Friday, October 8, 2010

Should I Run A Full Marathon?

Ok, this post has been a long time coming.
A warning, it might get kinda whiny at times, but stay with me.
In general, I can be a really indecisive person.  I have trouble choosing restaurants when I go out to eat, I change my outfits a couple times many mornings, I can't decide what to make for dinner half the time...

But this is kind of the ultimate indecisive battle.
I'm struggling with this question every day now and analyzing it to death. 

Should I run a full marathon or not??


If you ask my fellow runners what I said at the end of my first half marathon in June, one of the first things I said was, "Never let me run a full marathon."
About a week after that, I started thinking about it and then it was sort of a moot point, because I got injured and couldn't really run at all, let alone consider running a full marathon.

Then my knee got better and I started running again.  The idea of running a full marathon has slowly crept back up into my mind as I've been training for my second half marathon next month.
I find myself looking up marathons, plotting possible training plans on Runner's World Smart Coach, and dreaming about whether I can or should run a full marathon.  I go back and forth  It has got to stop!  I need to make a decision for my OWN SANITY!

Why is this essential for me to figure out soon?  Well, Greg has been recalled.  It's looking like he'll start flying at Continental again early next year.  We want to start a family and have been saying for a while that we would probably start trying to conceive when he went back to flying for Continental.  I really don't want to wait too long to start trying because we don't know how easy or hard of a time we will have and we've already waited a while for this.  I know a lot of people end up trying for a while without results. 

So, it sounds like a no brainer right?  Just sign up for a marathon in January or February, train now with the base I have from half marathon training, run the marathon, and then I'll have it done around the time Greg goes back to Continental and we can start trying to conceive.  Perfect right?

Well, no, not perfect.  Here's the problem.  Nature.  It's getting dark outside early now.  You may remember, if you've been reading my blog for a while, that around late October of last year, I basically hung up my running shoes and went into hibernation for the winter.  I am a big safety nut and I don't think it's a good idea for me to run by myself in the dark, especially with a husband that travels a lot and no one really here a lot of the time to account for me.  Long runs on weekends shouldn't be a huge problem, but I worry about the weeknight running.  This is probably my biggest concern. 

How do I solves this problem?
  • I could join a gym again.  The closest gym to me is the YMCA, and it's kind of expensive.  Back when I got into running, part of the reason was because I canceled my membership to the Y, so we could save money.  I'd rather not spend money on unnecessary things, but maybe it's necessary, at least for a couple months so I can train. 
  • We could buy a treadmill.  Again though, the problem is expense.  I think the cheapest treadmills are like $400 (after a quick search on Amazon), but I don't know a lot about treadmills and wonder if those are decent quality for running or not.  No idea.  Buying a treadmill would require further investigation and I'd again have to decide if this is necessary and/or if we can afford it.
  • I can run with people.  But probably not all the time.  It's realistically not convenient to run with someone on EVERY weeknight training run, so I can't really count on that.
  • I could run my neighborhood loop in the dark 80 bazillion times.  If I am going to run in the dark it's probably best if I stay close to home.  My neighborhood is small, so I'd basically just keep doing laps around there.  It'll probably get really old really fast (especially since I'm already sick of it now).  Plus, I'm not sure that's much safer than running in the dark alone anywhere else, even if it is my own neighborhood.  It's an option though...
Hmmm...  I don't know.

The other question is do I REALLY want to or NEED to do a full marathon or should I just let it go and move on with my life?

Some reasons not to?

  • I've already had an injury and worry it'll come back or that I might injure myself in another way training for a full.  I worry that a marathon is too much for a body to do and might do damage to me.
  • I worry training will eat up too much of my time and I'll be chained to running.  Once I start doing really long runs it could potentially eat up entire days of my weekend if I'm exhausted after.  It's been kind of nice to still get in long runs for my half marathon and not have to plan the entire weekend around them.
  • Aside from the darkness, it's about to get COLD here. Do I want to run/train in the cold?
  • Is it that important for me to do a FULL?  I've done a half marathon, will be doing another one next month.  I could potentially just keep doing half marathons...
 The nagging comes from the fact that I feel capable of training for and running a full marathon right now.  I feel like this could be my last chance to accomplish this goal (if it is a goal).  I know a lot of people train for or do full marathons after children, but I have to face the fact that I might not want to then and I might not be able to because of the time involved in training, especially with a husband that travels and me being the sole parent a lot of the time.  I don't see how I could train with a child to look after.  Life might get in the way once I have kids, so I really need to figure out if I want to do this now, before they're in the picture, or not.

 If I do a full marathon, I will ALWAYS have that.  I love that I would always have that.
 I want that feeling...
I don't want to have the regret that I never did this.
In the words of Lance Armstrong, "Pain is temporary.  Quitting lasts forever."

So I think that tips the scales much in favor of running one.

What do you think???


Runblondie26 said...

