There are no short cuts in marathon training. It simply requires lots of time. At the peak, most marathoners have spent about eight hours of their week doing nothing more than running. That doesn’t even include the time spent preparing, stretching, or recovering. Needless to say, it’s true dedication and time consuming. While there’s no way around the time commitment, there are plenty of ways to make the most out of that time on your feet.
One of the greatest gifts running gives me is solitude. When I’m on an easy morning run, I get to be completely alone with my thoughts. I get to ponder without interruption, figure out dilemmas, and sometimes I simply get to – just be. I contest that my mornings start out better than most people’s. I’m not immediately bombarded with the responsibilities of the day, the mess in the kitchen from dinner, or even the well-meaning, “hey, Mommy! Look at this.” The long miles let me collect myself and remind myself who I want to be. The time alone, taking care of me, is truly a gift to myself.
A few of my other pleasures while out on the road covering lots of miles are music and books. I rarely have the time to read or listen to music in my busy days. I love loading a brand new album and taking the whole thing in from track one to finish. I also love creating the most embarrassing playlists, full of guilty pleasure songs. I can’t get away with blasting those around others, but when it’s just me and my earbuds, I struggle not to sing aloud. Furthermore, I have listened to the most wonderful books while running. Books that would have taken me months to read, I’ve finished in a few long runs. Listening to J.K. Rowling finish up the saga that is Harry Potter, while pushing my body through the miles, will always remain one of my favorite memories. I came home with tears in my eyes that day.
While running offers rejuvenating solo time, the single-most benefit to training for a marathon has been the friendships I’ve gained during long runs. Most training plans call for a longer run at the end of the week. These runs are best managed with a group. When there are people around, the miles click off much faster. When things get tough, the conversation can make you forget the fatigue. After you’ve shared a season of training with a group of people, they become more than friends, they become “war buddies.” You each have seen each other at your sweatiest and you’ve helped carry each other through the miles. Additionally, on race day, you have a “gang of brothers” fighting the battle at your side.
Yes, marathoning requires one to give up a huge chunk of their time. It requires discipline and dedication. However, those who continue to train season after season also know that the time on the road is full of reward, if you choose to use your time wisely.
by Lacy Hansen from DietsInReview.com