I’m 13 weeks into training for my second marathon (in a year!) but there is no way I think everyone needs to (or even should) run a marathon. Thinking about running a marathon yourself? Here’s are some reasons you might not want to run a marathon (that aren’t “running a marathon is bad for your body” because that is a myth).
Don’t run a marathon if you just started out running. When you’ve just started out running, a marathon might be seem like a great idea. But just don’t. You might find out part way through training that you just don't’ enjoy running or you’ll end up burning out on running (or getting injured by doing too fast, too soon). Think about a 5K or 10K instead and then think about a longer distance.
Don’t run a marathon if you don't’ have a good running base. Just like a marathon shouldn’t be first race ever, it shouldn’t be your first race when you are first back from a break (whether injury, pregnancy or just taking some time off). Take some time to get a good base mileage before you tackle your next marathon. Hal Higdon has three different 12-week base building plans that you can check out.
Don’t run a marathon if you don’t have the time to train. Right now, at the peak of my mileage, I’m spending up to 9 hours just running. That’s not including cross-training, stretching, foam rolling or anything else I’m doing with training. It’s a huge chunk of my time every week and not everyone is able to commit to it.
Don’t run a marathon if you’re not willing to train properly. Even if you have the time to train, maybe you don’t want to take that time to train. But again, like with not having enough of a base, you are running the risk of injury if you aren’t taking the time to get in your miles each week.
Don’t run a marathon if you’re using it to lose weight. Running a marathon (or any other distance) doesn’t automatically mean weight loss. And really, I don’t think you should be focused on losing weight during marathon training. Losing weight means you aren’t feeding your body enough to fuel your performance and you could start feeling worse on your runs. Take some time between training cycles (like I did between marathons) to make weight loss your focus if you feel you need to lose some weight.
Don’t run a marathon if you want to run faster. Marathon pace should be slower than your other race paces (my goal marathon pace is about 40 seconds slower than my half marathon pace) and you’ll want to spend most of your runs going slower than that. You might get some new PRs on shorter distance races (like I did taking two minutes off my 5K PR) but you have to be ready and willing to run slower for long distances.
Don’t run a marathon if you aren’t mentally ready. 26.2 takes a lot out of you physically but one thing I wasn’t fully prepared for was how tough it is mentally. Especially at the end after my headphones died, I spent a lot of time in my own head. And it’s a lot of time out on the road training, with just you and your thoughts.
Don’t run a marathon if you don’t love running. Not everyone is a runner and I’m guessing you are pretty awesome at lots of other things. Put your energy into those instead of training for a marathon (and then tell me about it)!
Don’t run a marathon if it’s an excuse to eat. Just like you shouldn’t try to lose weight during a marathon, don’t just eat everything in sight because you are marathon training. Of course you can (and should) eat more because you’re burning a lot of calories but it isn’t as many as you think.
Don’t run a marathon if the timing isn’t right. Maybe you just started a new job, are moving or it’s just really crazy in your life. If it is, adding in the stress of training for a marathon might not be the thing to do. Even if running relieves some stress for you.
Don’t run a marathon because everyone else is doing it. It doesn’t matter if you never run a marathon (or any other race). If you run, you are a runner. You don’t need to go a certain distance to prove how much of a runner you are.
Don’t run a marathon if you need your social life. Not only does marathon training take up a ton time of time just to get the miles in, it wears you out too. Most nights, I’m ready to be in bed by 9 p.m. and up early (even on the weekends).
Don’t run a marathon if you don’t enjoy running 26.2 miles. Yes, I’m repeating it once again. Running a marathon doesn’t make you a runner. Running makes you a runner.