If you are a runner, you consider running a marathon at one point or another.
You don’t have to run one, it won’t make you a better or worse runner, it’s not a rite of passage, or a title you must own. But you will think about it, ponder if you should do it.
Here are the reasons why I decided against running a marathon this year, and why you might too:
- Get the body adjusted: Running a marathon is hard on our bodies. Jumping into it with just a few months of running background is not enough. We’ve all seen the 4 months training plans, they are great and they work, but it’s not always clear that to start one of those programs we need to have a solid running base. I’ve been running for a year, to me that’s just not enough. I know I can run a marathon if I wanted to, but at what pace? How would my body react? Would I be risking injury? I need more time.
- Haven’t trained enough: I could have played this one differently, but it just didn’t happen. By the time I started thinking about running a marathon, it would have been a tight schedule to make the February/March marathons coming up in Israel. Rushing training, especially for my first marathon didn’t make sense. Sure, I could find a race abroad that fit my schedule, but I rather keep it local for a first, and avoid the extra stress.
- I have no time: Not only will marathon training require 4 months, something we don’t always have, but also those few hours long runs would take me away from family/work/life. I know it’s doable, but now it’s not the right time for me.
- I’m scared shitless of the distance: Yes, it’s true. 42.2KM/26.2M scare me. I’ve been getting better at long runs, and have made it up to 25KM/15.5M feeling good both during and after, but still, I’m a long way away from 42.2KM/26.2M.
- If I do it, then it has to be good: Many people run a marathon for the experience, a one-time thing that you treasure forever, even if it took them 7 hours and they walked half the distance. I accept we all have different reasons for doing all things in life. However for me, when I do run a marathon, I’m going to push myself to get the best time I can manage. For that I need good training, smart training. Sure I could wake up tomorrow morning and run/walk a 42.2KM/26.2M, but that’s not my goal.
- I don’t want to hurt myself: This year has been a good running year for me. I started training and running much harder than I was, I made progress, and I want it to stay that way at least until the end of this running season. I know I can run a marathon without hurting myself, hopefully, but I’m not willing to risk it.
- It’s not going to improve my running: As much as I like a good challenge, the distance, the time spent running, the glory of saying “I did it”, running a marathon is not going to do anything for my running. It won’t make me a faster runner, it won’t make me a better runner.
And here are a few reasons why I might run one next year:
- I love running: Oh you knew that..? Well, it’s true. Mastering a training plan, doing all the training runs, managing longer and longer runs, all that sounds like a lot of fun for me.
- Smart planning: There is still a lot of time until next year’s marathons, so I’ll be able to plan accordingly. I can take a rest period before I start training so my body is well rested before I start to push it, I can schedule a few weekend mornings away from home for the long runs, etc. The gift of time.
- Body and mind in the right place: This might not be the same for everyone, but I feel like running a marathon will mean a big investment from me in terms of time, mental energy, body strength, etc. The more time I have to come to terms with it, plan accordingly, and get my body and mind to the right place, the better.
- Bragging rights: come on, it’s not like you any of us are or would keep quiet about running a marathon… the sooner I do it, the sooner I can brag about it.
Have you thought of running a marathon? Have you run one? What made you make the decision to run it or not?