Once again, an article in Running Times has got me thinking. It was all about marathons and how we runners have developed this obsession with the distance. The article argued that we could potentially be better served by concentrating our efforts on shorter distances. The reasoning is that to run a really good marathon, one to your potential, you need to put in mega-miles–as in 70 to 120/week. For most mere mortals, that’s not possible. But if you were to apply your typical average athlete’s training mileage for a marathon to a 1/2 marathon or shorter distance, you’d stand to really rock those events.
I think the article makes a lot of sense. I’d love to run 70-plus miles/week, but…do I have time or would I have the energy left over for the rest of my life? Probably not. Would my body hold out? Don’t know. So according to the article, I’ll never realize my best potential in the marathon with the mileage I put into it.
In spite of this logic, it is the marathon I love, the distance I care about more than any other. I do other races throughout the year, but it’s my fall marathon that really matters to me. What’s kind of sad is that I dedicate so much thought, time and energy to an event that has so many variables beyond the training. Factors like weather, GI stability, sleep, and life in general can throw all those miles out the window. No other event has the potential to break your heart like the marathon. But…
I’m not going to stop my obsession with the marathon any time soon. I love logging the miles, I love the challenge of the distance, both mentally and physically. Maybe some day I’ll come around, but not right now. What about you?
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