Can I run a marathon? SHOULD I run a marathon?

Picture 9This last week has highlighted that the question one should ask themselves about running a marathon is not “can” I do it, but is there anything else I’d rather do?

I’m serious.

IMG_6877I ignored the fact that I’m burnt out on running. I ignored that mentally after Dopey and the NYC Marathon my body didn’t want to run any more marathons.  That mentally, I wasn’t in a place where I wanted to commit the time and energy to doing long runs on weekends or middle distance runs on week days.  Unfortunately, I’d arrived at a place where I was frustrated and angry with my body for not being as fast or as thin or as firm or as strong as I wanted it to be, and marathon training isn’t really great if you go through it hating and resenting your body and thinking of what you’d rather be doing.

Essentially, I find myself wondering if there’s a carrot on the end of the stick that is marathon training.

In 2012, for the Disney World Marathon it was just about living, about figuring out I could do it and I didn’t have anything else I’d rather do.  Moving to a new city, marathon training occupied my time in a good, healthy, productive way. In 2013 when I first trained for the Marine Corps Marathon, I told myself that I had to decide, either I was running or rowing but I wasn’t doing both and I chose the marathon.  In 2014, I didn’t choose the NYC Marathon. I tried running less (supposedly to run faster) and rowing.  It showed in my NYC Marathon time.  That marathon sucked.

So the question becomes, what is the minimum payoff you need to train for a marathon?  What will be considered a sufficient incentive to get you out of bed early on the weekends to run a lot of miles that you really are starting to feel like you don’t need in your life?  At what point does it become too much work and not enough reward?

I read people talk about how long runs are zenlike and they enjoy them, but when it starts out feeling like 90 degrees with oppressive humidity, all I want is to go lay in my apartment with the shades drawn and the air conditioner on.  Summer makes it hard to tolerate, much less enjoy, running.

 

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