The Marathon Question

In a few short weeks I will complete my third half marathon. It will also be the anniversary of my first half marathon. When friends & family hear this I’m often asked the question, “Do you think you’ll do a full marathon?” The answer is that I’m still undecided.

Probably won't be slapping this on my car anytime soon.
Probably won’t be slapping this on my car anytime soon.

So what’s holding me back from taking the plunge? It’s not the distance. Quite honestly I have been feeling really strong on my long runs and often feel like I could keep running. While I’m sure I’d be terrified on marathon day, I have confidence that if I trained correctly I could finish strong. A huge factor for me is the time commitment to training.

I love running. I love it. Right now I’m laying in bed looking forward to the fact that my alarm will be waking me at 5 am so I can get an early morning 4 mile run in before work even though I just finished a 5 mile run two hours ago. However, I’m not sure I love it enough to allow it to rule my life. I’ve seen a few training schedules that do seem fairly reasonable, not much more during the week than I’m doing now, but it still seems like so much more when factoring in 2-3 hour Saturday runs. I also have a lot of smaller races I’d like to do this year and I feel like I’d rather focus on enjoying those than worrying about if/how it interferes with training.

I also really like the half marathon distance. It’s long enough to feel challenging, but not so long that I feel depleted when I’m finished. I have watched my distance running improve so much in the past year there is a part of me that wants to keep working and improving my half marathon time. Between May and November 2013 I improved my overall finish time by about 10 minutes and my average pace per mile by about a minute.

For a while I was thinking that fall of 2015 would be my marathon goal. Then I toyed with the idea of just doing it this fall since I’m already in great shape. But now I am back on the fence on if it’s something I’m even truly interested in accomplishing anytime soon. I still have a few weeks to decide if I’m going to go for a full or another half in the fall and a couple of good long runs to give it some more thought.

How/when did you decide to do your first full marathon? What factored into your decision?

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12 thoughts on “The Marathon Question

  1. I think if you have the urge to go for it, you should!! I never want to do one, but everyone has their own goals and dreams!! Half marathons are great and I enjoy the distance!! Honestly though, if the desire to run a marathon becomes overwhelming, DO IT!!! You’d do great!!

    1. I’ve been discovering a lot of people through blogs that are like me and really like the half marathon distance. Right now I kind of feel like I still have a lot of room to improve on my half marathon time and I think I want to keep focusing on that until I feel like I’ve pushed myself as far as I can with that distance. But like you said, if the desire to do one becomes overwhelming I will definitely sign up!

      1. Wow, this is a really great perspective!! I love it!! I can’t wait to read more about your half marathons!! You’re awesome!! XOXO!!!

  2. I decided to do the marathon on a little bit of a whim – looking back, it probably wasn’t the best decision and I really had no clue what I was getting myself in to. It just seemed like a good challenge. I think you can do it without it taking over your life, but I also think you should stick with what you like – no need to jump on the marathon bandwagon if you’re having fun with the half.

  3. I decided to sign up for mine in the new year, for a bit of a lifestyle change and a challenge. I was stuck in horrible job rut and running was giving me a sense of achievement. I loved that I went from feeling sluggish and not in great shape to my fitness increasing rapidly, & had signed up to a half marathon. I think I sign up to events because I have a fear I might stop running altogether for the challenge. I admit I have struggled with the vast commitment of it but I have encouraged friends to run with me, I think making runs and then recovery meals your social life is the only way to do it. I’ll let you know in October how well the ‘challenge’ goes. Hope this helps! 🙂

    1. I started running when I was in a job rut! Well, finding-a-job rut post-college. There is a group of women in my pace group that are marathon runners that meet up at 5am to run together and, while their pace would be too fast for me if I went for a full, I think if I could get into a close-knit group and make it social like you said it would really be fun. Thanks for the post, I’m following your blog now 🙂

  4. Do it, and do it this year. I love the half marathon distance as well, not only because it gives me a chance to run fast over a long distance, but because it doesn’t demand such a grueling training schedule in addition to letting you recover much more quickly.

    But the marathon is a completely different beast in that it’s so much more rewarding to complete. Precisely because you will find yourself running for 4 hours on a weekend to reach new distance milestones, you will enjoy and savor that finish in a way that the half marathon doesn’t quite provide.

    There’s no sense in sugarcoating it — it will definitely take a lot out of you. But trust me, it’ll be worth it. And you don’t have to sacrifice your half marathons or shorter distances to accommodate the training schedule. You can replace a 12-14 mile run with a half marathon or an 8-mile pace run with a fast 10k.

    Bottom line: make it happen 🙂

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