Why Everyone Needs to Run at Least One Marathon

Running a marathon is a big deal. That’s the reality of it. Taking your body an entire 26.2 miles on only your feet with some squishy foam underneath them is a tremendous feat of human endurance. Which explains in part why only 0.5% of the U.S. population has run a marathon. It’s like… really hard.

While race day is a big deal and demands so much of a runner, that doesn’t even take into account the months of training that lead up to a marathon. Rarely does a person toe the start line of a marathon without hundreds of miles under their feet leading up to that point.

If you have run the distance, you know; running a marathon can break you. You are usually running long enough to have watched two movies. It’s long enough to start questioning why you signed up for this in the first place. It’s long enough to run through your real ‘WHY’ and what brought you to the start line to begin with. It’s long enough to break you down and make you cry when you finally see the finish line. It’s long enough to make you question everything about yourself and long enough to find the answers.

The reality is running a marathon is such a daunting goal, but it can CHANGE YOUR LIFE. I’ve experienced it firsthand and I want to encourage you, if you are considering signing up for a marathon or a distance that seems impossible for you, there is so much goodness that can come from training for a big race. 

Which is why I personally think everyone should have the marathon on their bucket list (unless, of course, you are physically unable to do it per your doctor). It changes you, it really does.

Here are a few ways running marathons has changed me and continues to change me:

  1. It teaches me how to keep a schedule and how to hold myself accountable.

  2. It teaches me about my body and my actual limits versus my perceived limits

  3. It connected me with like-minded people

  4. It teaches me to accept the things I cannot control

  5. It allows me to celebrate myself

All amazingly good things, right?

Let’s do a little story time and dive deep into one of these big changes I have experience from running a marathon. TEACHING ME ABOUT MY BODY. This is huge for me. As someone who had an eating disorder I have a natural distrust of my body and it’s signals because I learned to ignore them through my ED days and have slowly needed to learn to listen to it again. I remember gearing up for my first marathon ever I was skeptical if I would even be able to finish because I knew my body was weak from years of suffering with bulimia. I wanted to prove to myself that I was recovering and that I was still the athlete I used to be despite years of self abuse.

I created a perceived limitation that running a marathon was too much for my body. But I took a chance on myself anyways because I so badly wanted to break through that limitation. And guess what? I qualified for Boston when I crossed that marathon finish line in 3:30:31. It was painful and I’ve never been so sore in my life, but I survived and went on to run the Boston Marathon a year later. I’m currently training for my third.

Me, literally dead at the end of the Surf City Marathon.

Me, literally dead at the end of the Surf City Marathon.

This then translated to real life. What things was I holding back from simply because I believed I was not capable or able bodied? Those questions started surfacing and as they did I found that I placed way more limitations on myself than I should. I started exploring those limitations and am still breaking through them day by day.

Truthfully we all set these perceived limitations on ourselves and our bodies and for good reasons. Your body is just trying to survive. Of course it doesn’t want to run 26.2 miles for the fun of it. But if you sign up for a marathon, train for it, and go for it, you will not let yourself down. You will realize that taking a risk on yourself is your best bet to finding who you truly are.

Yes, it takes a lot of time to train for a marathon. YES it is stressful and exhausting and feels impossible at times. But it’s worth it.

Do you agree? I hope I have motivated at least one person to sign up for a race or at least think about it. Are you considering adding the marathon to your bucket list or have you checked it off already? Tell me in the comments!