Photo courtesy of Aaron Hausher.

Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment for an individual regardless of age, size or athletic ability. The marathon tests your willpower, strains your emotions and forces you to stretch your limits. From your first training to the second you cross that finish line, you will learn more about your personal determination, your grit and your ability to overcome the seemingly impossible.

For the average runner, the thought of tackling a trek of 26.2 miles is daunting. It is easy to dismiss the idea as crazy, or even impossible. With proper training and the right mindset, however, the marathon is easily achievable. In its most basic element, the marathon boils down to simply one foot in front of another—left foot, right foot, left foot. Having said that, there is a lot of information you should know to help you start and complete this journey.

Training for a marathon can take anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on the individual. For most average runners, the general timeframe to train for a marathon is four months. This allows your muscles, bones and joints plenty of time to build a tolerance to the additional bodily wear and tear that comes with extended distances. In retrospect, four months is quick enough to keep you focused and motivated. Too much training can lead to discouragement and abandonment of your goals, as well as increased risk of injury.

When training for a marathon, there are 3 areas in which you should focus: Diet – putting the right fuel into your body; Equipment – having the right clothes, shoes and other tools to aid your efforts; Training – the most important part is getting out and running. Each topic is essential to building up your distance to 26.2 miles. In consecutive blogs, I will delve into the details and important information for each topic individually. All 3 areas open up a new world of vital elements that you should know in order to make your goal of finishing the marathon a reality.

For now, keep running, keep pushing your limits and keep focusing on your goal. And at the end of the day, remember that it’s simply left foot, right foot, left foot…

Aaron Hausher is a 19 year-old sophomore at the University of Oklahoma majoring in Petroleum Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. He is a member of NSCS, Alpha Tau Omega, and the President’s Leadership Class. Aaron ran cross country throughout high school and uses running in college to stay healthy and relieve stress. He has completed 2 marathons and his lifetime ambition is to complete the Ironman Triathlon. Follow him on Twitter at @AHausher.