(Thanks for posting those smiles, by the way. Keep ‘em coming!)
If you’re part of a group training program you’re likely to have seen LOTS of ‘first time’ marathoners, and LOTS of (nervous) smiles.
(And lots of "OMG! Am I really doing this?” looks.)
At the same time, you’re likely to have also heard lots of support and encouragement from your pace group leader—and from every 'alumni' marathoner—all echoing the same (experienced) sentiment... "Yes, you really ARE doing this. And yes, you really ARE going to run and complete the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9.”
And there will also be lots of good training advice along the way, like this week’s training tip from Coach Brendan about ‘LSD runs.’ (And no, it's not what you're thinking.)
And speaking of training… if you can join a 'group training' program for your weekend long-runs, I strongly encourage you to do that.
Running with a group—in the company of others who share your commitment to training and who will support and encourage your training efforts—will TOTALLY make your training easier and more rewarding, and something you actually look forward to doing.
(And yes, the day WILL come when you actually "can't wait" to get up at 5:00 AM on a Saturday to go out and run 10 miles.)
The best way I've found to describe the "dynamic" of group training comes from a quote by Rudyard Kipling, "The strength of the wolf comes from the pack. And the strength of the pack comes from the wolf." (From "The Law of the Jungle.")
There's simply no better explanation of what happens when running with others.
YOUR strength as an individual comes from the group around you; and the strength of your running GROUP comes from the collective participation of each individual runner in that group.
(To say nothing about the accountability you'll feel to 'show-up' to run. And the guilt you'll feel if you don't!)
For those of you not in the Chicago area (and therefore not able to join the group training provided by the Chicago Area Runner’s Association) check-out your local 'specialty running store’ where you buy your running shoes, apparel and gear—it's very likely they'll be able to suggest a fall marathon ‘group training’ program in your area.
And if you just can't find a group training program to join, sign-up for Coach Brendan’s FREE 'virtual' (online) program... then make sure to run your weekend long-runs on a path (or route) where you're likely to be with other runners. By running in the company of other runners, you'll find yourself drawing strength from them, just as they will draw strength from you.
Finally, to help kick-off this year’s marathon training season, please consider this advice from 'The Runner's Rule Book' by Mark Remy, whenever buying new running shoes: "BEFORE YOU TAKE YOUR NEW SHOES OUT OF THE BOX, YOU MUST SMELL THEM. Open the box. Peel back the tissue paper. Behold those pristine shoes. Then lift the box to your face and breathe deeply. Mmmmmmmm… smells like potential.
And possibly toxins.
But mostly potential."
Train safe. Run strong.