Hello from the land of speed:Only a couple of track workouts left until race day. Today’s workout was simple but looooong (for me, at least): Half-mile warm-up. Three miles fast. One mile easy. Two miles fast. Zero cool down because who has time for that? I have to do my hair and get to work.My goal was 6:40-6:45 for the fast bits, but this is what actually happened: 6:55, 6:52, 6:46 // 6:46, 6:46. A little slower than I’d hoped — but if you met your goals all the time, then they wouldn’t exactly be “goals,” right? Or something like that. All I know is that I gave it my best, or at least my best for today! Looking forward to a rest day tomorrow. It’s been a big week of running.
When I haven’t been actually running this week, I’ve been motivating myself by listening to the Runner’s Connect podcast. Yesterday I heard Tina ask two interviewees why they liked to run marathons. It got me thinking: why the heck do I like to run marathons, anyways? While running in circles for 45 minutes this morning I came up with the following five reasons:
- The distance is challenging, but forgiving. This is probably what I love the most about marathons — the distance itself. 26.2 miles sounds terribly long and painful to most people (and believe me, it can be), BUT on the plus side: because marathons are so darn long, you have plenty of extra to “make up” for a bad mile or two. Example: You miss your goal pace by 30 seconds during mile 15. At that point, you have eleven whole miles left — as long as you shave off a few seconds per mile, you’ll still be fine. In comparison, a 5k basically gives you one shot to run a stellar pace — and if you don’t hit your goal pace in the first mile, you don’t really have time to recover. The longer the course, the more pace forgiveness you can find
- You never know what could happen. No matter how hard you train or how pancake-flat a marathon course is, there’s still plenty of room for random events to make your race day totally amazing or totally awful. I mean, think about it: you’re outside for 3-5 hours straight. That’s enough time for a rainstorm to settle in or the temperature to rise by 15 degrees. It’s also enough time for your stomach to cramp or a full blister to develop. Nothing’s more challenging than battling the unpredictability of TIME.
- Strategy is key. After racing for the past seven years, I feel like I can kind of “wing it” when it comes to half marathons and 10ks when it comes to strategy. Even if I go out too fast, I’ll probably have enough energy to push through the last few miles. In a marathon, you can’t get away with stuff like that. As one marathon taught me, you can’t step up to the start line without a pace strategy.
- You’re more badass than the a bunch of other runners. This one is totally shallow, but let’s face it: tons of people have run half marathons and only SOME people have run full marathons. Saying that you’ve run a FULL marathon makes you a lot more badass
- It’s actually about the training. This is true. The marathon itself is a special occasion, but when I look back on all the races I’ve run, the finish line is one of the last things that comes to mind. I remember more about the training runs, the speed workouts, and — most vividly — the conversations and experiences I had with friends during those super long Saturday runs. Even though 20+ milers can hurt, they can also be really fun if you’re in the right people and on the right route. I mean, it’s basically 3+ hours to be outside and chat about absolutely anything with your friends. Crazy long runs are pretty cool when you think about them that way!
- What race distance do you love, and why?