Marathon suck. Yes, I said it, marathon suck. I’m going to give you five reasons you should not run a marathon.
Now, before you skewer me as a totally not normal runner, hear me out. I’ve got plenty of good reasons here. And this comes from a guy who has never actually run a marathon, so take it with a grain of salt, I guess. But I’ve been running competitively for 20 years, and I didn’t get into marathons post-college because I was into triathlon, which the shorter ones last as long as a marathon, then I got into half Ironmans, which lasts even longer. So, say, no, I have not specifically run a marathon, but I’ve competed in events much longer than the marathon. So, take it with a grain of salt, but know that I have at least some credentials here to speak on this topic.
And that goes along with my number one reason why you should not do a marathon. And that is, it is a huge time drain. It’s going to take away from everything that you do basically; work, family, social life, you spend more time training, more and more time training, marathon, half Ironman, Ironman especially, takes up a ton of time. So, if you are not willing to make that sacrifice, you’re not willing to say, hey, I’m okay, cutting out all these other things out of my life to get this thing done, don’t do it.
Reason number two, injury potential. This goes up anytime we do the same activity for larger and larger periods of time. Now, that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get through it completely healthy, you can. But the likelihood of not having any kind of injury is relatively low as you add miles. Of course, we have the 10% rule, we try to adjust our mileage and avoid injury. Recently talking to Jason Fitzgerald on the Smart Athlete Podcast, also on this channel, so hit that subscribe button, go check that out here in a minute. When I talked to Jason, he mentioned using strength training as a way to prevent injury. And he’s done a few marathons as well.
That all being said, I know that maybe you or you know somebody who likes to try to cram in miles to get that marathon done just as something to knock off the list. That comes along with the potential for a lot of injury, and you’re going to get the most out of yourself if you’re not injured because consistency breeds results. And if you’re injured, that means you have to take time off, then you know, you’re lacking consistency, because you’re not working out, and it becomes a spiral. So, that is my number two reason not to run a marathon.
Number three kind of goes with number one, and that is a lack of balance. You have no social life, you are going to be spending a lot of time away from your family, away from maybe other hobbies, things that kind of round you out as an individual. Now, I for a long time, you know, really identified as a runner, I did other things, but that was my kind of main personality. That was the thing that defined me. And if that defines you, that’s perfectly fine. But know that you are not just a runner, you are many things, you’re many things to other people. And if you want to continue to develop as an individual, likely, you’re going to have to do other things besides running.
So, because there’s a lack of balance when it comes to all the time you spend training for a marathon, that pulls away from other places you could be developing in your life. And you could be in a place like me where you’re trying to develop your career, you’re trying to earn more money, you’re trying to expand, do all of these things. Well, that comes at a price when you want to say hey, I want to go do a marathon. There are plenty of other distances to compete in that don’t require as much time and therefore allow you a little bit more balance. So, number three is lack of balance.
Number four, and this is a big one, especially if you’re new to this, you’ve only done half marathon or you haven’t done a half marathon, and you are trying to move up to the marathon and that is, it is an energy drain. It takes away so much energy from your body to go and do these long distance events. You’re going to be tired, especially if you’re trying to train at optimal levels to be the fastest you can possibly be. You’re going to be pooped.
So, although you’re already getting a lacking time, once you figure out, okay, I’ve got this other time to do these things; you’re most likely just going to want to sit and not do quite as much. It takes time for your body to adapt to the energy needs that you’re placing on it.
When you’re continuing to build more and more miles, your body has a hard time catching up. Typically, what I suggest, or what I see is it takes two to three weeks at a new level of mileage or intensity for your body to adjust. So, if you’re continually pushing that envelope, building and building and building those miles, it’s going to take quite a while for your body to catch up because it’s trailing the whole way.
So, then by the time you get to the marathon, you can be absolutely exhausted, and then say it’s done. But because of that energy drain, that’s where that injury potential comes back in, remember in number two, and it all plays together. So, if you do not want to be tired all the time, if you’re not willing to accept that, don’t do a marathon because you’re going to be tired.
My fifth and final reason for you to not do a marathon is if you are seeking ego validation from others. Now, this is obviously not a physical issue. This is not a commitment issue. This is something you got to look down deep and say, is this what I’m after? Am I trying to get this gold star so others will see me as something that’s real, as a real runner, because I’ve done a marathon, I can finally check it off my list?
Well, I tell you what, it doesn’t make you a real runner. It really doesn’t. Now, it can make you a momentary runner. There are people that complete a marathon and then never come back to running. Are those people runners? Were they runners? I don’t know. How do they define themselves? And I think that’s kind of the point that I’m after here is that you define yourself, regardless of whether you complete this marathon or not.
I, myself as I mentioned in the beginning of the video, have never completed a marathon. I would definitely consider myself a runner. It’s often that as people get older, they get into marathons, they get into ultras, they get into all these other races; I love 5K, 10K, I love the fast stuff so I keep doing it because that’s what I love to do. I’m not interested in the approval of other people saying, oh, when are you going to do a marathon? I don’t know. Maybe never. Maybe I’ll get the bug. I’m not sure. But I hope you find that place where you’re not seeking the validation of others to say, I’m a real runner, because I’ve done a marathon. If that’s not you, awesome. You’re in the right place, you’re in the right mindset.
So, if you are fine with the time commitment, being tired, lacking a social life, and you’re not seeking the ego validation of others, go for it. Go for it, get it done. Do it to the best of your ability so you can satisfy yourself and your own goals, not anybody else’s, and know that this is something you wanted for yourself, you had the time, energy and commitment to do. So, is there anything else that you’re struggling with? Any questions you have for me you’d like answered? Leave them down in the comments below, and I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.