‘Tis the season for marathons. While marathons are run throughout the year across the world, there are generally two seasons for the bigger marathons–Spring and Fall. Right now, we’re in the Spring marathon season. The Tokyo Marathon was held in late February. The Los Angeles Marathon was last month. The Boston Marathon is Monday while the London Marathon is later this month. Maybe you have friends who have or are running these events. Maybe you’ve seen their pictures on social media or have read about their preparation. But you think to yourself “I’m happy for them and all but I could never run a marathon and honestly I don’t want to. I wonder if that means I’m not a real runner.”
That feeling is understandable. The marathon is a daunting and difficult race. Completing a 26.2 mile race is a major accomplishment worthy of a pat on the back and congratulations. It is the premier distance running event. But does it mean those runners who only do 5k races or 10k races or those who never race at all are lesser? No! If you’re a runner who has no plans to run a marathon or who never wants to at any point do not feel you are lesser. If you are out running then you are a runner. Period. You are worthy of the same congratulations and accolades as those who complete marathons. You’re not weak for not wanting to try a marathon. You have your reasons for not wanting to do it. Perhaps, you don’t have the extra time for the extra training. Training for a marathon takes up several more hours in the week than does training for 5ks to 10ks. It could be you are too busy. Maybe you don’t want to risk injury. An increased training lode means more of a possibility of injury.
When I first started running seriously and consistently as a post-college adult in 2009, my goal was to only run 5ks within 10 to 15 miles of my home. I had no plans for anything beyond 3.1 miles. There were no visions of crossing the finish line on Boylston Street in Boston or running into Central Park toward the end of the New York City Marathon. I wanted to find out how fast my adult self could run 5ks. I was content with this. That was my goal. I was happy for marathon runners but never felt I could join them. I didn’t let it bother me. 5ks were for me and I was happy with that. I was focusing on myself and not what others were doing. By keeping the focus on me and toward my own goals, I was able to dedicate my running to accomplishing those goals. After I ran my first sub 20-minute 5k as a post-college adult, I was happy and proud. I set out to accomplish what I had wanted. I didn’t fill my head with “Yeah, but it’s a not a marathon” or “Other runners out there do so much more.” If you surround yourself with supportive people, they’ll congratulate you for achieving your personal goals.
My running goals later evolved and I do run marathons now and I love it. But that’s just me. Your goals may evolve too and you may get an itch to run a marathon. They may not change and you might never want to run a marathon. You’re still a runner. Everyone who hits the pavement should be proud they’re doing something to improve themselves both physically and mentally. That’s the end goal of running. It’s not all about crossing finish lines of marathons but crossing the finish line of your personal journey.
Running With You,