The Boston Marathon is days away and it's an exciting time for anyone who's in the last stages of grueling marathon training. This is the first year since 2010 that I am not running a full marathon. However, I want to pay tribute to the tens of thousands who will run those 26.2 miles this Spring.
For those who are running in an upcoming marathon, here are 26.2 reasons you're ready for your marathon.
1. You did your long runs
By now, you've completed your longest run: typically 20-22 miles. You've already run 80 percent plus of the race distance. You know that you can run that last stretch to get to 26.2.
2. You will be rested
I can't guarantee that you'll get a good night's sleep the night before your big day, but if you've followed a proper training plan I know you'll have tapered. You will have gone three to fours weeks without a significant run (by marathon training standards) and your body will be rested.
3. You'll finish
Over 90 percent of entrants completed the Boston Marathon, arguably the hardest marathon of all, last year. The chances are heavily on your side that you will complete your marathon.
4. You'll be lighter
Your body may not weigh less on race day, especially after a carbo-load week. However, you're carrying more than your body. One thing you won't need to carry is a hydration pack on your waist since there will be water awaiting you along the course. That means a reduction of three pounds you have to lug around. Less weight means an easier run and even a faster one.
5. Crowds will motivate you
All the lonely runs by yourself prepping will be well behind you on marathon day. Along the way, you'll have crowded streets with excited onlookers cheering you on. Signs. Balloons. If you're lucky, some familiar faces. These will bring you extra energy.
6. It's your first (or not)
You've either run a marathon before or not. If you have, you know you can do it. If you haven't, you've got that extra motivation to accomplish one of the greatest challenges of your life.
7. You'll be hydrated
Even if you did your training runs with a full belt, vest, or other reservoir of water, you likely didn't have the luxury of sipping a cup of water each and every mile. Volunteers will provide you with water every mile so there's no need to bring it.
8. You'll have electrolytes
All marathons offer some form of electrolyte fluids along the course in addition to water. That Gatorade will prove helpful in refueling you and replenishing lost sodium and potassium.
9. You'll have better weather
Fall and Spring races have a nice advantage over other periods of the year: the weather is perfect for running. You've trained in the freeze (for Spring marathon training) and heat and humidity (for Fall marathon training). You'll race in a nice, mild climate.
10. You'll eat well before
You will avoid fatty foods and eat healthy portions of carbs and proteins that will give you the fuel you need to push through.
11. You'll drink well before
You will abstain from alcohol during the week or two prior to race day. You will take extra time to hydrate yourself by drinking a few additional glasses of water each day.
12. Pacesetters will guide you
Even if you’re not running for time, it will be helpful to see the men and women holding large pace time placards. These visual symbols of your pace will serve to help you manage your energy output and optimize your speed.
13. Your gear is familiar
You know which shoes, shirt, shorts, sunglasses, lubricant, and GPS watch you’ll be using. You’re comfortable with what will be on your body because you’ve done many runs in your gear.
14. Your marathon is on a weekend
Most likely your race is on a Sunday (Boston is on a holiday Monday). That means you’ll have time to get settled if you’re traveling and have a chance to de-stress from work and avoid distraction.
15. You've trained
You’ll followed a regimen for four months or more, gradually increasing your run distances and speeds over time. Millions have followed a similar plan and succeeded in crossing the finish line.
16. You’ll have camaraderie
Even if you’re running the race by yourself… you’re not. Along the way, you’ll feel a great sense of solidarity – especially as you take on the last miles and push through together. Other participants want you to succeed and will support you.
17. You’ll have a name tag
You still have time to get a customized shirt with your name on it. I highly recommend this. It’s amazing how good it feels when you’re signaled out of the race crowd and strangers cheer you on by name due to simply putting your name on your bib or shirt.
18. You will be inspired
Last year, when I ran the New York City marathon, I saw multiple disabled participants – including one runner on two prosthetic legs. Your fellow runners have overcome a variety of challenges and witnessing their fortitude in action will inspire you.
19. You will inspire others
For one day, there is no doubt that you are a role model. Most people can’t fathom the task that you are undertaking and are in awe of your dedication.
20. You’ll rest after
After the race, you’ll have plenty of time to relax. Experts recommend taking off as much as one month prior to running again in order to recover. After months of a multiple-run week schedule, you’ll have some time to rest. This is your last hoorah prior to this well-deserved break.
21. You’re not too old
Unlike most sports, long-distance running is great for people of all ages. You think you’re too old to run a marathon? Nope. Each year, many people in their 70s and 80s cross the finish line. The oldest person to complete a marathon is Fauja Singh, who crossed the finish line when he was 100 years old.
22. Oprah did it
In 1994, Oprah Winfrey ran the Marine Corps Marathon. She broke 4:30. Not bad at all. Other celebrities who have completed marathons include Ted Koppel, Drew Carey, and Al Roker. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t consider any of these celebs athletes, yet they did it and so will you.
23. You’ve made a commitment
You may be running to raise money for charity, or to bring attention to a cause, or to prove to others that you can do it. More importantly, you made a commitment to yourself that you will reach your goal.
24. The miles will fly by
People are usually surprised at how quickly the race goes by. It’s amazing how fast you pass the miles as you’re caught up in the excitement of the day’s event.
25. The second wind phenomenon is real
Energy levels ebb and flow throughout the long race. The concept of a second wind – a sudden performance boost after a period of fatigue – is real. Scientists hypothesize that it comes from “a release of pain- and stress-relieving endorphins from the pituitary gland.”
26. You have faith
You’ve visualized yourself confidently rushing the finish line countless times. You know you can do it and you believe in yourself.
26.2 That swag is yours
You get to wear that finisher medal and jacket and other cool swag once you win. For one day, and perhaps more, you'll be able to wear your medal with pride. You won’t forget this day and you’ll have cool swag as a reminder.
I hope that those of you in the last stages of your fall marathon prep feel encouraged by this post. We at Flyte Fitness wish you all the best with your races! We'd love to hear from you. Is there anything important that we missed? Comment on our Facebook page at facebook.com/flytefitness or tweet us at @flytefitness.
Be Flyte Fit,
Co-Founder & CEO