James Koole

Marathon runner and product manager sharing tips and advice on how to succeed in the marathon.

Training Tips and Advice

Am I Ready?

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is just two weeks away now and you are probably asking yourself, “Am I ready?”

This is a natural question to ask before a marathon. Running 42.2km is no small feat.

If you’re a first-time marathoner, it’s important to know that you are alone in wondering this – I’d venture a guess that every single marathon runner has asked themselves this very same question.

In fact, seasoned veterans of multiple marathons ask themselves this question every single time they run a race. I know I will, even going into what will be my tenth full marathon.

What it takes

You might also be asking yourself if you have what it takes. Perhaps you’ve heard horror stories about what happens after 35km (hint: it’s nothing good) or maybe you’ve seen friends hobbling around for days following their race.

I’ve often said that what it takes to run a marathon boils down to three things: courage, determination and physical strength.

Marathon runners need equal parts of all three to be really successful, but the good news is that you can get by on just two as long as the one you are missing or a little short on is “physical strength”. Here’s why:

  • Courage is what led you to decide to do this in the first place and it’s what will bring you to the start line on October 16. Without courage, you won’t find yourself standing there with thousands of other runners just like you.
  • Determination is what you’ll draw on when the going gets tough in the later stages of the race. Without determination, you won’t find yourself pushing through the tough parts and making it to the finish.
  • Physical strength is what you’ll rely on to push yourself forward for three, four or five hours depending on your pace. Without that physical strength, you’ll be faced with increased demands on your courage and determination to get it done. But rest assured, courage and determination will see you through to the finish even if you run low on physical strength.

Trust your training

If you’ve put in the time and kilometres over the last few months, then you’re ready to run. You can feel confident about your race because the training program is designed to get you to the finish.

Your training program helped you build physical strength, as well as determination and courage.

Remember the days when you didn’t feel like running and you went and did it anyways? Determination is what made you get out and do it. Those long Sunday runs in the heat of the summer where you wanted to pack it in but you didn’t? That was determination in action.

How about the days you woke up and laced up your running shoes and went and ran 29 or 32km? You showed courage to believe that you could run further than you’d ever run before. Even the simple act of signing up for the race was a demonstration that you were willing to take on something very challenging. That was a very courageous act!

Draw on your experience

As race day approaches, think back through the weeks of training and remember all of your many accomplishments. If you kept a log of your training, look back through it and see how far you’ve come (literally!) and how much you’ve improved as a runner both mentally and physically.

medalA good look back over your training will bolster your confidence going into the race weekend. You ran all those runs. You worked hard. And because of that, you’ll run well and you’ll finish your race.

Marathon starters are almost always marathon finishers

Maybe you don’t believe me…but what about some cold, hard facts? The facts don’t lie and the fact is that the vast majority of runners who start a marathon go on to finish that marathon.

The 2015 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon attracted 3,826 participants according to Sportstats. Of those, fewer than 100 failed to finish. In 2014 there were more than 4,000 participants and again, less than 100 failed to cross the finish line.

You are ready

On the morning of October 16th, 2016 you’ll courageously stand in the starting area and you’ll be nervous and you’ll wonder what lies ahead of you for the next few hours and 42.195km. 4,000 other runners will be standing in that same start area thinking the exact same thing.

And then the horn will sound and you’ll start running and after a few hours or determined running you’ll find yourself coming up Bay St. with cheering spectators on both sides of the street and you’ll cross the finish line with your arms in the air and a smile on your face.

A beautiful medal will be placed around your neck by a fantastic volunteer and you’ll wear that medal and the title of “marathoner” with pride!

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