Yesterday, I completed the inaugural Encinitas half marathon. This pretty 13.1 mile course along the ocean had one long incline and two short, steep hills. Over 5,000 high spirited runners participated in this Sunday morning race. The energy was palpable.
I’ve heard people declare they could never run a half marathon and I think to myself, “not true”. If you follow a good training program (I like Hal Higdon), then it’s pretty amazing to watch yourself rise to the occasion. Your lungs, heart and muscles click into gear elevating your strength and stamina to new heights. But training also helps you build an inner resolve as your concentration and confidence grow too.
I used to think that only “real athletes” ran these races, but now everyone participates so there is no need to be intimidated. You see runners in their 80’s, mom’s with strollers, and people of all ages, body types and skill levels.
The crisp morning air is filled with excitement as we line up behind the starting line. The runners are ready!
Participating in a race is fun but there are also deeper benefits. Therefore, If you are considering one, a I encourage you wholeheartedly. Here are 5 powerful benefits:
5 Exciting Benefits of Running a Half Marathon
- Challenging ourselves helps us grow. It is easy to stay in our comfort zone and play it safe. We can coast through each day trying to avoid trauma and disappointment. We can even become complacent. Signing up for a half marathon is a great way to shake up your routine and do something hard. I was proud of myself the days I ran in the rain.
- Working towards a goal improves concentration. Cell phones distract us making it harder to build concentration but a focused mind is very powerful. It’s the difference between ambient light and laser light. Training for a half marathon builds concentration which creates happiness and inner peace.
- Running builds confidence. Running a half marathon requires discipline, commitment and perseverance which are traits that build confidence!! According to The Clymb, “Every time a run is completed, whether it’s a training run or a race, there is a feeling of accomplishment awarded to the runner.” This is a gift you give to yourself. Dealing with challenges during my training boosted my courage and resourcefulness.
- You’ll get in good shape. Training for a half marathon takes 3 months and some mornings, running feels relentless but it’s amazing to watch your body perform. The first few weeks are hard but eventually you breathe easily, feel your lungs expand, and your muscles respond. your body working together. Hills are easier and long runs are enjoyable. The physical challenge can also lower anxiety and improve sleep. Win win!
- It’s FUN. Reaching a tangible goal each week is a real accomplishment and it feels awesome. I prefer starting my day with a run so I feel strong and energized before most people have finished their coffee.
It’s hard to challenge ourselves because we live extremely busy lives. Many can’t imagine adding one more thing to their plate. Look at a half marathon schedule and don’t overthink it. It’s only 3 months and you will feel amazing. Happy running!!!