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2510 Views 17 Replies Latest reply: Nov 13, 2007 1:23 PM by dculp 1 2 Previous Next
sroutlaw Amateur 15 posts since
Dec 14, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 4, 2007 8:56 PM

After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

So I did a full marathon two years into my running training. I did ok, made my goal time and all that, but just really didn't love the race. It was perfect weather and I had kept to training schedule as planned. I just didn't really groove to it, if you know what I mean. Whereas, in the half, and in 10Ks and 5Ks and so on, I was ready to keep running and felt the "high" that people talk about, in the full marathon I just felt a sense of relief that I had done it.

Is it ok to just say, cool, check, I did that, and go back down to the smaller races and really hone those skills? I almost feel like a failure in admitting that I just didn't love the marathon.

sroutlaw

  • mrinertia Pro 1,310 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Nov 4, 2007 9:03 PM (in response to sroutlaw)
    Re: After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

    Um, no. If you don't run a few marathons every year - you're worthless!  !http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|src=http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|border=0!

    Actually, that's only a bit of an exaggeration. Some runners, many of which are newbies, seem to think that if you're not a thoner, you're not a runner. Nothing can be further from the truth. Some of us specialize in a certain distance, others like to mix it up, hit the trail, do an ultra, whatever. Others do 3 mile 4x per week on a treadmill and are perfectly happy with that. However you develop your connection with the sport is perfect. Running is, among other things, how we express ourselves. To say another has to express himself in a certain way or can't express himself in a certain way just doesn't make any sense.

    I gues that's just a long winded way of saying do what you like.

  • maryt091 Pro 781 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Nov 4, 2007 9:05 PM (in response to sroutlaw)
    Re: After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

    Absolutely you are a total failure if you don't fall in love with the marathon distance.

    Just kidding. I've completed 4, but never cared for hthe distance. I love competing, running fast, and the feel you get from a good 5K or 10K. Never felt like I was really racing in a marathon, more like plodding along. Plus they take over your life. No, can't run that great 5 miler Sunday - must get in that long run instead. A family picnic - we'll have to be late - must get in that 20-miler. Then comes the day and maybe the weather is awful or you overstressed your body and you got the flu. If it's a 5K, no biggie, just do another one next weekend, but not so with a marathon.

    Anyway, you ar not alone.  I now quite a few very good runners, including one who run 2:20 for the marahton who just doesn't like the distance and stopped running them years ago in favor of shorter races.

  • Kevin E. Stroud Rookie 511 posts since
    Oct 27, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Nov 5, 2007 8:06 AM (in response to sroutlaw)
    Re: After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

    Since everybody is starting with a back-handed statement  - Don't you know that the distance you race is a direct correlation to your sexual PROWess?!  I run 100 milers!!!  !http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/biggrin.gif|src=http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/biggrin.gif|border=0!

    Run what you like, buddy - it's all about YOU!  My least favorite distance is the marathon.  Shorter distances (even a half-mary) doesn't tear me up as bad as a full 26.2.  While an ultra may tear me up too, it's not quite the same "penetrating" pain during the race.

    So, I run some short (5 to 10 mile) races, some marathons, and some ultras - whatever I'm in the mood for and keeps my feet moving.

    Remember that song from 20 years ago? Don't worry, be happy! !http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|src=http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|border=0!

    kestrou

  • Jim Sullivan032 Rookie 504 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Nov 5, 2007 9:06 AM (in response to sroutlaw)
    Re: After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

    quote:


    Originally posted by sroutlaw:

    I almost feel like a failure in admitting that I just didn't love the marathon.


     

    You're supposed to love them? I've done 12 of them and I'm just beginning to tolerate them. The only reason I even train for them is because I can always use the mileage for something more interesting.

  • JimR022 Rookie 984 posts since
    Jan 16, 2002
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Nov 5, 2007 11:49 AM (in response to sroutlaw)
    Re: After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

    quote:


    Originally posted by sroutlaw:

    I almost feel like a failure in admitting that I just didn't love the marathon.


     



    It's what you make of it that's important. It may be a lot easier to train to 'just finish' a 5k as opposed to a marathon, but that's where the difference end. It doesn't matter whether it's 100 meters or 100 miles, training to be your best (or at least as much as your goals and constraints allow) is no less challenging for one distance over another.

    For a lot of people, the only thing they need to do to improve their marathon times is to avoid bonking.  Improving 5k times takes a whole different approach since the distance itself isn't normally a challenge for an experienced runner.

  • NHSenior Legend 387 posts since
    Nov 23, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Nov 5, 2007 12:24 PM (in response to sroutlaw)
    Re: After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

    quote:


    Originally posted by sroutlaw:


    Is it ok to just say, cool, check, I did that, and go back down to the smaller races and really hone those skills? I almost feel like a failure in admitting that I just didn't love the marathon.

    sroutlaw


     




    Unless you are a VERY unusual person, you can not do your best at all distances. You may be suited for long distance, but if you are suited for shorter stuff then the training for the marathon will keep you from getting good at the shorter stuff.

