Recently a friend of mine signed up for a marathon and asked me for some training advice. He said that he was “not becoming a runner” and that the marathon was a bucket list item for him. There are lots of reasons why people run. I get it. The problem is that the marathon doesn’t give a shit that you want to check it off your list. It’s still 26.2 miles.
The marathon requires you to be committed on a level that your local 5k or 10k or half marathon does not. To properly train for a marathon you have to significantly change your life. You cannot just add on a sprinkle of running like some salad dressing and expect to run a successful marathon. There’s a reason why many elite runners take 4 or 5 marathons to just figure the race out. It’s hard. It’s really hard. There are no shortcuts. No quick fixes. No secret hacks. Running a marathon is a lot of work and a lot of it is running.
So when my friend said that he wanted to run under 9 minute miles and only run 4 times a week and keep doing crossfit and still do a multi day cycling event in the middle of the training cycle I told him he needed to adjust his expectations. You can bullshit your way through a 5k. You can half ass your 10k preparation and still be okay. If you ignore the long runs, recovery, sleep, strength work, nutrition, race day logistics, any one of those things can easily ruin your marathon. Any. Single. One. (That’s not to mention things like weather and the course that you have absolutely no control over). I love running and I love runners. Do yourself a favor and show the marathon the proper respect. That’s the only way to even give yourself a chance to be successful come race day.