Seven Reasons to Run the Half Marathon

A little over a month ago, I issued the The 2008 Half Marathon Challenge. I invited our employees, spouses, authors and agents to run either the The Big-D Texas Marathon & Half Marathon in Dallas on April 6 or The Country Music Marathon & Half Marathon in Nashville on April 26. So far, we have 102 employees signed up. My goal is 158.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/dulezidar, Image #5053129

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/dulezidar

In various meetings last week, several people told me they were “on the fence.” This post is a shameless attempt to get you off the fence and sign-up! Here are seven reasons why you need to do so:

  1. It will get you into the best shape of your life. I’m fifty-two years old. I can honestly say that I have never been in better shape. I feel great! I didn’t feel this way eighteen months ago. Before I started running, I was twenty pounds overweight. I wasn’t sleeping well. I was worried about growing older and thought that perhaps this was just the aging process. Wrong! It doesn’t have to be that way, and I have proven it to myself.
  2. It will make you more energetic and productive than you ever thought possible. This is the surprising thing about any kind of exercise. You think it would make you more tired because you are expending energy. However, I have experienced just the opposite. Since I have started running, I am more energetic and productive than I have ever been—and I wasn’t doing too badly before.
  3. It will teach you an enormous amount about goal-setting—and the ups and downs along the way. Whenever you set a goal, you almost immediately encounter Resistance. (See The War of Art by Steven Pressfield for a great discussion of this phenomenon. He’s the same one who wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance.) This also happens with running. However, you have more control over the variables than other projects, so it comes down to passion and discipline. Running is a great metaphor for how all of life works.
  4. It will give you an exhilarating sense of accomplishment when you finish. I loved running across the finish line last year. So did scores of my colleagues here at Thomas Nelson. There’s no feeling quite like it. I think I was high for days. As I have spoken with other runners, I have discovered that this is a common experience. You will find that this spills over into other areas of your life.
  5. It will test your resolve in ways that will be applicable to every other area of your life. When I decided I would run again this year, I created a spreadsheet. I mapped out every run leading up to the race. However, the whole thing blew up two weeks into my plan when I developed plantar fasciitis. This indeed tested my resolve. It would have been so easy to quit. After all, I had a good excuse. But I refused. I have been working out on the elliptical machine and the stationary bike. Frankly, I needed this kind of cross-training, and my injury has forced me to do it. And I am still progressing toward my goal.
  6. It will give you the confidence to take on other significant life goals. Achieving any important goal will help build your confidence. In this sense, running is no different. It was a huge boost to my own confidence. Since completing my first Half Marathon last year, I have noticed that I am willing to dream bigger and set higher goals. I suddenly realize that more is possible.
  7. It will model taking care of yourself to the other significant people in your life. I think this is really important. Whether you think of yourself as a leader or not, others look up to you. Maybe it’s your employees, your children, or even your spouse. When you decide to walk or run, you model the importance of taking care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be of much use to anyone else.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. These are simply my reasons. What are yours?

If you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for? Now is the only moment you have. Just by signing up, you will feel your life begin to shift. Come on. I dare you!

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  • http://mymarathonblog.wordpress.com Michael E

    I’ve started training for the Country Music Marathon. Running has made me feel better and have more energy. In turn, this has made me a noticebly happier person. A trusted coworker commented that I am more pleasant to be around. I think that’s a complement. But I’ve also found some other benefits to running that are not about health. I blogged about these. Click on my name, and read.

  • Bobby Maxwell

    I second your encouragement to your group and attest that all of your statements are true. One year ago I was overweight and had no energy. I started running and have lost 25 lbs over the course of the year. My energy and attitude have never been more positive and I attribute the change in both to the exercise. It takes discipline (I run 3x/week) but it is well worth it! Best of luck to everyone in your group!

  • http://daveanthold.typepad.com/elevate Dave

    Michael – I love your chart – it reminds me of my cross country coaching days. Let me add one more suggestion, if I may, to your training schedule.

    When I trained the team, we obviously were training five days a week, but one of the things we did was get in a pool and do kick-flippers while holding on to the edge of the pool and then we we run (you can use an aqua vest) for a period of time. Also, I would suggest that you do a 3 week build in mileage and then do a slight rest week (usually down to the 2nd week mileage) and then build again. The reduction gives your body just enough rest to appreciate it, while it prepares you for the next build phase – that way your taper isn’t as dramatic.

    I hope this helps.

  • Temitayo Favour Nicole Ajobo

    Running actually makes me feel great about myselves. You feel like wow’I can believe I ran this far or this long’ but my problem is getting started for the race but with this tips I’ve received from Mike expecially the 2nd and 3rd one I think I’ll help myself and I also want to add that this goal can work if you are prepared to run with a friend (or friends) then you would challenge each other or one another

  • Anonymous

    how’s amazon’s kindle doing? my guess is not so well…major flop

  • http://blog.runnerslounge.com amy

    Great post on the half marathon! I see your side bar has your stats at 145 toward your 158 runners – fantastic! Congratulations!

    For our Take It and Run Thursday edition of our blog this week we are featuring posts of Half Marathons. If you have a moment on Thursday – drop yours off (it takes about 10 seconds) as well as look through to find a few that might be useful to your growing army of HM’s!

  • wannabe

    Okay,
    I have to ask: How? When do you find time in your schedule to do this? A wife, kids, full-time job, How? I would like to see some outline of a schedule that you follow on a day to day basis. What time do you get up? What time do you get home? How many hours are you working? These are some tips for a family man that could be helpful before I launch into running. Please blog about it. Thanks.

