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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

Mr. Walter and marathons

Why would anyone want to impose on themselves the excruciating, tormenting pain that one goes through during the completion of a 42 kilometer race? Many reasons, really: the self-satisfaction of accomplishment, pride, mind-strength, and knowing that you owned the course. With insights from Ames High’s science teacher Craig Walter, I will elaborate. The repeated phrase “running is not a sport” will never die. However, considering the history of running, it can be proven that running was one of the earliest born sports. As the legend goes, a Greek soldier from the town of Marathon in the first century A.D. was chosen to inform the townspeople of Athens of the defeat of the Persians. He sprinted all the way without stopping, and collapsed dead as soon as he reached his destination. While this is somewhat intimidating, be aware that the soldier probably had no prior training and did not pace himself correctly. The only thing fueling him may have been the adrenaline rush from the victory. What makes a runner more apt to faster speed and greater endurance? Since pain is received as a signal by the brain, the majority of one’s abilities are psychological. A runner must have a creative imagination in order to picture themselves succeeding. It’s easy to lose motivation and quit, but since mental might exceeds physical endurance, it is important to being with a positive mindset. Along with discipline, components such as nutrition, experience, and strength-training factor in. When Walter and the rest of Team Vardo (a group of eager joggers) were preparing for a half marathon (13.1 miles), they pumped the iron hour after hour trying to improve muscle strength. Along with that, the crew voted out members they thought were wusses and slowed the Team down. For more details, contact Walter. Completing the race in one hour and 45 minutes, Walter was mildly disappointed, but remained determined. “I underdressed for the October weather,” he said, commenting on the race. “I averaged at about eight minutes per mile, but had hoped to be somewhere in the sevens.” For the next few days, as is common, muscle fatigue and soreness kicked in. “I really only did it to fit in with my runner friends,” he said. Despite this, is there another half marathon awaiting Walter in the future? Possibly. “Next time, I’ll definitely buy all the good-looking, pricey sports gear and not slack off in my workouts as much.” When beginning to train for a marathon, a runner ought to develop a list of short and long term goals. A training schedule might last 20+ weeks and include daily 10 milers, but should also fit in days of rest. An intense, long run should be scheduled once a week, tapering every fourth week. Runners are recommended one or two years of consistent running under their belts before starting such excessive workouts. Marathons are one of the hardest competitions in sports, yet running tends to have a reputation for lacking sports criteria. One hypothesis is that people are actually terrified of running a lap and are extremely jealous of those who can. Therefore, it is easiest to insult those dedicated runners by making them feel inferior to other athletes. In reality, however, only the runners who train at high altitudes, block away the pain, and run until they can’t feel their legs anymore are the true athletes.

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