Reasons to run: Marathon myths debunked

By Kimberly Cowart

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, July 27 2011 8:00 a.m. MDT

It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, my most memorable moments in marathons have all been when I’ve either run with a friend or made a friend on the run. While running the Boston Marathon this past year, I took a FlipCam along with me. Every time I needed a pick-me-up, I pointed it toward the crowds and got a surge of energy and encouragement in return. If I’m running out of state and see someone wearing a shirt from a Utah race, it’s almost a guarantee that I’m going to make a new friend.

Myth No. 7 — You have to be fast to run a marathon.

Because many races have to close roads to accommodate throngs of runners, there are usually time constraints that the runners must meet so that roads can reopen, volunteers and police can go home and race organizers can break down the finish lines, barricades, etc. But that doesn’t mean you have to run like you‘re being chased by a rabid chihuahua. Most races give you at least six to seven hours to make it to the finish line. Some are able to extend that time even more.

If you train properly and pace yourself accordingly, this is plenty of time to finish.

Myth No. 8 — You have to be an experienced runner with shorter races under your belt to do a marathon.

OK, there will be plenty of runners who will disagree with me here, but you don’t have to run a slew of 5Ks, 10Ks or even half marathons to be able to tackle “The Big One.” In fact, my first race was a marathon.

That being said, there is some race etiquette you should be aware of and that is best learned on a shorter race, but there are no race police to pull you over if you decide to start big. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a solid running base before taking up marathon training. But if you’ve been running consistently and can handle the mileage, there’s no reason why you can’t jump in feet first.

Myth No. 9 — You must live a monk’s life to prepare for a marathon.

Hold onto your seats, folks. I like cake. I love diet Sunkist. I hate track workouts and happily avoid them during the summer months. Sometimes I cut my long runs short and lounge lazily at the pool with my family instead. In other words, you can have a life and enjoy some of the “sweeter” things and still run. It’s all about balance.

Myth No. 10 — Running is for other people.

Running is for everyone. Maybe marathons aren’t your cup of tea. But how do you know if you never try? I had a friend in high school who would go out for a daily five-mile run and I thought she was nuts. Two months ago, I ran part of the Ogden Marathon with her. Who knew?

Now, will someone explain to me why I eat carrots every day and still don’t have X-ray vision?

Kim Cowart is a wife, mom, 24-Hour fitness instructor and marathoner who still shuns touching toads for fear of getting warts.

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