Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Exiling "should" from my running vocabulary

Before my recent face-to-face sympathy session with the repair guy, I had another virtual sympathy session, this time with a post from Susan Lacke.

In "There Is No 'Should' In Running," Susan recounts a conversation she had with a friend who'd just completed a half marathon.

This friend, like other runners Susan's talked to, said with some resignation that she guessed she'd have to do a marathon next. To this view, Susan responds: "You don’t have to do anything. Do you want to run a marathon?"

The post goes on to defend all distances as being perfectly acceptable to qualify you as a "real runner." But that part wasn't what spoke to me — it was the line excerpted above.

As you may or may not remember, I decided that this year's goal would be to at least consider running a marathon, and I've explained it as "if I'm going to do it, I should think about doing it now, with a child-free life and a 40-hour workweek."

But while struggling mostly mentally, sometimes physically, this spring, I've thought about how the hurdles are twice as large from a half marathon to a full ... and it's made me 99.5 percent sure I won't be trying a marathon this year, or, honestly, any year.

After reading Susan's column, though, that conclusion seemed less gloomy. The answer to "do you want to run a marathon?" is no.

And man, there is a huge difference between, say, going to a movie you don't actually want to see all that badly, and running a distance twice what you've ever done when you don't want to.

I didn't even fall short on my goal of "think about doing a marathon," because I did think about it. Having the most time and fitness that I'm likely to have just doesn't translate to having the desire.


  1. There are no shoulds in running and there are no shoulds in life. I get the marathon fever when it seems like everyone it doing them. But if you don't want to run one, don't! Marathon training can be miserable even when you WANT to do it. I can't imagine putting myself through it if I didn't want to do it.

    1. Thanks for the support! It's definitely one of those bucket-list items that sounded much better when I was "hibernating" and not even running, haha.