Runners can’t resist the lure of an epic marathon. This year, nearly half a million runners across the country will approach a starting line to experience the agony and ecstasy of running’s premiere event. A marathon isn’t just a road race; it’s a chance to discover what it means to be a hero. The 26.2-mile race can be merciless and unforgiving. As marathon legend Bill Rodgers once said, “The marathon can humble you.” Before impulsively deciding to tackle a marathon, consider the following questions to determine if you are truly ready. Glory doesn’t come cheap.
You’ll be running 4 to 6 days every week for several months leading up to race day. Your longest training runs may take up to 3 hours to complete. Even post-run rituals of stretching, foam rolling, icing or napping take up significant time.
The marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 miles, or 26 miles 385 yards), usually run as a road race. The event was instituted in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Philippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, who reported the victory.
The marathon was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921. More than 500 marathons are held throughout the world each year, with the vast majority of competitors being recreational athletes as larger marathons can have tens of thousands of participants.
Fitting training into a busy schedule is one of the biggest obstacles for most runners. No more late nights—especially before your weekend long runs. Muscle soreness and general fatigue are normal side effects of marathon training. The best recovery tool is your bed. You’ll need 8 to 9 hours of sleep to stay healthy.