Hang around a group of runners in the fall and you might feel like everyone is training for a marathon. While you may not be ready to run one (yet!), you can still tap into the excitement and camaraderie that surrounds the event. Whether you volunteer, join in easy training runs, or simply attend the festivities, you'll find that the marathon journey is a source of inspiration and motivation for your own running goals.
Have a friend who's training for a marathon and who runs a similar pace as you (or slower)? Ask her if she wants company for a portion of one of her long runs—say, the last three to five miles—then arrange to meet her for that stretch.
During marathon training, local running clubs often hold supported long runs on the weekend. Contact the club organizers to find out how you can provide water, sports drinks, or other refreshments at designated aid stops.
JOIN A RELAY
Many marathons offer a relay option, dividing the race into four or five legs of varying distances. It's a unique opportunity to use teamwork to cover a distance you're not ready to run solo.
HIT THE EXPO
Typically held a day or two before the big event, prerace expos are open to the public. Go and mingle with other like-minded folks, sample runner-friendly food, and browse booths for info on other events, training groups, and healthy living.
Volunteering is a great way to become part of the excitement of race day. Volunteers run the registration booth, give out fluids during the race, manage crowds, set up the finish line, do gear checks, and place medals around the necks of tired finishers.
The single best way to get inspired to run a marathon is to watch one. You will be amazed at the range of abilities, sizes, and ages of the participants—from the astonishingly quick elite to the average midpacker.
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