I get this concern a lot. There are many men and women that want to run a full marathon but simply feel that they aren't ready. I know that feeling all too well, and I wanted to give some advice when you can look a full dead on and know that you are ready.
1. There will never be a good time or a better time than now.
I know that's so cliche but really, it's like kids. Just do it. Sign up for the race, and start the training. Thats how you will know that you are ready. You run, and you get ready.
2. Stop being afraid
No really, marathon running if you haven't heard is 85% mental and thats the dang truth. You just have to be tough enough to say that no matter what, you're not going to stop. You're going to continue working until you get to that start line, and if you are fierce and a fighter, then there is nothing that can stop you. The heart of a marathoner is one like no other, and you'll learn more about yourself during this time of training that's 12-18 weeks long then you probably ever will.
3. Have you done any other races?
It is absolutely not even necessary to do one other race to know that you could in fact do a marathon. Every single one of you reading this can do a marathon even if you have never run before. It may take you longer to prepare so maybe pick a race that's farther out but when you start a training program at the appropriate level for you, and build, you will be amazed. Your body will continue to adapt and through those months of training, you'll watch your body go from only being able to run 8 miles to running 18+ miles. It's really unreal.
However, I do recommend that running a half marathon is probably something that you should do first. It just makes sense. Make sure that you like running enough to even do a full. If you have done a half, you CAN and I repeat ABSOLUTELY CAN do a full. Absolutely ZERO questions.
I love me some @sarcasminspandex and she wrote something one time that I resonate with so much (she's an ultra runner by the way). She wrote that "if you can do a 5K, you can do a 10K. If you can do a 10K, you can do a half. If you can do a half, then you can do a full. And if you can do a full, then you can do an ultra. So, if you can do a 5K then you can do an ultra." I believe that with all of my heart, and I plan on doing an ultra one day myself to prove that logic.
If you can run the 13.1 miles to the finish of a half marathon then you know you have mental strength and you'll just have to commit to that every weekend for your training cycle.
4. Do you have the time?
This is something that you should take into consideration but not let it scare you away. I kept putting off marathon running because I always said that I didn't have time. Again, you will never have time but marathon training is A LOT of time. It's just what you choose to spend your time doing. There are going to be nights that you have to turn in early because you have a long run the next day and you don't need to be out dancing or something. There are going to be days that you don't feel like doing much after a long run, or there will be days that you have to give up time with friends to be able to get that run in on a week night. It's not always easy to get them in, but if you are dedicated to your goal then you have the time. I promise. I'm waking up at 5am tomorrow morning so that I can get my 16 miles in before my friend Brandy really even wakes up, and that way, we can enjoy the day together.
I try my best to not inconvenience anyone with my training, and therefore I make sacrifices to make that happen. I also try not to miss out on any fun times, so on Friday night I'll probably go to see a band with friends and it wraps up at around 11pm. I will still get up at 5 to run my 16 miles. It's all about what you choose to dedicate yourself to, and there is just about nothing that can take this passion out of my heart.
5. Do you want to fall utterly in love with your life?
Okay, then it's time. No really, it's going to change your life. I would venture to say that every single marathon runner will tell you. It just does something to you, and it moves you and the second that you cross that first finish line, you just want to do it all over again (except not right then HAHA). It's so painful but something deep inside of you is found through the suffering, and you cross the finish line as a new person. You find something in yourself that you've never seen before and you are more proud of yourself then you've ever been. There is nothing like it and the passion bleeds through my veins and out of my fingers as I type this. Haha!
I really hope that this inspires you and motivates you that no matter who you are, or where you are going, you can run a marathon. Only 1% of the population ever runs a marathon and you should totally be one of those people ;)
with love and marathons,