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The Marathon is a Mainstay for Fitness

by Karl Gruber
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My daily fitness routine is usually all about getting some miles in out on the road. The other day, however, I decided to change it up with some cross-training at my local gym. 

I decided to warm up on the indoor cycle before my weight workout routine. After a decent pedaling warm-up, I started to push pretty hard — standing up and pedaling on the hills, speeding up my cadence on the flats — with tons of sweat pouring off of me. It was then I saw couple people a few bikes over who were pedaling at a leisurely pace while reading the paper at the same time. 

It was then I remembered everyone tackles fitness in their own way. While there are countless forms of exercise to explore, running is a common denominator for almost any sport or physical activity. That’s why I encourage others to try running, specifically the marathon, since it is my favorite form of exercise of course. That being said, everyone has the choice to run and determine the distance; it comes down to the individual’s decision.

According to George Sheehan, "The music of a marathon is a powerful strain, one of those tunes of glory. It asks us to forsake pleasures, to discipline the body, to find courage, to renew faith and to become one's own person, utterly and completely." As evidenced by this quote, training and running 26.2 miles goes far beyond simply disciplining your body and pushing your limits. Training for and running a marathon can literally remake you entirely by enhancing your overall health and well-being. 

For example, you may enter the first week of your marathon training with little confidence that you can run six miles, let alone 26.2 miles, because you’re 15 pounds overweight with 30 percent body fat. Months later — after a long, slow, persistent and committed buildup — you could successfully cross the finish line of your race and find you’ve transformed into a new person (though exhausted, sore, tired and maybe even a bit cranky in that moment). After having pushed your body and mind beyond previously believed limits, you have emerged as someone certain you can now accomplish anything you set your sights on! If you can survive running 26.2 miles nonstop, you can do anything!

An anonymous quote that DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon Race Director Patrice Matamoros previously shared affirms this idea… “At Mile 20, I thought I was dead. At Mile 22, I wished I was dead. At Mile 24, I knew I was dead. At Mile 26.2, I realized I had become too tough to kill.” 

While running is the best form of exercise available to one and all, it is the training for longer distances that takes your body, mind and entire being to the next level — where peak fitness awaits you. I can understand why many won’t consider running, let alone completing a marathon, simply because it is hard. But it’s the “hard” part where your body and mind will benefit the most! 

If are now training for your first ever half or full marathon, know that you are going to experience many days where you are overly tired, sore and maybe even injured. In the long run — pardon the pun — your marathon training and running will reward you with better health and well-being.

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