BLOG: A reflection on marathon training
Running has so many health benefits, not only physically, but mentally. And I have definitely found this to be true during my training for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, which I will be running on Oct. 11.
When I tell someone that I’m running the marathon, they give me a perplexed look as if trying to say, “Why would you ever want to run a marathon?” I recognize this look because I have given it to countless runners over the years.
“What is the point? Why would you do that to your body?” I’ve said these phrases many times to people I know and now these same questions are being asked of me.
So why am I running? Well, after running a few races at shorter distances, I decided to push myself. If I can do a half marathon, what is stopping me from doing a full marathon?
I do not love running. In fact, I get pretty bored when I run, it hurts sometimes and often I’d much rather be watching Netflix. But, there are so many benefits to setting a goal and working to achieve it.
Running a marathon takes months of training. You have to be dedicated, run when you don’t feel like running and you have to stick with it if you ever want to see the finish line. Right now, I have about three weeks left of training until the big day.
As I look back on how much I’ve trained so far, I can’t help but notice how much I’ve changed – not physically, but mentally. Over the course of the past few months, I’ve learned a lot about myself, which I will carry with me after the Chicago Marathon is over.
Here are a few things that I know will stay with me after I cross that finish line:
- I never knew how strong I was. After running 18 miles a few weekends ago in this humid Chicago heat, I learned the meaning of running through pain and tiredness. On that run, I pushed myself further than I have ever pushed myself before, leaving me with a sense of pride of accomplishing something I have never done before.
- Confidence. I have always had low self-esteem, worrying about weight, height, looks, etc. However, after spending hours running after work and on the weekends, I don’t care as much about what I look like. I know I am doing everything I can to get the body that I want. I also know that I could do a lot more like strength training, eating healthier, but I am pretty content with where I am now. I never thought I would say that!
- Motivation. I decided to run for charity because I thought I would need some extra motivation to keep me running through this long training schedule. So I’m running for the families of patients who are in need of financial assistance as they try to pay medical bills on top of meeting their day-to-day needs. In addition to running for patients, what I found was that I am motivated by everyday things. I am motivated by the man that carries an American flag for the whole marathon. I am motivated by the single parents who are doing everything they can to put their kids first. A lot of people are going through rough times, and I find motivation to run for them.
- A sense of community. After training in this humid Chicago heat day after day, running 19 miles on the weekend, you begin to applaud other runners who are also doing the same thing. Whenever I talk to someone training for a race or see another runner on the trail, I think to myself how awesome they are. It takes a lot of dedication to run a marathon, and I feel proud of the other runners that are out there running with me.
About the Author
Liz Donofrio, health enews contributor, is a marketing specialist at Advocate Health Care. As a newlywed, she is happy to be done planning her wedding and enjoying spending time with her husband and new extended family. In her free time, you can find Liz cooking new tasty recipes for her family, attending Chicago sporting events and chasing after her shih tzu-yorkie, Buttons.