Have you ever felt humbled by the marathon distance? – I certainly have. This year, I have ran 4 marathons (one a month) and the marathon distance still gets me every time. Having ran a couple of marathons, and with a personal best of 3 hours 31 minutes in Malaysia and 3 hours 24 minutes overseas, I would think I have this marathon distance nailed.
But I feel in this distance, anything could happen. And I am far from being consistent in this distance. I have suffered – having cramps, having a 8 minute per km split sometimes 9, walking, looking for toilets – my marathon stories are quite epic! The distance is so long, the potential and possibility of something going wrong is much higher than in a half distance, a 10km or a 5km!
So, if you have a bad day, don’t give up on the marathon distance just yet! It may get you every time, but you just need one good day to give you that sense of accomplishment like no other!
Here are a few things to remember when the going gets tough and you feel like giving up!
Remember, Rarely Ever Does Everything Go As Planned
I plan to go out at a 5 minute pace and hold that pace for the whole 42km distance. Have you heard that one before? Sometimes the adrenaline rush gets you at the start and you run a 445 pace first 5km. Sometimes you have toilet issues and need to take a break. Sometimes you break down at kilometre 30, you don’t know why but your pace is just slowing down tremendously. More often than not, you suffer cramps and that just totally kills your pace! But this is part and parcel of marathon running. You run given your circumstances – good or bad! Everyone does experience the unexpected, and everyone does experience pain – and marathon running is about managing this pain!
Even The Best Do Have A Bad Day
Well of course unless you are the legendary Eliud Kipchoge! Well, the only consistent person and also King of the marathon distance is probably Kipchoge – winning all but 1 of the marathons he has ran so far, and in that 1, he got an impressive 2nd place in which the Champion ran a new World Record! But we’ve seen – even the very best can have a bad day! Look at Bekele in the Dubai Marathon this year! Arguably one of the best distance runners of our time, and yet he took a cab back to the finishing line (not sure he had money)! Or Meb in the recent Boston Marathon! Looking strong in the start, he started to fade! So even the best do have bad days! One bad day isn’t a strong enough reason for you to give up the marathon.
Everyone Is In Pain
This is what gets me going every time! I remind myself that in this marathon distance, everyone experiences pain! Everyone is suffering! If they can push through, why can’t I? It may be pain with every stride, but this is what marathon-ing is about! Look at everyone – around you! We are all the same with one goal in mind – to tame the 42.195km beast!
So remember, if you’ve had a bad day, a couple of bad marathons, don’t completely give up on the distance! The marathon distance is tough, but it is precisely because it is tough that’s why it is worth challenging!