor to achieve your goal. Making a great plan and acquiring resources is easy but following it through can be a bumpy journey. It is a rainy day, my friends are going out, I am tired.. There are plenty of reasons why you could skip that training day. You skip it once, then another time and maybe another.. Guess what happens? You might still make it but not within your target. It might be enough for some but not for all.
Don’t forget what you have committed, tell your goal to everyone and visualize the medal you are receiving. Believe me, it’s a cool experience and you don’t mind sharing it with others. It will help you to stay motivated and focused. It is no way you can retract after you are in the middle of the journey and please don’t.
If in trouble, ask for help
You will have many cloudy and rainy days. You will also be amazed how many people are willing to help and support once you dare to communicate your ambitious goal. Thus don’t be shy to ask for help! I remember my manager was so determined explaining my colleagues that Agne cannot drink wine during the business dinners. It was so nice to hear someone close to you supporting and not being alone telling the whole story that I don’t drink alcohol during my training period. And for those who think you are crazy, always remember why you have started. It’s no way you can give up.
Enjoy the journey
If you follow the all above, running a marathon is not that difficult. The hardest part is setting your mindset to be disciplined to follow the plan. It’s not easy but worth it! In the end, you need to enjoy the journey and after each victory don’t forget to celebrate.