Nearly five years ago, I ran my first and only marathon. In spite of having run regularly for most of my life, training for that marathon proved to be a huge challenge! Each and every long run beat me up, I was exhausted, and I got injured. I made it through the race, but just barely. At the time, and even years later, I chalked my difficulties up to being a newbie at focused training. I thought my inexperience with workouts and long runs alone could account for what I had experienced. But here I am five years later, now a seasoned middle-distance racer with many workouts and long runs under my belt and now I’m training for my second marathon. To my surprise, it is no easier. I am still struggling.
Most would agree marathon training takes a profound physical and mental toll. And yet, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like there are post after post showing joy-filled, glowing people reveling post-long run or race. Marathon participation is soaring; the most recent data from Running USA, the 2014 Annual Marathon Report, cites 2013 as a blockbuster year for marathons, in spite of the Boston Marathon bombings and several other large marathon cancellations. In the 1,100 marathons that were run in the US that year, all-time highs were set for male finishers (308,400 finishers), female finishers (232,600 finishers), and Masters finishers (254,300 finishers). I have many friends, serial marathoners, who vigorously extol the virtues of this iconic race distance.
So who are the people who can’t seem to get enough of the marathon? Read more >>