You would imagine finishing your 40th Marathon would be a very emotional experience. A few years ago if someone had told me I would run 40 marathons , I would have laughed. To imagine my 40th marathon at that stage would be to imagine winning the Olympics. So here I am, a few years on and 1 mile from the finish line of my 40th marathon and I don’t feel like it’s any big deal.
For this last mile, this is what was going through my head : If you feel this unemotional finishing your 40th marathon its time to restock and remember why you are running, why you are putting the time and effort into this if you don’t feel the marathon buzz or sense of achievement that originally got you hooked on marathon.
How many marathons is too much?
As I passed the 26 mile marker and overtook two older very experienced marathoners (well over 100 marathons each) shuffling along, it hit me – I don’t want to keep on running marathons if I’m going to have it impact my body in the way I can see it in them. One had two knees in supports and the other was so bent over it looked uncomfortable to even watch. Almost 26 miles into a marathon is probably not the time to make any life changing decisions, but I decided, that it, it’s time for a break from this marathon running lark. Although I perfectly enjoyed the marathon and felt reasonably fine throughout, no real aches or pains, something was missing. It was the buzz, the reason why I started running marathons in the beginning. I don’t want to run marathons just to say i have run X number of marathons. I want to enjoy each one, meet new people, travel different places but most importantly have the marathon as a positive element of my life. It reminded me of what I had said at the beginning. I will continue running marathons as long as (a) I don’t look like a drained and worn out runner and (B) feel like it’s causing me any damage to my body.
Outrunning the love of running
Marathons have been a great excuse for me to avoid working on other components of fitness, they have taken priority and my body’s ‘normal’ is being within a few weeks of a marathon at all times. Recently, I feel like I’m constantly either tapering or recovering from a marathon and for the last few months I have started to resent this a little bit. Marathons are wonderful, but I don’t want to outrun the buzz.
For the last few marathons I haven’t had the same level of anticipation, excitement and general post race buzz that I normally have. I don’t want to just marathons for the sake of it, I need to remember my reasons for running marathon and not just churn them out as my body has adapted to running them and can reasonably run consistent timed marathons over the past few years.
The next 6 Months…
So the next 6 months is all about taking a different approach to my running. Rather than have my life dictated around marathon dates, I’m going to take any pressure off races and instead focus on all the things I never spend enough time on as ‘I have a marathon soon and don’t want to try anything different’.
So, on my list for the next 6 months are :
1. Reformer Pilates
2. Yoga Somatics
3. Strength and Conditioning
4. Foam Rolling
5. Cutting out (or at least down) Sugar
6. Writing and Blogging
7. Research on Running Psychology
8. Speed – a few 5ks and parkruns
9. Having fresh legs !
10. Focus on Chirunning Technique
11. Try out a few running apps
12. Mindfulness and running (and not running!)
12. Running without a watch, on trails, on holidays and just for fun!
13. Plenty of things outside of running too….
(now that I look at that list, not realistic to do it all.. but lets see what happens)
Keeping Track of it all
Over the next 6 months I’m going to blog about my experience on each of these, how they can impact marathoners/runners and what I’m going to carry through to 2015 training for my comeback! Will be interesting to see how the body feels without any long runs in my legs. I’m just hoping I don’t get too comfortable with all this and decide life too short for marathon running..
The easy option would be to continue running marathons. I could continue to avoid all the things I put off because ‘i have a marathon next week’ and I know already how hard it will be to build the mileage back up again from 5k.
But it’s got to be done. Time for a change..
Wish me luck and don’t tempt me by any marathons if you meet me….