Do you have running a marathon on your “bucket list?” Well, exactly how long is a marathon? It is a race distance of 26 miles, 385 yards to be exact. That translates into 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers.
No doubt about it, marathon running is a big game. It takes training and preparation.
When your friends hear you want to enter a marathon, probably the first thing they will ask you is, “How far is a marathon?” Then naturally, they will be immensely impressed and maybe even think you are off your rocker.
This kind of a reaction can through you off. You can begin to also be so impressed with the shear magnitude of the distance that you lose sight of your own ability to reach your target.
The marathon is just a bigger game. Like when I watch the NFL and see the bodies all flying around and piling up, I see a really big game. A game of challenges, boundaries and rewards. Football is not really a game for me at only 5’4,” but I do like big games. Being a marathon runner is my big game.
In training, you train your body. I could say that you train your mind, but that really is not quite accurate. It is more like you are changing you mind over-and-over again, about what is possible. You will change your mind about how far is a long run repeatedly. You will change your mind about what are tough training conditions: too hot, too cold, too windy.
As you increase your mileage, your ability is increasing and with that, your confidence sores―you start to really see the possibilities. Your mind starts to work at a higher level of creativity. Ideas start coming to you. You will notice your increased ability at work too.
Now when asked, how long is a marathon… you answer proudly. Whatever reaction you get does not waiver what you know. You can do this!
The first time I really saw for myself how long is a marathon, I was momentarily overwhelmed. We were headed for the starting area of my first marathon, Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth Minnesota. My Mom was driving us from our motel at the finish line to the start line, 26.2 miles away.
I was in the back seat conversing with another marathoner from our motel. The miles rolled by one after the other along the shoreline, way up hills, down, and up again. To me the hills seemed mountainous. My training ground of Southwestern Ontario was relatively flat by comparison.
That was when Mom said, “This really is a long way.” Funny thing is that I had been thinking the exact same thing, but she said it. What had I gotten myself into?
Then I remembered my training. I had run 19 miles non-stop in training. By that, I mean I had not used walk breaks in my training. I also realized that my training involved out and back routes with some loops, so I never actually saw the 19 miles all stretched out. It was just that this route was a point to point, which gave the apparency of greater distance. Oh, relief.
The point is not to get too caught up in how long is a marathon. You train for the distance. Then certainly…You can do it too!