    Wannabe

  • Dan Hardaway

    Michael, Lorraine and I had a blast running the CMM with you guys last year. Can we do it again? It’s always more fun to do it with someone, and that shirt is our favorite. I’ve been able to talk to more people at the YMCA and at the track as a result of training in that shirt this year. The grace of God and running have repaired my lungs, and this year my wife has averted osteoporosis and for the first time in 3 years got a normal dexascan.

  • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

    considering doing this this year. how much time would you recommend to train?

  • http://profile.typekey.com/mhyatt/ Michael Hyatt

    @Jeff: You really need to get on a specific plan, depending on your age, fitness level, etc. I suggest that you look at some of those I recommend in Resources for Beginning Runners (and Walkers). Thanks.

  • cindy donaldson

    Michael – this has been on my "To Do" list for a long long time – We have the Hartford marathon here in CT – also offering a Half. It's all about deciding to do it and then getting it done. I've run races, and go to the gym every morning – but the marathon is a biggie that scares me a bit. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Cindy

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    If there are seven reasons to do a half marathon, there must be 14 reasons to do a full one, and 28 reasons to do a full one roundtrip. Of course, this calculation doesn't make sense on its face; neverthess, math is the queen of sciences.

    Keeping fit is great, but I prefer biking or walking uphill on a treadmill's soft and springy surface. I think running is bad for the knees. Humans haven't been walking upright for very long, evolutionarily speaking, for our knees to support our full weight for a lifetime without developing problems down the road. It stands to reason that jogging on a concrete surface only speeds up the inevitable wear and tear.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know of anyone who advocates running on concrete. It is definitely bad for you.

      However, I would argue, as Christopher McDougall does, that man is born to run. If you use the right technique, it is not harmful to the knees.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

        Yeah, I suppose it's all a matter of doing it correctly. The correlation between running injuries and running shoes sounds interesting.

      • Brett Cooper

        Yes, I love McDougall’s book. Born to Run is my top read for the year so far. I started running barefoot because of its convincing message, and the experience is like stepping from black and white into Technicolor. As you know, Mr. Hyatt, running barefoot even a quarter of the time can lead to strengthened feet (we needlessly support every inch of our feet; it’s unnatural and it only weakens them) as well as to corrected form and much lower incidence of running-related injuries. Just be sure to read up on the subject and approach the transition slowly. So joyous and liberating!

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I am now running 4–5 miles a day in Vibram’s. This has really strengthened my feet and legs. But I did work into it slowly.

          • Brett Cooper

            I just bought my first pair of Vibrams (Komodos) and love them. You might want to consider running truly barefoot part of the time, though. According to some of the “barefoot running gurus,” such as Barefoot Ken Bob, wearing Vibrams alone can lead to injury because they still represent a layer of material between your feet’s nerve endings and the ground. Evidently, injuries to runners who wear Vibrams exclusively are relatively commonplace. You likely know all of this, but I thought I’d throw it out there just in case.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I actually rotate between three different pairs of barefoot shoes. However, I don’t run truly barefoot. I may have to that.

  • joshuamtaylor

    May I ask how far you could run, without tiring, before you started training?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Less than a mile!

  • http://www.jondale.com Jon Dale

    So Mike…do Spence and I need to come up with 21 reasons why someone should do a triathlon?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Please don’t do that. You might just convince me!

  • http://twitter.com/wpmjones Patrick Jones

    The link to your spreadsheet appears to be broken.  I’d love to see how you tracked your running.  Between this post and your recent post on three non-physical benefits, you almost have me convinced to take up running.  And I hate the idea of exercise!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Sorry about that. It should be fixed now.

  • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie (Lionstand)

    Mike,

    I noticed you had a broken link to your spreadsheet. There’s a plugin the John over at Tentblogger recommended that I use called “Broken Link Checker.” Works like a charm for me.

    Here’s the link if you’re interested.

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/broken-link-checker/

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for pointing that out.

  • http://www.lifestyleupdated.com/ Slavko Desik

    Testing our resolve, albeit difficult and vague at the begging, always sets to be our greater teacher in life. Teacher not that much in the sense of learning extrovert like, but in the sense of learning the inside. And that is what conquers most challenges in life.  
    Being a model is also modeling ourselves in our eyes as much as it is in the eyes of others.

    I started running 5k’s mostly for similar reasons and what you have listed here is just plain experience comprised into a post. Great job.

  • Dale Aceron

    Hi Michael,
    Great push for your employees. Last summer I started to run for fun. Then I started to love it so much that I trained for my first half and ran sub 1:40. Now I’m trying to get people at my church to run one.
    You’re right in point 6, I now feel as though I can take on more than I could before.

  • Jarrod

    I have a marathon on April 6. I just completed a 17.5 mile run on Saturday. Now my resolve will be tested because I have a bad stomach bug. Great post and great reminders for life.

  • http://www.coachingreallyworks.com/ Abe S.

    Great article! 5 and 6 are very real to me in my life right now. I have a goal to loos my belly and I’m on a dynamic program to reach that goal. A big reason for working towards this goal has been to learn more in those areas so I can apply it to the other goals I have in my life and business.

  • http://davehilgendorf.com/ Dave Hilgendorf

    I ran the Twin Cities Half- Marathon 1997 or 1998 (don’t recall which). It was a great experience. I injured my knee soon after that and probably should have quit but was determined to run the Twin Cities Marathon a month later. The first decision was a great one, for all the reasons you stated, and more. The decision to continue training through pain so I could say I ran a marathon was more pride-based and ended up a poor choice since I made my knee much worse. Just this year I started running again for the first time, partly inspired by you, Michael. I’m just past the stage where I have to stop for being out of breath, which is a great feeling. I’m going to look into what’s available in the North Carolina/Virginia area for half-marathons and MAY decide to do this.