Jason's March to the Marathon: Sweet 16 - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Jason's March to the Marathon: Sweet 16

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Turning 16 years old is a rite of passage, and an age of freedom when many teens get their driver’s license. Back then, running a marathon wasn’t something I even dreamed of doing. I wanted to drive 26.2 miles.

Running 16 miles is not so sweet, but a different kind of freedom, or at least sweet relief when my run was done. I experienced that distance for the first time a few days ago.

It was a tough challenge, but I had to do it. The 16-mile run is part of the training regimen for my first marathon, which is less than 7 weeks away.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to stop running numerous times during that 2 hours, 50 minutes. I did take a quick break every 3-4 miles, to take a few sips of Gatorade or water, but pushed myself to finish.

You’ve got to find something to motivate you – whether it’s a goal, race, training partner, your religious faith, music, positive thinking, or any combination of those.

For me, this marathon is the end goal. Add to that my positive thinking and prayers for God’s strength to  help thrust me forward – because I feel or get weak, especially during these long runs.

Within that 16 miles, I try to break it down mentally, maybe one 5K at a time – it’s like running 5 of those races, all at one time. After 5 miles, I’m thinking I am almost 1/3 of the way done. After 10 miles, I say there’s a 10K race left.

The key is to not allow myself an excuse to quit (unless I’m injured) and keep those legs moving, no matter how I feel. At longer distances, I’m obviously not going to go as fast as when I run 4 or 5 miles.

Recently, a few people have told me they want to start running, and ask how to do it. I recommend the C25K (Couch to 5K) smart phone app. I tell them, it takes discipline, because it will get difficult at times.

Whether you are just starting with running or getting ready for a marathon, the key is in the training! The journey is just as or more important than the race or finish line. It’s like that in life too.

Certified sports psychologist and former competitive runner Roisin Mcgettin-Dumas, who wrote part of the training journal I’ve been using, says it well:

“Sometimes you have to push yourself, and it can be uncomfortable. You will want to quit. But if you can find your edge and embrace the discomfort even for a little bit, you’ll find a new level of fitness, skill, and knowledge. And there’s no better feeling than growth.”

Click here to read more about Jason's March to the Marathon

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