10 Benefits Of Running First Marathon
So you signed up for your first marathon; learn about the 10 benefits of running your first marathon (because you have absolutely no idea what you are getting yourself into!)
- Finishing a marathon is a tremendous accomplishment. Since 2005, there have been about 382,000 people each year who finish a marathon. This is less than once percent of the population. Just finishing the marathon and getting acknowledgement for it is an excellent benefit to doing one.
- Most marathoners don't run to win. One benefit of running your first marathon is that you know you're not going to win and no one expects you to win. Other marathoners tend to be less competitive (provided you aren't trying to qualify for the Olympic Trials). Unlike other races, it is okay to talk to other runners during a marathon and even run with them.
- You haven't hit "the wall." If you are running your first marathon, you have probably heard about "the wall", that point in the race described as "an elephant that jumps onto your shoulders and makes you carry it the rest of the way." It has been likened to Justice Potter Stewart's statement about porn; it is hard to describe, but "I know it when I see it". In the case of marathon running, you'll know it when you"hit it".
- You don't know what you are getting yourself into. Another benefit of running your first marathon is that you really don't know how hard it is. There are, of course, some exceptions. Terra Smith, a competitive collegiate club runner, ran her first marathon in 3 hours and 23 minutes. She qualified for Boston and "didn't think it was that hard." Bear in mind, though, that she is one of those obnoxious people who are beyond normal.
- You get to say that you ran a marathon. Completing your first marathon is especially impressive to non-runners. It seems to be the only thing they care about when it comes to discussing running. Furthermore, they won't understand what your finish time means, so even if it takes you six hours to finish, their response will be , "Wow! You ran for six hours?!"
- You get a shirt. Of course, everyone gets a shirt. Some people only run a marathon to get the "[insert marathon name] finisher" shirt. You first finisher shirt is the most exciting.
- If you have to stop, you can. If you need to walk during your first marathon, there is no shame in doing so. You will see lots of other people walking. If you need some Gatorade and/or water, there are usually stations set up every couple of miles. There are also restrooms on marathon courses. Don't worry about having to go in the woods, like during some 5ks.
- There are pacers. One of the most difficult things about running your first marathon is pacing. At the start of the race you will want to go out fast because of all that adrenaline, but that is the last thing you should do. Fortunately there are "pacers" so if you know what pace you have the ability to run, you can run behind one of these people.
People will be cheering for you. Marathons tend to draw large crowds. You will need a lot of encouragement when running your first marathon and having the a crowd cheering you on really helps. A lot of marathons let you put your name on your bib number, so people can yell out your name while you are running.
- You are entitled to eat whatever you want. After running your first marathon, you will need to replenish your body. Most marathons host an "after party". Now that your training is over, you can have that pint of beer, or plate of pasta (or both).
Latta, Sara. (2003). "Hitting the Wall." Marathon and Beyond, (12)11.