Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Run for Your Lives

Last year at about this time, I got it in my head that I should run a marathon. The idea popped up suddenly, the plan fully-formed: I’d slowly accumulate more and more mileage in my Vibram FiveFingers, building a base of endurance á la Arthur Lydiard – and then ramp up using a tried-and-true training program like Hal Higdon’s. I could shoot for the San Francisco Marathon, or maybe enter the lottery for the New York City Marathon. My head quickly filled with grand plans.

And then, I remembered: I find long-distance running boring as hell. (I'm not the only one, right?) And I hate the interminable post-run recovery period.

I have nothing against runners. I admire their perseverance, sacrifice and drive. And personally, I still enjoy running short-to-moderate distances. I'll still pull on my FiveFingers and log a few miles every now and then, when I feel like it. But long-distance training takes a toll on my body that just ain’t worth the hassle. And frankly, with CrossFit workouts scheduled every other day, I’m not sure my aging legs could take the extra pounding. And so, after chucking the marathon goal out the window, I stopped doing my occasional long mid-afternoon runs. I didn't see the point.

Nonetheless, every once in a while, a devil perches on my shoulder, enticing me with whispers about the benefits of marathon training. Wouldn't it be an awesome accomplishment to run 26.2 miles? Don't you want a nice, shiny finisher's medal? Aren't pre-race spaghetti dinners yummy? Don't you miss slurping down Gu? And wouldn't it be fantastic to have saliva smeared all over your face?

Thankfully, I now have more than enough ammo to shoot that little fucker down. Namely:
In sum, long-distance running can seriously mess you up. I've given up my marathon dreams, and not just because God hates runners.