After running the Boston Marathon last month I had an opportunity to give some thought to why I enjoy training for and running marathons while I took time off from running to recover.
For me the answer to that question is twofold. The first reason is the challenge involved with training for and running a marathon. The process will push you to the limit both mentally and physically.
It takes a lot of discipline to properly train for a run a marathon. By this I am referring to the need to ensure you are eating the right foods to fuel and recover from your workouts, don’t cheat on your training and get a decent amount of sleep to help you recover from your workouts.
The second reason I enjoy running marathons applies more to out of town races. Believe it or not running a marathon is a great way to see a city. In my case I’ve run through neighbourhoods of large cities that I would never have visited if I had not been running a marathon.
When I think of this the first thing that comes to mind are neighbourhoods in Boston and Philadelphia I ran through that were filled with families enjoying breakfast or a bbq as they encouraged the runners going by.
Runners who are not from Ottawa also likely have a similar appreciation for the opportuniy to run by the Parliament Buildings and the residences of the Governor General and Prime Minister during the Ottawa Marathon.
For me the biggest reward from training for and running a marathon comes when I cross the finish line . Following 3-4 months of dedicated training involving several hundred miles in multiple pairs of running shoes I get to celebrate. In my case this involves going out for beer and food I would not normally eat ( ie. cheesesteaks in Philadelphia) once I have showered and changed.
Unfortunately the high from completing a marathon is often followed by a bit of an empty feeling when it is over. I went through this phase after I got home from Boston. Fortunately this time I already have a half-marathon coming up in 3 weeks to help get me over it.
I am not sure when or where my next marathon will be yet. I just know that I will run another one for the reasons mentioned above.