If you are anything like me then the answer is or was a flat NO to this question. I used to laugh at the thought of running a 5k, never mind a 44k race. It was simply far too far outside of what I considered to be either interesting or achievable but part of me always knew that the reason I marked it as uninteresting was to allow myself avoid it when in reality I was just too scared to even contemplate trying to achieve it.
Everything feels impossible until you do it.
So on the eve of my 39th birthday, I made the most important decision.
I decided to take on the challenge of running 26.2 miles. At that time, I was not a runner, at least I never saw myself as a runner basically because I had never really run anywhere. Sure I ran for the bus occasionally and ran after my kids all the time, but I was far from the singlet wearing, slim build, expensive runner type that I classed as a “runner”.
Perception is a funny thing but you can use it to your advantage to simply change how you frame something – like running – to move it from the “I need to” zone to the “I get to” zone. In the “I get to” zone, like where I am right now, just having started training for my 3rd marathon in October, I feel so privileged and grateful to have the health, the ability and the tools I need to accomplish something like running a marathon. It’s a gift to myself.
But I will say this, when I first started running, it was hell. You can’t breathe, your legs are like lead pipes and you might feel like you are going to die. But if you persist for a few runs, you will start to see improvement very fast. Even by your 3rd or 4th outing, the feeling of dying is slipping away as you get a little fitter and stronger. It took me quite some time, maybe about 10 weeks of consistently running 3 or 4 times per week before I actually felt competent running and it was only at this point that I started to actually enjoy the activity. So bear that in mind, there are no quick hacks here, hasten slowly.
So whether you believe you can or can’t do a marathon, the answer is always, you CAN. There is a sign that is always up along the route of the marathon in Dublin each year that always resonates with me, it reads…
If the mind believes, the body can achieve.
If you believe you can, you can. If you believe you can’t, then you probably won’t be successful.
Choose to believe you can.
Yours in health and happiness,