One of the things I love most about running is that it really involves very little thinking. Whereas a 'sport' like golf requires seemingly hundreds of different things to be aligned in order to hit a good shot (i.e., arms straight or bents, legs spread a specific distance apart, head down, etc...), running merely requires you to move forward at a pace above walking (a few years ago, I probably would have written that running at least requires running shoes but, with the unfortunate growing popularity of barefoot running, this no longer is the case). Despite the fact that there are certain schools of thought with respect to running form, rarely will you ever find yourself over-thinking how exactly to run (as opposed to stupid golf). And, while marathon training regimens are used by most first-time marathoners, these are simply distance suggestions as opposed to anything on a mental or physical level. Each person usually eases into a form, pace and distance which they are most comfortable with.
However, like any sport or activity, there are many who profess to know more than others and will take what once was an enjoyable experience and an ambitious (yet doable) goal and will make you second-guess your ability at accomplishing it. Take CMH Magazine's 60-step Marathon Prep list for example. While the glossy Columbus, Ohio-based publication's list seeks to give runners a comprehensive list of how to approach running a marathon, it ends up leaving the runner questioning whether it is even worth it in the first place. Unlike the typical marathon training lists which generally help with one's endurance and only pertains to the 10 or so weeks before the day of the actual marathon, the CMH list is broken down into 13 categories each containing a few pointers. Beginning with Finding Your Focus, and then Choosing The Right Goals, Choosing The Right Marathon, Before You Start To Train, Structuring Your Training, Training Yourself To Run, Building Muscle Capacity And Strength, Designing An Effective Nutrition Plan, Doing Your Homework (studying the terrain of the race), Picking The Right Clothes And Prepping Your Body, The Night Before The Marathon, During The Marathon and, finally, After You Have Crossed The Finish Line, this preparation list is so overly-comprehensive that, by the time you have finished simply reading it, you are so totally exhausted that, even the thought of running a marathon, seems like an impossibility of the greatest order.
I understand that CMH is trying to provide a useful resource for any runner who may feel apprehensive about running a marathon. But, in so doing, they have taken away one of running's most appealing features: its ease. While I was turned off of sports like golf and snowboarding because there were just too many things that needed to be controlled to excel, running is such an easy sport to pick-up. There is no over-thinking involved and there is no correct form to be used. A runner simply runs.
And so, dear readers, to allay any anxiety caused by CMH's marathon-like marathon prep list, I have decided to provide you with Mr. Petes' 5-step abridged marathon training list:
1) Sign up for a marathon
2) Pick up your bib number
3) Arrive at the marathon starting area on-time
4) Run 26.2 miles
5) Raise your arms in victory as you cross the finish line!