    Marathon can be fun. I like doing them at times, but more because of the training with friends which leads up the event. Race day at a marathon is anti-climatic for me. The only one I really enjoyed was a Boston where I qualified to run Boston.

    On the other hands, I love race day for Halfs, 10 milers, 10Ks. I do 5Ks but being a bit older I find I need to run at least a 5K before the race to get loose and the breathing opened up and that sometimes has me leaving part of my race in the warm up.

    BTW, you should be running for yourself and not anyone else, least of all many of those who are into bragging rights.

    We all keep a non-written list of things we would like to do. Anyone who can do something like run a marathon and then say, "Well, now I can check that one off my list" is way better off than most. It's your list remember.

    <<< I just felt a sense of relief that I had done it.

    It's too bad that many others won't be as candid as you about how they really feel.

    There is one thing about tough challenges though. One should never make any decisions about repeating them until the discomfort of the moment wears off.

  • kudzurunner Rookie 525 posts since
    Dec 6, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Nov 5, 2007 4:06 PM (in response to sroutlaw)
    Re: After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

    These days I certainly fall into the category you're looking to join:  the marathon's not my thing.   I ran four and a half (a DNF) in my mid20s, ranging from 3:11 down to 2:53.  The fasted one left me half dead, pleased to have cracked 3:00 at least, but disappointed not to have BQ'd (which required 2:49:59 back then).  The only one that really grooved was the one two months before my PR, 3:00 and change on a warm fall day, rock-steady the whole way. 

    Last year I decided to BQ again after 22 years away from the 26.2 distance and managed to with a 3:30:59, after notching a bonk-plagued 3:39 three months earlier.

    The best race of the fall, though, was the 1:31 half that ran a month before my goal race. A PR, a beautiful fun streaming sort of race in which I mowed down a lot of slowing runners in the last two miles).

    I prefer the half marathon. 26.2 miles is too far for me. I like running faster than a race that long will allow me to run. And it requires slightly more training committment than I'm willing or able to make. I like long runs of 15-18 miles. Eighteen miles is actually a great point to push your long run if you're looking to do well in half marathons. But it's just not enough if you're looking to do well in marathons.

    So no: you don't need to apologize to anybody for not grooving to the marathon. Maybe you'll do that at some point down the line. Maybe I will, too. But running is a personal thing. I don't run because other people run. I'm lazy! I should be lifting weights, I should be doing pushups. I have no will. If somebody told me I HAD to run two hours and forty minutes in a training run, I'd think of it as torture. But because I'm choosing to do it myself (and to myself), it becomes--something I do. Just a Zen place I go.

    I like speed. I'm not very fast anymore. But I like the drama of a 5K. I didn't used to; when I ran faster, they hurt more.

    Run what you want, how you want.

    I've decided that near-marathon training is a great way to train for half marathons.  That's my new groove......

  • AndyHass Rookie 1,368 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Dec 20, 2007 10:37 PM (in response to sroutlaw)
    Re: After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

    Even those of us who claim the marathon as our best event rarely love how they make us feel.  Seriously, marathons are very painful events if you push yourself.  HMs are much the same in feel but without 80% of the pain.

    I run marathons because I'm better at them than HMs. I've never ran a marathon that felt good at the end. They are irritating actually...the first half feels like a training run, followed by 5-6 miles that really feel like a race, ending with 5-10K of brute pain and guts. HMs are pure race throughout and I can run well again 2-3 days later.

    [http://This message has been edited by AndyHass (edited Nov-06-2007).|http://This message has been edited by AndyHass (edited Nov-06-2007).]

  • actonrunner Rookie 68 posts since
    Dec 30, 2002
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Nov 6, 2007 1:23 PM (in response to sroutlaw)
    Re: After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

    quote:


    Originally posted by sroutlaw:

    Is it ok to just say, cool, check, I did that, and go back down to the smaller races and really hone those skills?


     


    Nothing wrong with that. You may also decide sometime later to go back to it. For example, I ran my first two (a qualifier and then Boston), and then I didn't run another for 7 years. I just didn't enjoy it enough at the time.

  • David Miller Rookie 37 posts since
    Aug 24, 2007

    quote:


    Originally posted by AndyHass:

    Even those of us who claim the marathon as our best event really love how they make us feel. Seriously, marathons are very painful events if you push yourself. HMs are much the same in feel but without 80% of the pain.

