This weekend I did something I never thought I’d cross off my bucket list, or be able to do, which is to do a half-marathon. As some of you know I regularly run marathons during the summer, but mostly 5k. I’ve ran about five 5k, and last year I ran my first 10k. The 10k was an absolute success and my timing was just perfect, so this year I thought I’d challenge myself and run a half-marathon. By far this has been the most challenging and rewarding race I’ve done.
It wasn’t what I expected; it was so much more, and there were so much emotions experienced. This is something I think you can’t describe, but only feel. Perhaps it’s what people call a runner’s high or perhaps it’s the realization that you’ve just ran 20 miles and you have less than 2 miles left. Perhaps it’s the sense of vulnerability that you experience, the sense of knowing that in that very moment you are in your most vulnerable state; anything is possible and anything could happen. In that very moment you’re body could just give up, and that will be the end of it, the end of the long training, and preparation. Nonetheless, it was an amazing experience.
Looking back I think there are many things I wish I did different, going into the race I’ve had enough training, but not enough. First thing I would’ve put more effort into training outside, and in different temperature. Most of training’s done indoor, in controlled temperature with no sun. This had a significant impact on me on the day of the marathon. Apart from having to run the marathon early in the morning, my body was forced to run in hot an humid temperature which I’ve never done before. This led to me having to walk more than I would’ve liked. The other thing was my failure to pace myself while running. There are many things that I can outlined that I wish I would’ve done to improve my time and my overall experience. But like life, you can’t go back and fix thing. The one thing you can do is look forward to the future and figure a way to make things better next time. The past is the past, what matter, is here right now.
Nonetheless, in doing this marathon I was able to learn key lessons that I will keep in mind while training for the next marathon:
1. Train before running:
You know the saying ‘practice makes perfect’, well the same concept applies to running a half-marathon. If you’re planning on running a half marathon, or full marathon make sure you train. In order to achieve the goal you set yourself, you have to train your body. There is no way of succeed without training.
2. Set a goal:
Regardless if it’s your first time running marathon, or you’ve done this many times I strongly recommend setting yourself a goal. Goal setting is something everyone does in their life because it gives you a long-term vision and short term motivation. Having an idea of the BIG PICTURE is a strong motivation. My motivation for this marathon was to run just under three hours given that this is my first time, and I was able to achieve such goal. This was a strong motivation for me that kept me moving when I felt physically tired and just wanted to stop.
3. It’s about the journey and not the destination
I think one the thing you should always remind yourself when running is that it’s not about the destination, but rather the journey. The journey is far more amazing than destination itself. Let me start by saying that running marathon or even just 5k is amazing, it’s amazing because for those few minutes you and a thousands group of people come together from different region of the world with the one goal of running this marathon. In those few hours you are one with each other, and your differences are insignificant. What matter is that you’re all trying to finish this marathon. This sense of unity, and community created by this marathon makes the destination a secondary reward.
4. Their friends and partners, not competition
Marathon runners are known for offering encouragement and helping others given the chance. I think because they understanding that its less about winning or losing, but the experience itself and finishing the race together. As a result the entire race was filled with encouragement from bystanders to other runners. This was able to experience this first hand, every time i stopped to walk I always had someone asked me if I am okay, and had another runner who made sure I didn’t stop to walk. Every time I started to walk he would encourage to start running. This is why I love running these marathon, this sense of unity and community that’s established by runners makes me think that the world would be a better place if we competed less with each other and encourage each other.
5. Find your motivation and keep going
While running it’s normal to struggle to finish, as you run more distance you become tried and lose all motivation. The desperation to find inner strength becomes difficult the more distance you run. But remember that you alone can finish this marathon, regardless of how many people cheer you on, at the end of the day it is up to you to finish the race. The same lesson applies to life decision, you’re friends and family will always support, but regardless of how many friends and families you support you, you will have to face important life decision by yourself and carry your own weight. It is it up to you to either give up, or keep going.