to marathon or not

There’s the question that I’ve been struggling with for a while now. I have no idea whether or not I want to run a marathon. I’m in a very strange place, with my thoughts on registering for one pretty much all over the map.

My top five random thoughts in no particular order:

1.) I should just go for it because it’s the natural progression of the sport. 5k, 8k, 10k, half…FULL. Makes perfect sense.

2.) But maybe it would make more perfect sense to master each distance before moving on to a full? So, instead of showing up to each race and just squeaking by, I should actually set time goals that need to be achieved before moving on to bigger and better things.

3.) Now is so very much the time to do it. I’m comfortably running 12 mile long runs on the weekend. At this point I’m almost halfway there. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into my half-marathon training and who knows what the future may bring. I could let a big opportunity slip by if I don’t go for it soon.

4.) {This is where things get a little weird…} I would much rather skip marathons all together and head straight for an ultra (!??!?!?!) Yeah, there’s logic behind this one, but it would require a post all of it’s own.

and finally…

5.) I could be very happy with ‘only’ a half under my belt and there’s always trail running. Got a taste of it recently. Loved it. Could easily see myself saying goodbye to pavement for a while and making 2013 all about off-roading!

Well, there it is. This is why I can’t seem to decide if I’m going to go for 26.2 or not. In the meantime, when people ask me if I’m going to do one I just tell them I’m not sure I have ‘the time’. This is a complete and total B.S. answer. See, non-runners hear that and enthusiastically shake their head ‘yes’ in agreement. They either have no idea what it’s like to train for a race OR you’re giving them the extremely convenient answer that they WANT to hear.  BUT…you offer up that exact same response to a runner and they know it’s a cop-out. If you want to do it, you will make the time. As it is I leave the house at 7:30 AM for my weekend long run. Would leaving at 6:30 really make that much of a difference? No. Of course not. Will I need to run 20 miles per day for six straight months. No. Of course not. Time is definitely not the deciding factor. I am.

…to be continued…eventually.


10 thoughts on “to marathon or not

  1. Why not gradually increase your distance and see how it goes? I’ve got my first half marathon in October, I’ll then gradually increase my distance to over 20 miles and then look at entering a marathon, if I feel like I want to do it. No pressure.

    • I definitely like the no pressure approach!! At this point I’ve been consistently maintaining half-marathon training mileage since early summer. I did my first half in July…maintained mileage through our relay in August and now I’m in the final weeks of pre-race training for my half the first weekend in October. I think that’s why I’m starting to feel so done with half-marathons. It’s almost like I feel ‘stuck’ at 12 miles for my long runs, but I don’t really want to go higher for fear of ‘pushing it’ since i literally have a race every weekend next month. this year i was registered for a ton of smaller races, so there’s part of me that would rather do one BIGGIE next year instead of a million 5ks-13.1’s!

      btw – good luck with your training!!! 🙂

  2. The question you should ask yourself (which you kind of are in #2) is why you run/enter races. If it’s just to see if you can finish, then sure, doing a marathon would be the next step. I consider myself a “real” distance runner, but I choose not to race longer than 10 miles because I’d rather focus my training on becoming better at each distance. Shorter races are cheaper to enter, and you can do them more often which means more opportunities to improve your times!

    • This year was one filled with running 1sts for me. Prior to it I’d only registered for 5ks. So, I packed my race calendar with 8/10ks a relay and two halfs (one virtual). Mainly because I wanted the experience of them all…but it feels like once you start talking over 20 miles just getting the ‘experience’ doesn’t seem like a good enough reason anymore. I feel like there needs to be more of a goal than just: ‘cross the finish line, on my own two feet, preferably at a run’. I know someone who enters one race a year…he says he doesn’t like the mentality of racing (which i totally get). This is a person who runs 15 miles like it’s nothing…at a sub-8 min pace. he doesn’t need water, fuel, a garmin, nothing…just goes out and runs carefree. that’s something that i think gets lost when you’ve got a race every weekend! particularly when it’s the shorter distances and pretty much everyone at the start line is itchin’ for a PR!

  3. I often think that I want to do a marathon because it is the next step and everyone else seems to think I should be moving on to that distance……but some days I am just not sure. It is funny you should mention ultras because I think I would enjoy those as well given that they are usually in the mountains somewhere involving beautiful scenery and trails. Tricky, tricky.

    • Exaaaactly. There’s an expectation that as a runner you need to cross all of these milestones off of your list. The first thing people ask when they hear I run is ‘have you done a marathon?’ and when I tell them no, but I recently did my first half…I can actually HEAR the disappointment in their voice when they say ‘ooooh’. As if I’m a marathon-reject 😐 So, it’s hard not to get caught up in that line of thinking…that I will only have fully achieved runner-status once I complete 26.2. It’s another thing that I have to struggle with…am I doing it for myself or for everybody else?!?!

      YES! About the ultras! From what I hear it’s an ENTIRELY different vibe from road racing. A vibe that I find very appealing. PLUS…a 50k is a little over 5 miles more than a marathon…if I can squeak out an 5 extra miles I’ll earn ULTRA before my runner status 😉

  4. Have you looked into the half-mara trail runs? Those look like fun fun fun!! I want to do one badly because it’s one thing to run a half but a whole other to do it in a narrow path jumping over rocks and roots with a crowd. I say try it all!

    Hey when did you change the name of your blog?? lol I just noticed. 😛

    • i have one 7 mi trail run in mind for next year and the 50k i’m considering will be on trails for a good portion of it. so, if i do go for it i’ll be taking some time away from pavement! honestly the more i’ve been thinking about it over the last few days the more i think i’m done with halfs. i DEFINITELY still want to do the one in may if you can make it, but otherwise i think i might head in a different direction for next year.

      lol, a while ago…you know me and blogs…i’m surprised i’m still using this same site! it’s been 9 months already!! out of all of them only Tree Frog Blog lasted longer than that 😉

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