Monday, May 14, 2012

To Marathon or not to Marathon?

Ok. So I’ve been on the fence about this whole running-a-marathon-thing.

Some reasons FOR:

  • Right now I have plenty of time to run a lot with my part-time work gig

100_7759Tip: Don’t move to CA and plan to continue a career in education

  • SoCal weather is very conducive to running a lot
  • I have people to train with, and they run near my pace
  • I have several half marathons under my belt
  • I’ve been running over 30 miles per week for the last month, comfortably. And enjoying it.
  • Personal preference for longer distances (read: 5ks are not comfortable)
  • At least I’m not a guy (<—source)

Some Against:

  • I’ve been lucky and able to run pretty injury-free…since starting to run, with the half marathon being my longest distance (well, 15 mile training runs). I don’t want to break myself.
  • I don’t want to jump into a marathon solely because it’s the “next thing to do” after a half or feel like I should because so many people I know have run marathons and beyond.  And I don’t know if that’s why I’m considering it.
  • Planning travel (i.e. flying back east to see family. or for fun.) is tricky in the middle of marathon training
  • Marathons are more expensive than half marathons
  • Freak collapses/deaths at races freak me out. I just scheduled a physical.

I guess it comes down to:
1. Just because lots of people run marathons, does that mean it’s a good idea for me?  AND
2. I don’t want to hurt myself. Because I want to keep running.

I have a friend who runs at a similar pace running her first full at Long Beach (October 7).

I had it in the back of my mind that I would run the half marathon in my town on November 4th since it’s close, cheap, and pretty flat (another opportunity for sub-2 if I need it).  There’s also a marathon on the same day, but I hear that things get a little lonely after the half marathoners split off, and I don’t know if that’s ideal for a first marathon. 

I should also add: a few weeks ago I won a free entry to the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon which is on November 17th.

Thoughts on the subject are appreciated!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

And now for last week’s running (May 7-13):

Awful attempt at a hill run at 11:30am on a 90 degree day. 3.39 miles/SLOW pace.

Tuesday AM: 4.81 miles
on hilly roads & a trail/avg pace of 9:50 with 3 miles between 8:53-8:58.
Tuesday PM: 5.21 miles at the Track: 4x400m, 4x400m, 4x300m

Thursday: 5.57 miles
on hilly roads/9:23 avg pace excluding the cool down

Saturday: 13.83 miles. Included a nice mile-long climb, the rest was flat/9:56 avg pace excluding the cool down

Total Weekly Miles: 32.80


  1. If you feel in your heart like you WANT to definitely run a marathon at some point in your life, I say there's no time like the present. Go for it!

  2. I ran my first marathon last month with only 1 half marathon under my belt.
    I had a goal to run one before I turn 30 but then I won a free entry for the Blue Ridge Marathon.
    I wasn't 100% sure. So what I did was train for it to see where it would get me. I knew I could still switch to the Half. The longer runs (16+ miles) were challenging but I felt so empowered after it.
    I knew I would want to run a marathon when I finish my half marathon and looked at the pictures afterward. Not only did I feel good running it but I didn't look like I had run 13 miles either.

    You have very valid points either way. I won't tell you what to do. I think you'll know in your heart if it's something you are attracted to or not. I like long distance and I like the challenging of doing something I know pushes my body beyond my comfort zone. But it is time consuming. Miles wise I think you would be fine.

  3. Don't let travel, etc. hold you back if you want to run a marathon. We went on vacations and had tons of weekend plans last year, but you find a way to get the running in. Don't worry.

    Also, if you can run a half comfortably, a marathon is not a huge leap. I think you can definitely do it. I'd only run one half marathon before I did a full last year. I feel like the full is easier than the half (because you still want to be FAST in a half). If I wasn't so lazy and there were more fulls close by, I'd run more than one in a year. But I'm cheap, so I'll stick to once a year.

  4. If you WANT to run a full you are more than capable. You are clearly willing to stick to a schedule and put in the hard work! It's really do you want to do it knowing all the sacrifices that will need to be made- time, money, possibility for injury (I think that is pretty minimal if you train smart, which you do). Personally, I think training for a full is MUCH MUCH harder than for a half...but maybe because I haven't trained/run for one in 5 years I am just remembering the bad parts :)

  5. Look, you wouldn't have put it on your blog if you didn't want people like Kara, Kari, and myself to try to convince you, so that proves that deep down you want to. Marathons are awesome. It's like a half marathon, but twice the glory. You won't get injured. DO IT. If you are working part time, you can make up your long runs during the week if you go out of town. Or just tell me if you are going to Rochester and I'll come run with you. I think that covered all the excuses.

  6. About the injury part- while it's a valid concern, you're not going to suddenly get injured on a long run. You seem to be pretty aware of what your body is doing, so you'll start to notice the beginnings of an injury. If you do, you just take a step back, examine it, fix it, and then proceed a little more cautiously. But marathons don't automatically mean a runner is going to get injured.

  7. You know I wasn't sure if I REALLY wanted to do one either. But with anything else it seems like the marathon is the next step once you've done halfs. I'm registered to run my 1st this fall. I'm just gonna enjoy the process of training for it and not have too many expectations of the race itself. Then I will decide if I like marathons or not and go from there. You never know, you may love it.

  8. You want to do it. I can see it in your writing.

    Like anal sex, if you're curious you should try it once. You never have to do it again if you don't end up enjoying parts of it. Sure, it will be painful, but some people like that kind of pain.

  9. Agh nice analogy...I think there are better ones out there to compare it to. : /

  10. 2 thoughts on this one:

    1: I'm officially issuing you a blogger challenge. I don't know if a "blogger challenge" actually exists, but I'm sending you one all the same :) I've been reading your blog for a while now and I love it :) You and I are roughly the same speed I think and I remember reading that you have an upcoming half marathon in June that you are aiming to run in 2:00. You and I are freakishly the same speed. I ran my first half in September in 2:22; I ran my second in February in 2:06 - I think your latest one was a similar time? Anyway, I'm hellbent on doing on in under 2:00 - therefore I propose that we blogger challenge each other to make it happen. If you second guess yourself, need motivation or anything else, I'll hopefully be able to encourage you to push to do it, and it would be awesome for me to have a blogger friend to do the same, and we'll stay accountable that way. What do you think?

    2: An observation when I read your reasons for wanting/ not wanting to do a marathon... At no point do you mention that YOU want do it. A marathon is an awesome goal to have (I'm just starting training for my first!!) and I have no doubt that you can absolutely do it if you want it badly enough... but at the same time it's a big commitment, it involves a lot of hard work and not all of it is going to be enjoyable. You're going to be pushed to your physical limits and it's going to take a lot of grit and determination. If you don't REALLY want it, why do it? There's nothing wrong with focusing on improving your half time or on 10k time if that's what you enjoy. On the other hand, if you really want to do a marathon, I would totally encourage you to go for it, I'm sure you CAN. But don't let the hardcore runners who think the only "real" runners are those who have run marathons push you into thinking that you have to... Running is something you love, you have to do what's best for you!! And even if the marathon isn't something you want right now, that's not to say that you won't want it in the future.

    I have a marathon plan that I designed for myself with the help of a few elite local runners. I'd happily send it along to you if you're looking for a plan designed for someone building up from half marathon distance to a first marathon.


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