In the Long Run : Lessons from Completing a Marathon

Ya akhoee (O brother in Arabic) would you like sit in the Ambulance shouted the doctor. I tried to put on a brave smile and told him “No thank you”. It was the last 5 kilo metres of my first marathon and after running for 37 kilometers, I was not about to give up. My wife and my friends cheered me on. Running a marathon requires a lot of “Running”. You have to train close to six months for running this race. A distance of 42.3 kms is not easy to cover. I spent most of the days after work “Running” and most of my weekends “Running”. Working six days a week did not make it any easier. The lessons I learnt during the process of running the marathon were many. I want to share these lessons with you.

Lesson 1 : Be clear on the objective : It is a simple question you can ask yourself. “Why do you want to do this? “ Why did you choose do this? “ Being clear on the objective helps you to focus. My objective for running the marathon was to get a feeling of achievement. For once in my lifetime I wanted to experience the feeling of working on a project, following through it and in the end completing it. My life was like a roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs, starting projects enthusiastically and later giving it up for silly reasons and I wanted to complete at least one project in my life.

Lesson 2 : Don’t try to climb the mountain yourself—Take Help. When I decided to train for my first marathon, I was looking for help. I did not know anything about running a marathon. While researching I found that there were a lot of running clubs in Dubai. I got in touch with Malcum Murphy of Dubai Creek Striders Club. It was great meeting him and the group helped me to train for my first marathon. The best thing for me as a novice was to hear stories from others as to how they trained for their first marathon. For any goal you want to achieve in your life, it becomes easier if you can associate with people who have achieved the goal before or people who want to achieve the same goal as yourself. You get more ideas for achieving your goals.

Lesson 3 : Take Baby steps—–“A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step”. I would like to change this quote to “A journey of a thousand miles begins with baby steps”. Start slowly. A journey for running a marathon begins with you seeing if you can run atleast half the distance. I ran a half marathon a month before the race. One of the major mistakes which a novice marathon runner makes is to start from the very front of the starting line at the beginning of the race. As a result they start running at a fast pace at the beginning of the race and are unable to complete the race as they run out of steam. Start slow and then gain pace. The most important part of the race is the last 21 kilo metres that is where you need your energy. Start slow, analyze your mistakes, correct the mistakes and then gain speed from the half way mark to achieve your goals.

Lesson 4 : Have a support group—My support group were the members of the running club, my family and friends. The icing on the cake for me was my wife running with me for the last 50 meters of the race. She was there throughout the course of training and running the race. It was a great feeling to be running with her. A support group helps you by giving feedback, correcting your mistakes. Most importantly they help you to keep your motivational levels high. So the question you have to ask yourself when you are trying to achieve your goal—“Who are part of your support group”.

Running the last 50 metres of the race with my lovely wife Aishwarya.

My support group in 2004.Aishwarya, Mom ,Dad my friend Shrikant. Aishwarya has taken this picture