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Marathoning | Not for Me

Marathoning | Not for Me

I don’t love the marathon distance.

I wrote this post almost a week before running the New York City Marathon. About 2 weeks beforehand, I realized I just didn’t “love” marathoning. Before New York in 2018, I thought maybe I didn’t like marathons because I hadn’t run enough. Maybe I just needed practice. So in 2018, I decided to run another. I did well and ran a PR of 3:07.

The truth is, marathons never swept me off my feet. I never felt like I “needed” to run marathons to be a runner. New York has been 3 out of 4 of my marathons. I’ve enjoyed those steps crossing bridges, through Midtown, First Avenue, and all of it. I liked the race, but I don’t enjoy the training, the exhaustion, and 20 miles run.  I don’t “love the grind” of runs more than 15 miles.

I like to run. I don’t need anyone to motivate me to run, but I don’t like to run 20 miles. I don’t go to bed thinking about a long run the next morning. I go to bed, get up, run, and move on with my day. I like the rush of finishing a half marathon or 5k, knowing that I may or may not puke at the end. I don’t quite get that rush from marathons. I finish the marathon, half delusional from exhaustion, and think about what happened.

A few years ago, I decided after my second marathon (Pheonix); I was done with marathons for a while. It was before “Instagram running” was a big thing and not everyone was training for a sub-3-hour marathon or even 2:45.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for anyone going after those goals, but it’s not for me. Neither has ever been a bucket list or goal of mine.

After Phoenix, it took me about 3 years to want to run another marathon. Maybe it will take me three more years, maybe 5, maybe 20, I don’t know. I’m not into it and that’s okay.

Anyone who I’ve talked to in 2019 (about running), knows it has not been my year of running. I’m running 1:30+ half marathons when my PR is 1:22.  sub 20 minute 5ks are working hard, when my goal used to be breaking 18 mins.

It hasn’t been because I don’t work hard, but things haven’t clicked. I’ve had outside stress and I attempted to start marathon training when I should have stuck to shorter stuff and gained speed back.

My goal from Big Cottonwood Marathon was to start and finish the marathon healthy. That didn’t happen. When the opportunity presented itself to run New York City for the third time, I jumped on it. I was beyond grateful from New Balance.

My goal from Big Cottonwood transferred to New York: Start and Finish healthy. It was never to “secretly PR” or to run X time. I simply wanted to finish a training cycle healthy. I was able to do that. The 1:36 a few weeks ago at the Atlantic City half or the 3:27 at NYCM is slower than I’ve run in a long time, I was beyond happy to finish my slowest marathon yet.

After some rest and recovery, my goal is to regain speed something I’ve lost since early 2018. I want to run fast. Gone are the days that a sub 20 minute 5k seems “easy” to me and it’s something I need to work hard to get back too.

I’m ready to start training for shorter things and gain speed back. I am ready for the rush of “feeling fast” and the feeling of a 5k. There aren’t a lot of winter fast 5ks so I’m hoping to get quality mileage, a base, and speed workouts and find some shorter races this spring.

I’m looking forward to shorter distances and a challenge that excites me. Running another marathon to finish or even PR, doesn’t.

Questions for you:

What’s your favorite racing distance?

Are you currently training for anything? 

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13 responses

  1. Nothing wrong with doing the race distances you like – I don’t like the Ironman distance so I don’t do it. I do what makes me happy. If half marathons and 5ks make you happy and make you enjoy running more, have at it.

  2. My “best” and favorite distance to race is the half marathon. But, I actually really love marathon training. Probably more than I like running the actual marathon! Run what you love to run – no one is making us do this!

  3. My favorite distance is the half marathon. It’s the one I’m best at and that my body likes best. I like marathons, too, but am no longer looking for a PR in either distance. I’d like to dedicate some time to training for 5Ks next year to see if I can find my fast again.

  4. The marathon IS my favorite, but I agree with you – why do something you don’t want to do? We do this for fun!!

  5. This is totally what I was telling my sister yesterday. The marathon (& even halfs) are glamorized. I’m doing an 8k this weekend & have enjoyed not feeling pressure to do 70-80miles a week. I much prefer training doing just 3-6miles a day of running and balancing it out with lifting and rolling/stretching. Im looking forward to doing more of the 5-10k distances in the next few years!

  6. I think my favorite is the half. 5ks and 10ks can be painful the whole way. I like that I can sort of always be ready to run a half. I just PRed this last weekend which has been 4 years in the making and my goal every darn year. I have another next month that now I can just use to run for fun, so excited about that since it’ll be in northern Maine in December. Thinking about going for marathon number 2 next spring.

    • That’s awesome Erika and congrats on your PR. Good luck in Maine, I bet it will be beautiful.

  7. I was telling this to my mom after my last marathon. Same feeling of “maybe I just need one more??” And trying to find a reason as to why I don’t *love* it as much as I love the half marathon. I’m not giving up on it yet because I really want to love it and I love 18+ runs.

    • That’s interesting Kelsey and I hope you do find the joy in it. Do you have another one coming up?

      • Considering New Jersey Marathon in the spring, if not I’ll definitely do the half. And I’m doing NYC next year.
        I think part of it is I haven’t had a good training cycle. I’ve only done two fulls and went into both underprepared.

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