"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon." - Emil Zatopek, Czech runner; winner of four Olympic gold medals
I have always been told that you will never learn more about yourself than what you learn by running a marathon and that running one is an experience like no other. I just registered for the Portland Marathon and I am looking forward to the experience that Emil Zatopek mentions.
WHY A MARATHON?
Running for the sheer pleasure of running has never appealed to me and growing up I often steered clear of sports that involved long distance runs as a part of preparation. I played football in college and professionally overseas, where the farthest that you ever had to run was 100 yards and that rarely, if ever, happened. Although I have never had the interest in running, I have always looked for ways to challenge myself physically and mentally. Since hanging up my cleats in 2011, my last year playing football in Europe, I have been training, in essence, just to train and stay in shape. I shy away from cardio and use weight training as my main source of physical activity. I wanted something to challenge myself and to train for, like when I had to train for an upcoming football season. It gives your training a purpose, keeps you focused and motivated. What better way to challenge myself than running 26.2 miles (officially 26 miles and 385 yards)? This is why I have signed up for my first ever marathon this Fall.
EXPANDING MY FITNESS HORIZONS
Not only is running a physically demanding sport, but may be one of the most mentally demanding as well. You have to push yourself past your preconceived limits and stay with your training, however tedious it may seem. And unlike sprints that you do training for football, you don't get to rest at the end after a 5-15 second sprint. Rather your workout ends after a 30 minute to a multiple hour run, a weird concept for a athlete who has only done sprints.
THE NEW YOU
I am excited for the "Marathon Experience" and pushing myself like I never have before. I will be participating in multiple races leading up to the Portland Marathon and will be using Hal Higdon's training programs. Add me on Nike+ Running and feel free to share your favorite runs and training secrets. I look forward to the NEW ME during the marathon experience and encourage everyone to find the NEW YOU.
About the Author
Ryan Lockard, CSCS, CSPS is the founder and head trainer of Specialty Athletic Training and is accredited by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Certified Special Populations Specialist. He is a member of the board of directors for the Autism Society of America and the Central Oregon Disability Support Network.