5 Joys of Running More than One Marathon

Runners race on road
‘marathon-3753907_1920’ by 995645 on Pixabay.

How many times have you heard someone say “I’d like to run a marathon one day”? Taking on the 26.2 mile challenge seems to be on so many people’s bucket lists. Yet, ironically, this once-in-a-lifetime experience seems to get better the more you do it.  

Rest assured – you are not about to read that running a single marathon is anything less than extraordinary. If you’re about to run your first, congratulations! Completing one is a massive achievement (here are some tips to help you on your way). The willpower, commitment and stamina required to meet the demands of training and pull through on the day are immense.

Yes, running a marathon is hard. But that’s exactly why doing more than one can be extra rewarding. Because, like anything hard, it gets easier the more you do it.

Here are five joys of running more than one marathon:

1. You Know What’s Normal

Runners experience the full range of emotions over the course of a marathon as freshness gives way to fatigue. The highs and lows span the giddy first miles to the dreaded wall. Once you’ve done your first marathon, you know what to expect. So, you can take each phase in your stride.

For instance, you’ll know whether you’re likely to get carried away at the start and shoot off too fast – so you can remind yourself to slow the pace. You’ll know which miles you find toughest – so you can psyche yourself up early (these tips may work). You’ll know when you’re at most risk of hitting the wall and whether cheers from the crowd will motivate or distract you. Ultimately, you’ll know what is normal for you. Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes.

2. You’ve Tested Your Strategy

Your marathon performance depends on many variables. Your pre-race routine, what gear you use on the day, your fuelling strategy – these factors (and more) can help or hinder your race.

Once you’ve completed more than one marathon, you’ll have a better idea what works for you. So, you can give yourself the best chance of success and approach the start line with confidence.

3. Master the Distance

In the lead-up to your first marathon, seasoned runners may have told you mysteriously to ‘respect the distance’. At some point during the race, you’ll have understood what they meant. Pacing is key to marathon-running and holding something back for those weary, final miles is essential. Slow and steady trumps reckless abandon.

As a first-timer, you may have set out to show those 26.2 miles who is boss. You may have dashed away enthusiastically at the start. Yet as you struggled to the finish line, you felt like the distance got the better of you after all. Reaching the finish line is one thing. But knowing you’ve mastered the distance is another. Once you have more than one finisher’s medal to your name, you know your triumph was no accident.

4. Clearer Goals

When you signed up for your first marathon, your aim may have been simply to finish the race – no matter how long it took. So, you may have had no idea what kind of finish time was realistic.

Some crude formulas exist to predict finish times. A common calculation is to double your half-marathon finish time and add fifteen minutes. However, this will only give you a ballpark figure. You’ll only know what you’re capable of once you’ve done it.

After you’ve completed your first marathon, you’ll have a tangible finish time. So, you’ll be able to set clearer goals in the future.

5. A Repeatable Formula

If your training plan got you through your first marathon, you can be reasonably sure it will work again in the future. You have a repeatable formula to train for future events. So, you’ll know exactly what steps you need to take to reach the finish line once more. Indeed, marathon training can change your outlook on running altogether. So, you may have learned lessons that will help you prepare for races of all distances.

For some, ticking a marathon off the bucket list will be joy enough. However, if you choose to tackle the distance again, you may be pleasantly surprised. The more marathons you complete, the more confident, better prepared and properly equipped you will be to complete what is often accepted as a lifetime accomplishment.

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