How to finish a marathon
How I did it: My first marathon I joined a training group. We learned how to run using the Jeff Galloway method. It's a run/walk. Depending on your skill level at running, you fall into different groups. For example, my group fell right in the middle. So we would start each run out by running three minutes and then walking one, and this would continue the entire way. So we would run three, walk one.
Our first training session we started out at three miles. Then each week we would add one mile to the distance, until we reached longer distances. So when we ran our first 10 mile, the next week we only ran 8. Then the week after we ran 12. Then 8. Then 14, then 10. Then 15, then 8. So on and so forth. Three weeks before the actual marathon we ran a full 26 miles. Then the next two weeks we only ran 8 miles each time.
Twice during each week, on my own, I would run 3 miles, just to keep my body acclimated to running.
Crossing the finish line (6 hours 31 minutes) was the most thrilling moment of my life. Tears of joy and accomplishment streamed down my face, and then it was time for a beer. =)