    I run marathons because I'm better at them than HMs. I've never ran a marathon that felt good at the end. They are irritating actually...the first half feels like a training run, followed by 5-6 miles that really feel like a race, ending with 5-10K of brute pain and guts. HMs are pure race throughout and I can run well again 2-3 days later.


     



    Really well said! Marathons are too easy the first half. You have to keep telling yourself to slow down. Even if you do have enough discipline to go slow the first half, the last 10k kills you. And if you don't have the discipline, the last 1/3 is brutal. (From my limited experience, anyway)
    Anyway, run what you love to run! Unless you're making a living from it, or have sponsor obligations, just do what you enjoy!

  • juki090 Rookie 44 posts since
    Nov 6, 2005
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Nov 10, 2007 5:46 PM (in response to sroutlaw)
    Re: After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

    I can't imagine training for a marathon if you don't actually like running them. I love the half marathon distance -- it's the perfect race distance: long enough to be a real challenge, but short enough that you really feel that you're going pretty fast.

    But I also love the marathon, because, as others here have said, it's several races in one. I love the distance because you feel emotions during that race that span the spectrum. I also like the challenge of training for months and months and seeing real progress. I suppose I'd see that at shorter distances too, but I suspect I'm genetically geared toward longer distances, since I seem to do better at them, relatively speaking. I know I'm mentally geared toward them, at least.

    I'll admit that one motivator for me to train and race one was so that when people invariably asked "do you run marathons?" upon learning that I run, i could say yes and shut them up.  Perhaps unfortunately, I ended up really liking the marathon! And now I'm hooked. Sounds like you're hooked on the half.

    I think if you find a race distance that you really love, you should focus on that. I feel that there's way too much emphasis on the marathon as the litmus test of running achievement. It's not for everyone.

  • Kevin E. Stroud Rookie 511 posts since
    Oct 27, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Nov 10, 2007 8:09 PM (in response to sroutlaw)
    Re: After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

    OK, I've got the

    100% guaranteed method

    (or you get your money back for reading this post!  ) for you to LOVE marathons:

    RUN SOME ULTRAS!!!

    !http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/biggrin.gif|src=http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/biggrin.gif|border=0!

    Nope, not kidding - that'll do it for you right there.

    You get to do 40 mile training runs in the dark (gotta practice that night running when you'll be tired!) and instead of a 20 mile run on the weekend, you get to do two of them (or longer) back-to-back, Saturday and Sunday, so you can run on "dead legs".

    Then the race itself... oh boy... I finished 14th out of 140 starters at the Arkansas Traveller 100-miler last month (and I'll take a top 10% finish in any race on any day as validation I did a decent effort) and my time was 23:11 (yup, that's hours and minutes, which is about 20 hours more than my marathon PR). The winner was about 18 1/2 hours, so there's just NO finishing a 100-miler in a short amount of time.

    MUCH of the middle of the race (say, miles 30 to 70) are tough to get through; but then comes "the black hole" of mile 70 - when you've still got a LONG ways to go, and it's o'dark thirty, and your feet are blistered and bruised. Honestly as tough as "that last 10K of a marathon" in keeping your mental fortitude up - only you get to fight those mental demons for a lot longer. Then, of course, as the end draws near (say the last 10 miles) you put the hammer down for all you've got and hope to pick off a few more places.

    At Arkansas I put the afterburners on about mile 90 and really pushed and made up a handful of places - include one guy "taking a dump" in the woods - don't get stories like that very often in a marathon! !http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|src=http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|border=0!

    Anyways, now I'm back to marathon training and it looks pretty easy.    Plus, the base I've built up should give me real dividends.

    Food for thought there buddy - not meant completely in jest.

    kestrou

  • kudzurunner Rookie 525 posts since
    Dec 6, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Nov 11, 2007 7:09 AM (in response to sroutlaw)
    Re: After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

    Damn.  The black hole of mile 70.  I'm going to be thinking about that as I go for my 18-mile jaunt this morning.

  • ljwoodw Rookie 485 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Nov 12, 2007 3:00 AM (in response to sroutlaw)
    Re: After full, is it ok to decide halfs are for you?

    Interesting...

    Like AndyHass, I run marathons because I'm better at it than any other distance. Except in my case it's probably more extreme (Andy's PR's at shorter distances are much more respectable).

    What I find is that it never feels easy.  Even mile 1 will feel significantly harder than training pace.  I don't buy any of the "run the first half like a training run" or "even if it feels easy, you're probably going too fast" stuff at all.  I hypothesize that the more specialized one is at the marathon (or any distance, really), the harder it will feel during the entire race.

    As a logic check - for the highly specialized runner, the differential between race pace and training pace will be the highest -> it feels harder.

    Anyway, for the original topic, I'm more worried that you're asking if it's OK.   I strongly encourage people to race their best distance (or the one they enjoy the most), and think that the obsession with the marathon is to our detriment.

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