Running a marathon is not easy. At least that’s what I’ve heard. I’ve never actually run one myself. But I will be able to call myself a marathoner this May, as I hit the streets of Vancouver with thousands of others in the BMO Vancouver Marathon. I have no idea what it takes to get there including the work that’s involved, mentally and physically. I started training about a month ago, on Jan. 1, and already so much has happened.
I’m going to share with you my experiences as a new marathon runner. Hell, call me a newly revamped runner. (After injuring myself in high school I would run on-and-off for the next 12 years so long as my old injuries didn’t flare up.) It’s going to be embarrassing (for me) and hopefully relatable (for you).
When I first started this journey, I had all these thoughts popping into my head. I’m so slow. I want to eat everything. Does everyone have this much crotch sweat? Will I look bad if I have to stop and walk up this hill to catch my breath?
I found it difficult to find anyone to relate to, anyone who was also sharing these questionable and curious thoughts about being a beginner runner. I was nervous to reach out to more experienced runners I followed on Instagram, and wasn’t totally sure who to turn to in my small town in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley. So I kept to myself and slowly started to figure some things out. For example, I kind of know what a tempo run is now and that some days you need to let yourself have a nap on a Tuesday afternoon. This ever-expanding list of findings is what I want to share with you, so that you don’t feel alone like I did in the beginning. Running, while often a solo adventure, has an incredible community backing it. And we’re all part of it. So let’s figure it out together.
I’m now on my fifth week of marathon training and I’m starting to feel like, yes, I actually have a shot at finishing this race without being carried across the finish line on a stretcher surrounded by medical professionals. It takes guts to sign up for a race, whether it’s a marathon or a 10K. It takes even more guts to run several times a week, follow your strength workouts and cross-training plans, get enough good food and sleep, and try to have a life. Acknowledging your goals is a huge deal and you shouldn’t discredit that. It’s not easy. But if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that it’s totally worth it.
Happy running, friends.
P.S.: I felt the need to remind myself of the definition of a tempo run. So, in case you were wondering, a tempo run is any run that is done at a steady pace. It’s not a build-up run, with faster miles in between a warmup and cool down like I keep thinking it is. We all need a refresher sometimes.
Meaghan Archer is a writer, runner, and yoga teacher based in Penticton, B.C. She’s currently training for the BMO Vancouver Marathon, and will run the Chicago Marathon in fall 2018.