Halfway through 2015 seems like a good time to look at some numbers.
I have a mileage goal for the year of 2015km, and a total runs goal of about 225. I figured I would do four or five runs a week this year so that would be about 230 runs. To reach the 2015km total, my runs will need to average about 8.7km. The most I’ve run in a year previous is 2012km (in 2012). Last year I ran just over 1,800km for the year including a couple of extended streaks where I ran everyday.
How am I doing so far?
Average run distance: 9.98km/run
I’m in pretty good shape here and on pace to top all three yearly goals. With no marathon on the schedule for the fall, I’ll likely run less than I did in the spring, so I’ll need to keep a regular schedule going to get the additional 857km I need over the next six months.
My plan is to boost my weekday runs a bit with 15km run commutes on a more regular basis over the summer. If I match my June running totals, I’ll make it with a few kilometres to spare come December 30th.
“I could never train for a marathon or half marathon! I can only run 10 or 12km!”
I’ve heard that a lot from people who like to run, but can’t imagine taking on the challenge of running 21.1km or 42.2km.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret – even in the marathon training program, most of the training runs are between 6km and 10km. In fact, even the weekend runs in the first four weeks of the Running Room marathon training plan start with two 10km Sundays, and then another two that are just 13km.
Less about long, more about often
Some runners think that you need to run long every time you run when you train for a half or full marathon. In reality, the training is less about running long, and more about running often.
Doing shorter runs three or four days a week build the leg strength and cardio that you’ll need to handle the long Sunday runs later in the program. 6km, 8km and 10km are my usual weekday runs which I find pretty manageable in terms of maintaining run/life balance.
You can do this!
If you can run 10 or 12km without too much trouble, you are more than ready for the 18-week program that will turn you into a half marathoner. I’d hesitate to recommend that you go straight from 10kms to the marathon, but if you are committed and manage the training well to avoid injury from ramping up fast, you could also take on the marathon plan assuming you have a strong 10km base to build on.
In short, don’t let the thought of training for the 42.2km of the marathon or the 21.1km of the half marathon scare you. The programs are designed with first-timers in mind. With a bit of running experience under your belt, you can do it!
It’s not enough to decide that you want to run a marathon. That’s the easy part. Anyone can decide to run a marathon. Lots of people do.
Remember what Seinfeld said about rental car reservations?
“See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to *hold* the reservation and that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.”
The real challenge every runner faces is to *hold* the reservation – to follow through and put in the 18 weeks (or more) of training. That’s what really makes it possible to run 42.2km and become a marathoner.
Training is hard work
You’re looking at a four or five day per week job that gets in the way of the rest of your life. It’s all-encompassing. Marathon training is a lifestyle. You can’t do it without full commitment.
Start skipping runs, or even just cutting runs short, especially in the first few weeks, and you’ll very quickly find yourself in deep trouble.
The runs start getting longer, and the training gets pretty intense towards the end of the second month. If you aren’t committed, then your body won’t be ready for the physical challenge. When that happens, the aches and pains and injury will add to the test of your commitment.
Marathoning is very rewarding
It’s not easy. It’s not just taking reservations. You need to hold the reservation too. You need to do the training.
But that’s why running a marathon is so rewarding. That day, when you finish the race, you’ll think back to all the sacrifices that you made to get the training done. And you’ll realize that it was all worth it.
Commit to the training now. Do *all* the runs. Make it happen. Otherwise in 18 weeks you’ll be standing on the sidelines thinking about why you aren’t out on course running the marathon you decided you wanted to run.
It’s not just these ones either. Have a look – almost every tweet they send involves an aggressive word like dominate, crush, destroy or annihilate.
Running is not something to be defeated
In the world of Nike Running, the goal is to attack a run and annihilate it. Apparently the beautiful act of running, something humans were born to do, is not something to be savoured, or enjoyed. Nope. For Nike, running is nothing short of a war between the runner and the run.
You see the same language in their apps and services as well. When you complete a run with the Nike+ app or watch, you don’t just finish it, you “crush” it.
I run to enjoy, not destroy
I don’t understand why Nike insists on making running a battle sport, but it’s one of the many reasons I don’t run Nike events, or use Nike services like Nike+.
I’m happier to use and support companies like The Running Room, Saucony, and Garmin who celebrate the joys of running and who don’t turn something as beautifully simple as running into a war.
My race is done, my schedule is empty. This is when the motivation to run regularly can really wane.
I find great motivation in racing. The training plan on my calendar is a daily reminder to run (and sometimes to rest). But there are other motivators besides racing.
Here’s some of the things I’ve done over the years between training cycles to maintain my fitness and get out for my runs:
Set mileage goals: create some weekly and monthly goals to work towards. Having something to aim for and achieve gan be a great motivator.
Play around with streaks: maybe try daily running, or even streaks of a certain number of runs per week. Some advice: if you opt for the daily run, keep it short and run easy. Apps like Habit List for iOS make tracking streaks fun and easy.
Challenge a friend (or two): competition is a great motivator. Who’ll run faster, farther, more often? Whatever you come up with, make sure you have some fun and get into the spirit with some trash talk.
Run somewhere else: hit up the trails, or drive somewhere and run some different roads and neighbourhoods. Maybe do a point-to-point run where you take transit out and run back. Or run home from work!
Get our for group runs: remember the training group you ran with when you were training for your race, and how they kept you honest? There’s no reason you can’t keep running with the group. Be the organizer and call out friends who are letting their running slide. They’ll do the same for you if you skip a weekend or two.
There’s a lot of enjoyment in running for fun. Get out there and stay motivated so when you sign up for that next race, you’ll be starting from a solid base rather than having to build from scratch again.