Finishing a marathon is an amazing accomplishment, after all, the marathon is a huge mental and physical challenge.
But did you know crossing the finish line may also very well change your life?
OK, ‘change your life’ may be a touch hyperbolic, but it will make you change the way you think about yourself and what you are capable of.
5 Ways Finishing A Marathon Will Change Your Life
Serious Bragging Rights
This is the most superficial change, but it’s worth acknowledging – finishing a marathon is a rare thing. It can be easy to lose sight of this in the midst of training. We read books and blogs about running and marathons, workout with other runners who have at least finished a marathon. We are surrounded by all things marathon.
But in the real world? Marathoners are a great minority.
I can only guess how this was determined, but according to Google, only .5% of Americans have completed a marathon. Less than 50% of people who consider themselves runners have completed one.
Regardless of your finish time, when you cross the finish line of a marathon, you are in some pretty elite company.
Some runners choose to bring up and brag about their marathon accomplishment constantly (what’s the old joke – how do you know if someone at your party has run a marathon? Don’t worry… they’ll tell you).
If that’s your style, go for it. You’ve earned it.
Always the contrarian, I enjoy finding subtle ways to bring it up in casual conversation ‘oh yeah I’ve run a marathon… actually, I’ve run 29 marathons.’ People often don’t believe me. Even if they do, the looks are priceless.
Whatever your style is, you’ve earned the right to milk your accomplishment for all it’s worth.
You Know You Can
After they cross the finish line, some runners can’t wait to sign up for their next race.
Others never want to run again.
Whichever camp you fall into, you are now, and forever will be, a marathoner.
Even if you never again put on a pair of running shoes.
You can call yourself a marathoner. Forever.
You Pushed Your Physical and Mental Limits
Training for a marathon requires months of dedicated focus. You need to continue to push, long past when you want to quit.
Chances are, at some point during the process, you wanted to quit (there may have been many points during the process when you wanted to quit). There likely were times when you were totally over it or when you really didn’t want to run.
But guess what? You didn’t quit, you kept running.
You endured, you persevered, and you got out the door to run, even when you had zero motivation.
‘I don’t feel like it’ can never again be an excuse for not getting something done.
You Found Time and Energy You Didn’t Know You Had
Marathon training takes a ton of time.
The hours of training are equivalent to a part-time job. And yet, you did it. You found the extra time and energy amongst your ‘real’ job, child care, chores and whatever other stuff you have going on.
You no longer have any legitimate excuse to put off any other long-lingering project. Starting a side business or a blog, taking up woodworking, learning a second language. Maybe you’ve considered one of a million possible projects, but then thought you didn’t have the time or the energy to fit them into your life.
You no longer have this as an excuse.
Or, at the very least, if you tell yourself ‘you don’t have the time’ you’ll know, deep down, it’s only an excuse.
If you found the time, energy and mental fortitude to complete a marathon you have proof that you can do anything.
You can never again doubt your dedication or ability to complete a project
If You Can Do This…
When I started running, I was sure I would never be able to run a marathon. I knew I couldn’t do it.
Until I did.
Which created a little bit of an existential crisis – if I’ve been wrong about this, what else have I been wrong about?
What other things have I told myself I can’t do?
What other things did I view as impossible?
Where else was I saying ‘I can’t’?
I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’m sure many first time marathoners are sure they can’t finish a marathon. Maybe they only think it at their low-points or their moments of doubt. Maybe they think about it all the time.
In either case, you can’t run a marathon… until you do. And at that moment, a whole new world of possibilities opens up.
What else do you think you can’t do?
…Are you sure?
If you can run a marathon, what other amazing things are you capable of?