If you're going to do it, do it before you have a kid. I don't think training for marathons cut into my social/family time at all when were were DINKS. It actually helped fill the time when hubby was away quite nicely. It would be substantially more difficult now. Hence, no marathons anytime soon on my agenda.

Do it! Do it!

Runblondie26 said...

And I would highly suggest following something like the Hanson plan.

I was running about 50-60 miles a week, and sometimes did two-a-days, but never did a single run over 13 miles when I was training. It was slighlty lower volume, but was higher quality mileage. I still managed to qualified for Boston twice with this non-traditional approach.

Ashley and Nate said...

Here's my 2 cents... don't over analyze it. I over analyze so many things... I talk myself out of too many things that I could do. Do it! Run that marathon, and then tell me how it was. :)

Get a treadmill. It's a one time cost... a gym membership you'll pay every single month. Check craigslist for used ones. Sometimes people are practically giving things away on that website.

I really like that quote at the end of your blog too. Quitting does last forever... yikes!

Jen said...

I think you've already answered your own question just by writing this post. The bigger question is "which marathon?" :)

I don't like running in the dark either, but i would try to do as many of your runs outside as possible. Do you have any flexibility in your job to be able to run during the day?

I've been contemplating this same question for awhile. I think the fact that I'm still thinking about it is the answer.

Good luck!

Missy said...

I say, do it!! :) It seems like you want to do one, you are just scared to commit. How many people can say they have run a marathon?? I think it would be an awesome accomplishment! It's so much easier to do before kids! I have 2, and have been training for a half marathon and barely have time. Good luck!!

BTW- Never left a comment before, but love your blog! :)

alison said...

Why not just train for it and if life happens, change your plans? I think if you focus only on the family planning it can consume you, having the marathon can be a distraction. You'll be running anyway!
A lot of local running stores have groups to run with. I've always been lucky and have a reliable running buddy :)
I bought a great treadmill a year back. In my opinion, a good treadmill will cost over $1000. I think mine was $1300. I love it. Totally worth it. I also have a gym memership I use at least 3-4 days a week. If you can afford it, your health and fitness are worth it.
Andddddd I signed up for my first marathon...its at the end of this month. As much as I tried to not to admit it to myself, I think it's happening.
BTW, I find a LOT of people at work are into the whole running thing and are dying to find someone to run with. Especially new people who want to keep up the healthy routine.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you've got a lot of decisions to make. Marathon training properly should take a big commitment of time, so I'd say if you're worried about it, perhaps you should put it off?

Also, just something that popped into my head- you should check the classified and craigs list for treadmills if you want one. :)

Becky said...

It seems like I'm going out on a limb here, but I would recommend waiting until a moment hits you and you are absolutely sure.

It's great that you are considering whether you really WANT to run. Logistically, now might be the right time, but the mental component is crucial. You brought up some great points!

Running is the cold isn't so bad...but the darkness is a real pain!

Anonymous said...

Good luck! Just try to think what you really want to do- and what would be best for your body.

Run your half next month and see how you feel after. Then you'd still have 8 weeks or so to train- which is plenty of time to go from a 1/2 to a full.

Kelly said...

I think it comes down to whether it is a goal for you or it's not. If it's important to you, then you should go for it. I'm not sure about the treadmill thing. I know personally for me, running on a treadmill isn't the same as running outside so I only do the treadmill if I run super early in the morning or if it's raining really hard. Could you run at lunch time and shower at the office? I've done one dark run since it started getting darker, and I'm just going to keep at it and use my flashing light.

Anonymous said...

I have 3 kids under the age of 5 and a pilot husband who is gone about half the time. I just completed a half marathon last weekend! Try not to think of your life in terms of "before kids" and "after kids". There is enough that is going to change when you have kids . . . running is one thing that doesn't have to!

My husband bought me a can of hand-held mace with a little "running strap". I know it doesn't fix the problem of running at night, but it does make me feel safer!

Do the marathon. You have thought of every possible excuse not to . . . now use that brainpower to think of ways around it! :) I am looking into buying a treadmill too . . . simply because I cannot put 2 in the dual jog stroller and one on the bike in the middle of winter! We have to be creative. Can you run at lunch? Morning, though still dark, is safer than evening.

Also, if you maximize your weekend time, you wouldn't have to do too much "length" during the week! 2 quality runs on the weekend, plus one training run with a friend during the week . . . and the rest of your runs can be short and simple.


Jen said...

So late weighing in and totally not going to tell you yes or no but you're thinking about all the right things. Just make sure that if you decide to do it that it's because you want to and not because you feel like you need to cross it off the list.

I have trained for a winter marathon (February) and a fall marathon (October). I can honestly say that I much preferred training through the heat with sunlight v. training through the freezing cold darkness.

If you decide to do it, you will make it work. I am firmly in the no treadmill camp (only for desperate situations). I just don't think it's the same as running outside although I know some people have trained for marathons on them.

Good luck making your decision and can't wait to hear what you decide!

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