Marathons and Me…Me and Marathons

I guess there is no hiding what this post is about right?

Right now I’ve run two marathons and neither of them have been enjoyable.  That is the blunt honest truth and yet I find myself pondering whether I should run a fall full marathon.  Right now I plan to train shorter distance and then see where I am at the end of the summer.

Will I run another marathon at some point?

Yes I do know I will eventually…I am not satisfied with either of my marathons…

Is it my favorite distance?


Let’s rewind to a brief history of my running…

I had a very long period of staying injury free.  When I evaluate myself and my training, I can see that period of injury free running stopped when I began training for marathons.  Admittedly I didn’t train that well for either marathon but I did make it through. 

Reflecting upon my running the last 2 years:

I made it through the entire New York City Marathon training cycle injury free.  Since it was my first marathon, it took me a lot longer to recover afterwords .  The marathon was in early November and I was comfortably running again in late December.

YAY marathon...
YAY marathon…

January through April of 2014 were my only “solid” months of training from the last 2 years.  I PRed in a half marathon (which was shocking) but other then that there have been no other PRs or solid races.  Was that half marathon a fluke?  Well I haven’t come anywhere close since!  

A year ago, I ran Broad Street 10 miler at roughly the same pace as my half marathon PR. and until Broad Street yesterday, 2014 was the last race I deem “successful”.   

Cue in the multiple injuries:

My first issue was plantar fasciitis in June of 2014.  I took two weeks off and it didn’t seem to heal.  From mid June until mid July, I dealt with the dreaded PF.  I was training for my second marathon: Wineglass…and the race date kept creeping closer.  Finally by August 1st I was running again.  I still had hope that my base might pull me through.

Then I woke up with a stress fracture in mid August and everything was shut down.  I’m not sure if that stress fracture was a mental relief or not.  I didn’t really want to run Wineglass full marathon but I probably would have if I didn’t have a fracture.  Before my plantar fasciitis I had invested so much time that I didn’t want to waste.

Lots of races...
Lots of time and races… 

From mid August to Mid October I took off from running.  Running on a stress fracture is dumb. I healed well and decided I wanted to run the Phoenix full marathon in February.  Little did I know it would be the perfect break to get out of the east coast during the worst winter in a while.

I actually had really good training for the race and I felt really confident at the race start.  I didn’t race much from December until January but I did have quality training  from November until February.  I was satisfied that I would PR and be around 3:10.

Except the Icicle 10 miler...that was a great race for me
Except the Icicle 10 miler…that was a great race for me

But I didn’t finish around 3:10 like I had hoped because I finished the race in a lot of pain.  I am not saying I would have broken 3 hours in Phoenix if I was injury free but I would have been closer to my goals.  I finished the race with a lot more energy than I should have. I also finished with a lot more hip pain than I should have…

But I somehow cracked a smile
But I somehow cracked a smile

From March until now, I beebopped around with hip, butt and leg pain.  Now that I’m finally running injury free again…do I start another cycle of marathon training?

No…my history right now points to steer clear of marathons.

So where do I go?

As I said my history with full marathons has not been fulfilling.  Not only have I missed my potential but I also haven’t enjoyed running either marathon.

I’m ready to go back and toy around with shorter distances for a while.  I don’t have a number of days, weeks, months or even years to quantify a “while” but I do want to work on shorter distances for a while (I do know it will be at least until the summer).

I plan to run a lot of 5ks in the future.  If everything goes well and according to plan I will be running a 5k nearly every weekend.  I enjoy the availability of small and local 5ks.  I also enjoy that small and local 5ks don’t take commitment and I can sign up a few days prior.  I don’t have to worry about a race being sold out (like it seems every half and full marathon these days!)’

A random 5k in the hail
A random 5k in the hail

Will every 5k be a PR?

Since I haven’t come within 40 seconds of my PR in 2 years I doubt any 5k will be a PR for a while.

Will each 5k work on speed and turnover which eventually could help in longer distances?

Yes…and that is what I’m hoping.

It will be a nice break from 15-20 miler long runs that I don’t need (or want to do) now.  I do enjoy running long, easy distances but I know I will enjoy some faster and shorter races too.  

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  1. Stick with what you enjoy. There are plenty of marathons to be run in the future if you decide to, but don’t second guess yourself. Running should be fun, that’s the most important thing.

  2. Hollie, it definitely sounds like you are making the right decision.
    Local 5Ks are great: easy to get to, not a huge time or training commitment and they are usually fun.
    Take care of yourself and back off on the long races and training runs. Listen to your body.

  3. You had such a great race at Broad Street! I used to live in Philly for grad school and would run that race every year. It’s so much fun! Great job 🙂

  4. When running becomes a “job” or creates anguish, it’s time to reexamine. If you enjoy shorter and faster, then that’s what you should do. I am envious of just how fast you are. When and if you return to the marathon, you’ve easily got sub-3:00 potential. Me? I’m a glutton for punishment. I’m going for marathon #10 this fall and (hopefully) a PR (a.k.a. “How I Will Spend My Summer Vacation”)

  5. Marathoning is really hard on the body (or so I’ve been told). I don’t know how some people do several marathons a year, or a month. I want to give it a shot a few times, but I think I’ll probably prefer 5ks and half marathons too. I hate doing speed work but 5Ks are a great way to get some in and get that competitive atmosphere we’re used to!

