For centuries mankind has been keenly aware of running benefits and has travelled long journeys on foot to center themselves or seek answers. Choosing to run a marathon can give you a renewed sense of purpose and help you feel more grounded. Especially if you’re going through a tough time or have undergone a major life change. Sometimes, we simply need to challenge ourselves by trying something new and choosing to run a marathon can be an excellent option. For most of us, running 26.2 miles is nothing less than an odyssey to say the least. That’s why it’s extremely important for marathon runners to a have a strong mental and physical plan, which comes down to the right kind training. You should also consult with your doctor beforehand to get their thumbs up on whether they think you’re in shape for running a full or half marathon.

“Marathons hurt. This is true for first-time runners as well as veterans who want to improve their times. Knowing this at the outset is essential,” said Duncan Simpson, a sports psychologist at Barry University, who spoke to Vox. “You’ve got to have some acceptance that discomfort and pain will happen. One of the best ways of dealing with it is remembering the fundamental reason you’re running the race, whether it’s a specific time you want to hit, a charity you’re raising money for, or simply a basic desire to finish a marathon for the first time.” Most runners will say that aside from the physical benefits, it’s the broader life lessons that marathons offer you that make it worth your while. Here are 10 reasons you should put on those sneakers and run a marathon.  Even if it’s a half one.

1. Incredible Sense of Accomplishment
There are things in life that merit bragging rights. And one of the greatest running benefits is being able to say to people you meet, “I ran a marathon,” is one of them. Go, you!

Read Related: Running A 5K? You Can Do it, Here’s How


2. It Builds Endurance
Starting from a point where simply going up a flight of stairs used to leave you breathless, by the time you’re ready to run the marathon, flights of stairs will seem like a walk in the park. And this endurance is both physical and mental, too.

3. Helps You Become Disciplined
Running a marathon isn’t just a sport you practice on occasion. It requires strict discipline so that your body can build up endurance or else you are wasting your time. There’s no room for flakiness here. No wonder the runner is the room is usually the most successful.


4. Set an Example for Your Family
Since you are a role model to your children and the rest of the family, why not show them what you are really made of? While they might laugh at first, and not understand the concept of long-distance running, when they start seeing your commitment and drive daily, you will inspire them.

5. Be in the Best Shape of Your Life
Always wanted a toned, sleek runner’s body? The time has come to shed that body fat and see muscle and toning that you hadn’t seen since you were a teenager.


6. To Raise Money for a Good Cause
Whether it’s to raise money for breast cancer, Parkinson’s, or the cause of your choice, when you run a marathon for a cause not only are you doing others good, but being good to yourself.

7. Renewed Sense of Purpose
If your life beforehand seemed like it lacked focus and a drive to it, training for a marathon will consume you and start your engines running both physically and mentally.


8. Self Discovery
People learn the most about themselves while going through emotional challenges in their life, but physical and mental challenges, like building up to a marathon, can help you learn much about yourself.

9. Practice Perseverance
Many who train for marathons find a sense of perseverance they didn’t know they had before they began training. This can be empowering and encouraging in many other areas of life – not just physical activity.


10. Meet New People
Running in groups can keep you motivated and get you used to running with others if you’ve been a solo runner all your life. You’ll be amazed how friendships blossom around the passion for running. Then there’s the celebrating you’ll do together when you all cross that finish line.