Why I Won’t Be Making Another Marathon Attempt…Yet

This post has been several weeks in the making. After the disaster that was the Vermont City Marathon 2016, I knew I needed to take some time to decide what I really wanted to do. I shared with you all that I was feeling a lot of pressure to sign up for a redemption race and try again, and I have been resisting that pressure and sorting through my feelings ever since.

As you’ve probably deduced from the title of this post, I will not be making another marathon attempt this year. I haven’t totally ruled it out of the realm of possibility at another time in my life, but the time is not now. I researched various fall marathons. I read race recaps and stalked race websites and talked to a bunch of people, but when the chips were down, I just couldn’t hit the “register” button.

I always intended the marathon to be a “one and done.” After I signed up for VCM, and all through my training, I maintained my gut feeling that I didn’t want to do this again. True, I didn’t actually finish a marathon, but I did the training. I felt all the feelings and all the physical impacts and it just didn’t work out. Not finishing the last 7 miles of the Vermont City Marathon sucked, hard, and while I still feel robbed of having the title of “marathon finisher,” it doesn’t really change the fact that I’m simply not ready to put myself through that again.

Marathon training is friggin’ hard, and I just don’t have the grit to do it again right now. I look back, and I don’t like the person I was this spring. I was exhausted. I was moody. I was emotional. All I did was eat, sleep, run, and stress about running. I ate too much and gained a bunch of weight because I was too stressed to manage my fueling properly. I don’t want another four months of stress. Another four months of early wake up calls and hours slogging through double-digit long runs and watching the weight on the scale creep up and up because I can’t eat like a normal human when I’m running that much. Another four months of blisters and panic over every ache or pain and a constantly chafed butt.

I have done a lot of soul-searching. A lot of back and forth. And when it came right down to it, the only reasons I could think of for making another marathon attempt were the “shoulds.” I should do it to make up for VCM. I should do it so my blog readers don’t think I’m a weenie.  should do it so that when my friends ask me if I’m going to try again, I don’t have to say that I chickened out. And I’m sure you can all appreciate that deciding to do a marathon because you think you should and not because you want to is a really bad idea.

So there it is. I won’t be running a marathon this fall. And I may not ever decide to train for one again. It’s just too hard for me, and that’s ok. Some people aren’t meant to run multiple marathons. Some people aren’t meant to run even one. Achieving a certain pace or distance goal has no bearing whatsoever on my status as a runner, and I refuse to feel bad about myself or that I’ve failed somehow because I’ve recognized my own limitations.

Instead of dragging myself through another round of marathon training (and in the summer heat, no less), I will be focusing on a half marathon PR attempt in early October. My half marathon PR was set two years ago, and I’m ready for a new one. Training for a half is much more manageable, and dare I say, enjoyable, than marathon training. It won’t take up as much time, it’s less fraught on the eating and fueling front, and my recovery time will be much faster. I already have a training plan ready to roll (thank you, Hal Higdon (plus my bazillion edits)), and I’m ready to get back to regular, enjoyable running.

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40 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Be Making Another Marathon Attempt…Yet

  1. charissarunning says:

    I think it’s so wise that you took the time to really think about this decision so fully and to me, it makes so much sense. The number one reason to run is because you enjoy it, not because you have to run this many miles at this pace etc. I actually have a friend who trained really hard for the NYC Marathon in 2012 that ended up being cancelled due to the hurricane and she’s never felt the urge to train for one again. And that’s perfectly fine! Marathon training is a huge time commitment and it is stressful and takes a lot out of you both mentally and physically. I will say that after you run a few, it gets easier to manage. HOWEVER, getting over that hump takes practice and lots of energy and timing is everything. If you don’t want to do it, it won’t be fun. And if it’s not fun, it’s going to be 4 months of tortured training. Ultimately marathoner vs. 5k runner doesn’t matter (and races don’t make a runner either!). Just go be a runner who enjoys running 🙂

  2. Anna @ Piper's Run says:

    Good for you!!!!!!!! I thought 2015 was going to be my year of the full marathon but my injury just wouldn’t heal and I settled for the half distance (which I love). Though I still want to do a full *someday*, that someday is getting pushed back further and further. Training for a half is a lot of work for me and time commitment for my family. You have to do whats right for you, not your friends, your readers or family. We don’t think any less of you for not training for a full again – you are smart to really listen to what you want to do and not what you think others want you to do. Looking forward to seeing you PR in your next half!

