Thursday, October 13, 2011

There's no good time to run a marathon.

It's getting cold here in London, and worse than the cold is the rapidly shortening days. Barely light when I wake up, it starts getting dark around 6 and it's pitch black by the time I'm heading out for my evening run. I'm finding it hard to motivate myself, either to run or to go to the gym to do my physio stretches. How quickly the tables turn... just a month ago I was gagging to go running, and now I'm finding it hard not to flop on the sofa for the evening.

I was thinking this morning how I really should have entered a marathon at a different point in the year to make the training easier. But I came to the conclusion that really, there is no good time to train to run 26.2 miles. Here's why.

Most training programmes are 18 weeks long. It makes sense, as you're really only supposed to increase your mileage by 10% per week or else risk injury (ie, my earlier post). It takes you that long just to get up to those longer distances which are important for physical endurance but probably more for mental reassurance that you can actually do it. But there are only 52 weeks in a year, which means that marathon training will typically take up over 1/3rd of a year. That's a big commitment.

As well as the time and energy, 1/3rd of the year naturally spans more than one season and can even go on to span 3 seasons. So you may start your marathon training at the beginning of the summer (like I did) and then go on finish it right before winter hits. The Irishman ran the London marathon a few years ago and started his training right after Christmas, which meant for a large amount of time he was running through the snow. While London has more temperate climate than, say, America's Northeast, it's still no fun training during extreme temperatures or in the dark at 4pm. And if you enter a marathon to take advantage of a good training period, you run the risk of actually running in 90 deg F weather.

So basically, the entire marathon process, when you really think about it, is absurd. Why am I even doing this? WHY HAVE I GIVEN UP MY ENTIRE SUMMER OF DRINKING ROSÉ IN PUB GARDENS TO RUN LONG DISTANCES, GET INJURED, AND SPEND £100 ON PHYSIO IN ORDER TO BE FIT ENOUGH TO DO THIS RACE?

I need to eat a cookie to feel better. I'll run it off later.

1 comment:

  1. I never run a marathon. Maybe I should. Great post, thanks.