The Five Stages of Marathon Running
Stage #1 Preregistration – I can do this! Maybe you have been running for years or you have just started and somehow you notice this race called the marathon and you begin to get curious. At some point you notice that a family member, a friend or maybe a co-worker ran a marathon. At that point you begin to wonder if, Tom, Sally or Bernie can do it, Can I? Then the talk shows or nightly news channels highlighted a story of some random “A-list” celebrity who ran NYC, Boston or Chicago. This fact pushed you over the edge, “If Oprah, Pamela Anderson and Will Ferrell can run a marathon, so can I.” You have entered the “I can do this stage” of Marathon Running.
Stage #2 After the click – Can I do this? From scanning the depths of the internet to scanning the glossy full page adds in the running publication you finally select the perfect marathon venue for you. All your running friends had opinions, “it should be a flat course” while others encouraged you to find one “with a lot of crowd support.” But in the end you decide on the marathon that spoke to you. With your mouse pointer hovering over the submit button, about ready to commit nearly 100 hard earned dollars your mind pauses. Can I? With all the gusto you can measure, right before chickening out you click away. With that simple action, you have entered the “Can I Do This” Stage of Marathon Running.
Stage #3 Training for the race – Wow it’s really hard to do this. The money is committed. That you plan to run a marathon has been expertly crafted into all your conversations. Everyone in your social circle is well aware that you have signed up. Your training log is beginning to fill up with expanding weekly mileages. The routine miles have stretched from 6 to 10 and 10 to 15 and finally the “Daddy” of long runs is staring you in the face. Pushing off for your first 20 mile run your steely resolve shows it’s first crack. With a hint of self-doubt you have arrived at the “Wow, it’s really hard to do this” stage of marathon running.
Stage #4 26.2 miles is a long way, I’ve got to do this. Now as you stare down at your feet which are covered in the bright fabric of your favorite running shoes it hits you. “I’ve got to run 26.2 miles.” Before you ever take that first step you wonder if it’s possible, did all those other people have something special in them. The miles are done. The money has been spent. Gone are the early morning wake ups. Your family and some special friends got up early and ventured out to support you on your day. The talking is over and the 20 milers are a thing of the past. Today you simply have to run…26.2 miles. Today you are at home in the “I’ve GOT to do this” stage of Marathon Running.
Stage #5 Success – Once you have completed your first marathon, there’s nothing that can take that accomplishment away from you. You’re a “Marathoner.” Your lungs may burn for a few hours. The soreness in your back may linger into the night. The pain in your legs may last a few days. The pride in your heart will carry you until the pain fades and you begin to think about running another. With great pride and beaming confidence you have arrived at the “SUCCESS – when my next marathon” stage of Marathon Running. Then the cycle starts all over again!