  3. txa1265 says:

    I whole-heartedly applaud your decision in the strongest possible terms.

    People put too much emphasis on running a certain race or distance or pace … and I acknowledge that I am a hypocrite because I also felt that pressure when I started training for one in 2012 … but then again in the 23 years running before that I never worried about it much.

    If I had one wish for you about running … it would be for you to truly love running. That is all. Oh, and be healthy.

    As for the rest?
    – F the marathon
    – F getting a PR
    – F ‘formal’ training plans … and coaching/coaches for that matter

    NONE of that shizzle matters AT ALL. Love running, get to run, stay healthy. Running with others is a great bonus.

  4. Jessica @ Fit Talker says:

    Excellent post!
    Also great comments.
    I agree completely, you should be doing something (or anything) because you enjoy it.
    I think that training for an entire marathon and then setting out to run it (even if you don’t finish) is so HUGE.
    I admire your effort and your honesty. Go get that half PR, you can totally do it! (and enjoy it)

  5. Kimberley@Black Dog Runs Disney says:

    I am unbelievably proud of you for thinking completely and utterly about YOU on this! Running should never be looked at as a chore, and training shouldn’t always be seen as a something you just “have to get through”, even as much as it is sometimes. 🙂 If you are meant to go down the marathon road again someday, then you – and ONLY you – will know if it’s the right thing to do and the right time to do it. Keep your chin up chica. You should feel incredibly at peace with all of this craziness! ❤ ❤ ❤

  6. SuzLyfe says:

    You know I so respect your decision, and I so understand. Marathons are NOT for everyone! But most importantly, you tried, you put yourself out there, and you also are giving yourself the time you need to heal from the experience. One day, maybe you’ll feel differently, maybe you won’t. Time will tell! (but you know that you are on my narwahl/unicorn team forever :D)

  7. veryrach says:

    good for you! I don’t even want to attempt another half marathon let alone even thinking about a whole one! My training was awful and hard. It feels so much better to listen to my heart & body and just run small runs often.

  8. dgobs says:

    You are SO not a weenie!! You are a badass for making it through marathon training, and a badass for running 19 miles of a ridiculously hot marathon that you would have finished had they not called it. I can understand completely your decision to not train for another right now… marathon training is no joke (which is probably why I haven’t even come near attempting it yet) and you deserve to enjoy your summer without all that stress. I fully support your decision (not that you need my support or anyone else’s!) and have a feeling you’re going to nail that half PR in October 🙂

  9. Fallon @ Slacker Runner says:

    You gotta do what you want to do- if that’s not running a marathon then don’t run it. The marathon is more about the training I think and you did that- you succeeded. You rock for that. Enjoy your new plans and you will kick ass at the half marathon!

  10. janerunswild says:

    You have to stick with what you like! As Steve Kamb said, “The most important part of staying fit is finding an activity you enjoy and finding a way to do it as often as possible”. If it’s not marathon training, there are so many other distances or other forms of exercise you can try! Vermont was a HOT, tough race this year too. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re doing great!

  11. irishrunnerchick says:

    Good for you! I have no strong inclination to run another marathon – at least not for now. Running is a hobby that should complement your life not add another layer of stress so do what’s right for you now and reassess if you feel like it in the future.

  12. Pippa @ Pip in Motion says:

    I love this, it’s so honest. If it’s not the right time, it’s not the right time. Simple as. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching about doing another marathon, and I’ve decided to go for it (for now). I mean, having already booked the race and the flights kinda helps… but I know I’m going to have to be so careful when it comes to not burning out.

  13. Brittany says:

    Good job figuring out what’s right for you! The pressure to do another marathon is huge no matter if you finished or not, did well or not, whatever. The “So, when’s your next one?” question is always there and seriously, I’m saying it again, good for you for going opting out if you don’t think you’re ready.
    Maybe one day.
    And, if not, to quote Alexander Hamilton/Lin-Manuel Miranda, “How you say? No sweat.”
    :0)

  14. sarahdudek80 says:

    This is a fantastic post. Marathon training is hard and not for everyone. First of all, the training is the true test. It is the hardest part. You did it and therefore you are a marathoner. But just like you and many others have said, you don’t have to do a marathon. And I love that you did some soul searching. Coming to terms with this and knowing what really matters and what you want is so important. That is what makes a truly good runner. Running should be fun and make you feel great about yourself. Never should it make you feel exhausted or unhappy it regret decisions. Congrats on doing your training and for coming out a wiser runner who knows a lot more about yourself!

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