    1. It blows my mind how people are able to do several s year. I’ve come to the conclusion if I make it to the starting line if one per year I’ve surpassed my goal LOL.

  6. Hey, if you don’t want to run another marathon right now… that’s a good enough reason. No need to ever justify it, running is a hobby for us and should be fun- it’s not our jobs. IMHO, you rock at all the race distances anyway and it sounds like you’re making the right decision.

  7. Way to do what YOU want to do. I trained for one marathon and got injured the week before the race (two stress fractures) and had to take a few months off from running. During that time I realized that I didn’t know if I wanted to train again – so now I’m sticking to my “happy” race – half marathons. Do what makes you happy – you’ll get a PR before you know it!

  8. I could totally write this post. The marathon and I have never really been friends. I’ve had maybe 3-4 good ones out of around 14. Shorter distances, however, work well for me. I think I have one or two more to go before I just shut the distance down, and even those will not be PR efforts for me. You will crack the code, though, and should, b/c you’re such a talent and haven’t scratched the surface of the distance yet.

  9. I am jumping on the local race wagon! There is a wednesday night 5K series in NYC and I plan on trying to do as many as possible to see how I progress through the summer.

  10. I feel like there’s pressure in the running community (possibly just perceived and not real) to run marathons if you are a runner. I think everyone should run what makes them happy. You are speedy at any distance, but you have to enjoy what you’re doing. Stay true to what works for you!

  11. I think it’s super smart to pass on marathon training for now and stick to distances you enjoy… not only to prevent injuries but to avoid burnout as well. At the end of the day, running should be something fun. If you start dreading it or constantly fearing the next injury, then it’s a good idea to scale back. Marathons will always be there when you feel ready again!

  12. I can relate girl. Coming off this stress fracture (and previous foot/hip/shin injuries), I might put off marathon running for a while until I’m confident that I’m strong enough to train for one without getting injured. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with focusing on shorter distances for a while! There’s so much focus on going longer and longer distances, but having shorter goals is great too!

  13. I don’t think I could even attempt a marathon because of how hard it is to stay healthy through the demands of the training cycle and then the race itself! I agree that the availability of 5Ks is really appealing. Even though Broad Street is a relatively short distance, I get a lot of nerves leading up to it because it requires commitment months in advance, whereas, with a 5K, I can decide to do one hours before if I feel like it. I want to run the Icicle 10 Miler this year! I love the ten mile distance and it would be fun to have something solid to train for in the winter.

    1. I think that’s the problem with marathons (for me personally). It takes such a lot of training and time to stay healthy. Training that hard and staying injury free is such a hard combination!

  14. I say go with what you feel like doing and don’t feel bad about it at all! If you don’t feel much like doing a fall marathon then you can always do another one some other tie when you feel like it. It is great to push your running and your goals…but if you are never enjoying it then go back to what you love :). I am enjoying training and racing right now…but when racing no longer becomes fun for me I will stop and just run for fun 🙂

  15. I’m with ya girl!!! Short distances are where it’s at for me right now! I’m excited to have another blogger to follow that will be doing 5ks and 10ks too! 🙂 best of luck in all your racing coming up!

  16. I don’t think running necessarily needs to be about always setting bigger goals. If you run a good 1/2, then sometimes I think it’s just good to stick with that. Or work on some speed for 5ks or something. But I don’t necessarily think the body is really made to run SO FAR and I really feel like marathoning for a long time (or doing any of the same sort of exercise) is going to lead to lifelong injuries- even if it takes a LONG time to develop. Do what you want and what you enjoy. If marathons aren’t enjoyable, why do them?!

  17. Eh, what’s the rush in a marathon this year anyways? They haven’t helped your running and you’d just have to start training again in two months or so anyways. Enjoy the shorter distances, knock out some PRs, and see what’s motivating in a few more months. Besides, a winter-ish marathon in a warmer location sounds a lot more fun anyways 😉

  18. You’ve given this decision a lot of thought, and based on history and your interests, this is the right choice. Go with your gut! And then see where things are in a few months and if that longer distance bug bits again. 😉

  19. I was just writing a post reflecting on my running history as well – it really tells us a lot about what’s good for us and what isn’t. Glad you’re figuring out where your heart is with running 🙂

  20. What type of training are you going to do for the 5ks? I assume it’s not all zone 2-3 miles like you said you normally do for marathon training.

  21. I also realized I do not like the marathon distance but I’m definitely going to run NYC in Nov. I want to run it and be done and absolutely get a better time then NJ. I hear you with just wanting to be pain and injury free!!!

  22. Oh! That is so awesome. Congrats. I have been injured off and on for the past 3 years and am currently injured. I will hope for a recovered state like you are enjoying now 🙂 Have you always run in the calf sleeves?

    1. odd, this was supposed to be in response to the Broad Street post 🙂

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