Running for your goals
Written by: Galina Pembroke
Entering a marathon offers the perfect
circumstances to test our will and discover and exceed our perceived
limits. In addition, successfully completing a marathon is an example
of effective goal-setting, which we can apply in both our home and
work life. Crossing the finish is just the start.
YOU MAY BE THINKING: That's great, if you can run a marathon. But
that's what you need to know: you can run a marathon. Almost anyone
reading this can run, fast-walk, shuffle, strut, or trot the necessary
miles. Even if you are not lean, fast, or even fit - if you can
pass a medical check-up, you can participate. Training for a marathon
can be as rewarding as the actual race. Not only does the physical
preparation required boost muscle and metabolism, but it also tones
internally. Regular physical exercise strengthens heart and lungs,
increases your HDL (good) cholesterol, and reduces stress and blood
Author of The Everything Running Book, Art Liberman, explains that
there are two different ways of approaching a marathon: outcome
goal setting and process goal setting. We use outcome goal setting
when we are more concerned with results than how they were achieved.
Though this is common way of approaching tasks, it does not work
well for larger, long-term goals. Too many external factors may
interfere. For example, pretend there is a particular opponent you
are determined to outrun. You may train hard and surpass their speed
during training, but be slowed by flu or other injury on race day.
This would certainly interrupt your "outcome" goal of
beating your competition. In contrast, "process" goals
lead to more satisfaction and greater confidence. This relaxed way
of approaching challenge involves focusing on what we can control
(nutrition, hydration, training schedule, wardrobe) and performing
according to our highest standards. "Process" focus is
very rewarding. With this system, our confidence is determined by
our willpower instead of random events and others' expectations.
Since much marathon training is psychological, it is an ideal opportunity
to exercise this outlook.
snail-mail, e-mail, fax and Fed Ex, news was either carried
by foot or forgotten. Legend has it that this personal-post
gave us the first marathon. Around BC 490, a Greek warrior
named Phidippides ran from Marathon to Athens to deliver
news of a great victory: the Athenians had defeated the
Persians at the Battle of Marathon. Like most modern marathons,
Phidippides' journey was about 26 miles. In contrast,
he did not receive a commemorative T-shirt.
Before you hit the track, here's some wise advice to help you pass
the finish line without passing out.
- Four-time Olympic Marathon trials qualifier, Budd Coates, advises
that those with no running experience should begin training with
eight straight days of walking: The first four days consisting
with a 20-minute fast walk, then the next four days with 30.
- Coates also suggest using the "talk-test" to determine
your level of exertion. You should have enough air to speak as
you run or walk, otherwise, you may be overdoing it.
- BBC Health states: "Never run when suffering from a viral
illness or fever."
- Author of Marathon-The Ultimate Training Guide, Hal Higdon,
says that one of the secrets to running farther is to run slower.
- Runner's World footwear editor; Paul Corozza, suggests sticking
with the same footwear from training to race day: "If you
wear trainers to train, wear them in the marathon."
- The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking
five to 12 ounces of fluids (preferably water) every 15 to 20
minutes during a marathon. Also practice proper hydration during
- Coach/author Art Liberman advises eating something directly
after the race. Research indicates that to avoid muscle fatigue
the next day, carbohydrates should be eaten as soon as possible
following long duration exercise.