Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Committing a Marathoning Sin....

So...I'm about to commit a mortal sin of marathoning.  This isn't the biggest of all sins.  That is to try something new on race day that you've never done in training.  You can't read much about marathoning without hearing that one a few thousand times, and it makes sense.  I'm about to skip my long run.  "THE" long run.  The backbone of any marathon training program, the key ingredient in building endurance, and what seperates marathon training from just running really far really often.  I do my long runs on Tuesday nights.  It just fits my schedule really well, doesn't cut into family time on the weekends, and the person that works on Tuesday nights at the gym is especially helpful and motivating.  ( I do most of my long runs on a treadmill ).  Well, this is supposed to be an easy week for me as I ramped up my miles the last two weeks, so my long run wouldn't have been a 20 miler anyway.  It probably would have been about 15.  Well, Tuesday came and I was off of work and had a new Garmin Forerunner that Santa brought so I ran outside for a short fast run.  Too fast actually but it felt good.  I was still going to go to the gym and do a few more miles and some cross training that night but something came up that was fun and social so that took precedence.  It was the right decision, and a personal victory for me.  It showed that I'm keeping the training in perspective, and not putting it above family/social engagements.  Besides...I already ran that day so it wasn't too big of a deal.  Well, that leaves only Wednesday night for my long run, but now something has come up for Wednesday night too.   I've been invited to join an ongoing, 5k fun run.  That should be, well, fun.  Its a very social group of people who run every Wednesday all year round.  That sounds like a group of people I might really like, and I'm too much of a social wimp to ever just go by myself, although I'm sure I'd be welcome.  So, I'm opting to do the fun run instead of my long run.  I may get to do the long run on Friday as I'm off work, but that puts it pretty close to next weeks long run.  Not ideal, but perhaps an acceptable solution.  I'll have to work around a trip into Boston with the family though as that was booked first and vacation days should be spent with the kids and the missus.  So my long run might still  happen but I'd give it a 50/50 shot at it.  Is this bad ? Am I derailing my quest for 26.2 ?!?!  I don't think so.  First of all, I'm hoping to use the marathon to improve my life.  Ultimately this quest is about personal satisfaction so staying happy and engaged socially is a vital component of that.  Letting those things come before my running seems to fit in with the objective of self satisfaction.   Secondly, this was supposed to be an easy week for running, so while I wanted to do more miles than I am going to do, I'm meeting the objective of getting some rest as well.  I think if I was hell bent on marathon excellence, these decisions would not be in my best interests.  However, since my goal here is to become a better person through the process of training for and running a marathon, I think I'm still being true to those goals.   If you don't agree, drop me a note and tell me so.  Let me know what you think I should have done; what you would have done, etc.  In the mean time....

...Just don't stop running...


  1. There is never just one way to do something. Just because your program dictates that you do a long run, that doesn't mean you'll fail without it. Embrace the week and all it brings. You'll hit your long run next week feeling well rested:)

  2. That's the approach I'm taking, and why I'm not too worried about it. I know there are people who will steadfastly adhere to their plan's requirements, and there's an unhealthy part of me that would like to do that. I'm choosing to nurture the healthy part of me by giving up a little running to enhance my life, rather than giving up a little life to enhance my running. Thanks for the comments !!

  3. In my opinion (which may or may not have much value) training for a marathon is a selfish commitment. We all learn and grow and become better people through our running experiences, but when you break it down, all of this time, will, energy, and discipline is all about you you you. So hells yeah you have to deviate from the schedule once in awhile if you do not wish to be entirely self-centered.

  4. I think you are partially right about the selfishness, but, and this may just be a giant rationalization, but I'm hoping to be able to offer more in the other roles in my life as a result of the focus on my role as a runner. In order to become a better runner, I will need to have more mental focus, determination, patience and empathy. These attributes "should" make me a better father, husband, employee, friend etc. There is a huge component that is entirely selfish as well though. As shallow as it may seem, I'm looking forward to being able to say " yeah..I ran a marathon..." and have people say "wow !". I really feed on people noticing my times in local races and mentioning it to me. Who doesn't like to have their ego stroked a little bit now and then ? For a very long time I was the fat guy in the crowd, so to have people notice me for any kind of athletic accomplishment makes me feel all warm and gushy inside. Hopefully that translates into a better disposition and generally happier mood that carries over into my non-running life. I also think that by getting my weight under control and adopting a healthier lifestyle that I will be around a few more years to see my kids grow up more. That's a pretty delayed return on my investment of time, as I'm sure I would have lived another 25 years even as a fat guy, but it's real none the less. Plus I can run around the soccer field with them a little better now, and hopefully be more active in their lives.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  5. I am one to use the very same giant rationalization...

    and in response to your question on my blog:

    I did not stop following your blog. Blogger is weird sometimes and will show the incorrect amount of followers. Your blog still shows up on my reading list.

  6. Thanks. It's always hard to tell if rationalizations are just self deceptions or sound reasonings, but they sure do come in handy sometimes.

    Glad to hear that you didn't "un-follow" me. I would hate to have to admit that I'm a wee bit insecure, but you are 25% of my following. Losing you would be a big hit.

    I loved the "10 Things Your Momma Didn't Tell You About a Marathon"

  7. Oh, and I just checked and confirmed that you (aka Mr. Whydidyoustopfollowingmyblog) aren't following mine...?

  8. My apologies. I am following yours now, and won't stop following without providing a good reason for doing so. In my defense, I was reading it regularly, so I was an "un-official" follower.

    Enjoy your weekend.