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Lessons Learned from a Marathon



Here is a list of lessons I learned training for a marathon and during the marathon itself.  This list is far from exhaustive, as there are many thoughts you have during hours of running that leave your brain as quickly as they arrive.


  1.  Marathons are hard.   And really, really long.
  2. I am in great HALF marathon shape.
  3. Having a big goal is essential for motivation and intensity of workouts.
  4. Traditional marathon training should incorporate way more metabolic conditioning and high intensity interval training.
  5. Did I close the garage door? I think so… probably did….I better go check…
  6. My training program should have incorporated more longer runs to prepare not just my body, but my mind for the discomfort and unknown of running for 4+ hours.
  7. Runners come in all shapes and sizes, and all ages.  Don’t judge a book by its cover.
  8. Epson salt baths and massages after a marathon will save your life. I highly recommend.
  9. Public accountability works.  Declaring a goal to the public so you do the training is very powerful.
  10. I am so grateful for how many people were there to support me.  Cheer me on.  And ask me how it went. That kept me going.
  11. That cloud kind of looks like a horse.
  12. Running gel tastes good at 5km.  The same gel tastes like talcum powder at 25km.
  13. Strength training should also be an essential part of a runner’s program now.
  14. There is great power in learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  15. I would do it again, but I don’t want to dedicate the time for training right now with a super young family.


While I did not complete my goal of running the marathon in under 4 hours, I did finish my first marathon; an accomplishment in itself I am told.  While the weather the day of the race was less than ideal, it is impossible to know if my performance was due to under-training, inexperience with running that distance, the bad weather or a combination of all 3.  I am stubborn, so I will probably have to run another one soon to see if I can beat 4 hours – but it just won’t be this summer with a busy family life.

The biggest lesson was to have something you are constantly working towards.  A big hairy audacious goal that inspires you and drives you forward.  This applies to all avenues of life, not just fitness.   The other lesson would be to create accountability and have social support to accomplish all your goals.

May you set big goals, and enjoy the journey of striving towards them.




Dr. Rob

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