Monday, April 7, 2008

Long Running My Thing?

I've been training for some long race (half or full marathon) for the better part of the last 10-11 months... But, I've been thinking about this lately. Is this really my ideal distance? I'll tell you what, my feet said "no" after the first marathon. However, I think I chalk that up to "too much, too soon". But, at 6'1" and 195 pounds, I'm not exactly ideal build for the longer distances. Ok... maybe not for running at all...

Then, there is the question of how much I like running longer distances. That's a completely different story. Everything up to 15 miles is a lot of fun. I like covering a lot of distance on my long runs. It's fun to be outside and running for the better part of 2 to 2.5 hours. There's also the benefit in terms of caloric burn that I get from the long running. So... that rocks too. But, are the longer distances better for me in terms of racing ability?

Exhibit One- My race times on the McMillan calculator tend to get slower as the races get longer. I could run a 23 minute 5k that suggests I could run a 1:47-1:48 half marathon. But, I'd guess that I would be lucky to run a low 1:50 something half.

Exhibit Two- I think I was more built for speed. No science involved here, I just think I am faster rather than longer (no off color jokes please).

Exhibit Three- I'm a complete wuss as the distances get longer. I think I can sustain a peak effort much easier over short distances.

What does all this mean? I'm not sure. I think it means that I will start training harder for 5ks and 5 milers some time in the near future. More speed work and less "long" runs. I'll obviously do some long running, but not with the same intent or distance.

Nate had mentioned that I don't "have to" run the Harrisburg Marathon with him this year. And, I agree, I won't if I don't want to. I just haven't decided I don't want to. I don't want to hang up the marathon after one crash and burn. And, with a second child on the way, it's only going to get harder to get long runs in. So.... this year might be the right year for my second marathon. Then, I'll decide what my running career looks like after that.

Or.... maybe I'll lose 15 pounds and run longer... you never can tell.


Bill said...

The McMillan (and Daniels, etc) calculators all try to predict equivalent efforts given appropriate training for the intended distance. If you aren't running a lot of consistent mileage, it is almost guaranteed that your shorter (mile or 5k) times are going to be way better than your half-marathon or marathon times.

Eric Gervase said...

I know... But, last year when I was fairly well trained for the half (3/4 of the way through my full training), my time wasn't up to snuff with the prediction either. As the race gets longer, I get slower.

Nitmos said...

I can say that I thought the same thing once. I hammered away at 5k's convinced marathons weren't for me until I ran my second. There is a huge jump in performance between the first and second race at a given distance. Simply put, marathoning is harder to master than a 5k. If you aren't sure, put your all into one more marathon...see if it gets more enjoyable (i.e. a bit easier as it will never be "easy") and then decide. My two cents...Everyone's preferred race distance is different but I always suggested 2 tries at least before deciding. Whew, too much typing, I'm tired now. Interesting post.

Eric Gervase said...

Ok... two experienced runners telling me something that conflicts with my thought process. I'm not that stubborn. The marathon is probably worth another shot.