A friend of mine went on a date with a guy the other night. They were chatting and having a great time. Because they were both runners, the conversation naturally gravitated towards their race experiences. The guy, being an ultra marathoner, finally asked my friend, “Why did you downgrade from running full marathons to halves?” It was then that my friend knew a relationship between the two of them would never work…
DON’T ASK STUPID QUESTIONS
The question, “Why did you downgrade from running full marathons to halves?” was a deal breaker for her, and honestly it annoys me to pieces.
I just completed my 3rd full Marine Corps Marathon (read all about it here.) I have run all distances excluding the ultra marathon, however I am considering trying one in the near future. My favorite distances to run, and the ones I run most often are 10 milers, half marathons, and the full marathon. However, I do not think the full marathon is a harder distance to conquer then the half marathon. All of these distances are equally challenging in their own way. All of these distances are challenging, but the training focus is different. In other words, it takes a different kind of running depending on the race distance. And here is why…
When I am training for a half marathon, my goal is to run faster. My training focus is on pace and speed work. I am doing shorter runs during the week, at a faster pace. I am running hill repeats. I may, even though, it is rare, jump on the treadmill to do some HIIT. I am also focusing on running form, and strength training. When training for a half marathon, I have more time to weight lift and do yoga. And last time I trained for a half marathon, I ran less, but when I did run, my runs were quality runs. The running less left more time to weight lift. The combo of more quality runs, and more weight lifting, made my body stronger and my runs faster.
When I am training for a full marathon my ultimate goal is to build endurance by running far. My training focus is on increasing my weekly milage by running longer runs. I am not worrying too much on running a fast pace, and actually my pace slows down significantly. When it comes to pace, I am just trying to stay consistent. I practice negative splits on my longer runs. Nutrition and proper hydration plays a huge role when training and racing this distance.
HOW IT EFFECTS MY BODY
Depending on the sport you play, your body may take on a different shape. Gymnasts have a distinct gymnast’s body, Swimmers have a swimmer’s body… and you may have heard people say Runners have a runner’s body… but when it comes to runners, it becomes a little more complicated, because there are different types of runners. Sprinters or those running shorter distances then the marathon at a faster pace tend to be more muscular, then those running full marathons and ultra marathons. This is definitely true for me.
When I train for a half marathons I have more time for other exercises, such as weigh lifting, cycling, and yoga. When I train for a half marathon, I am able to fit in 4-5 times a week of weight lifting. Therefore, I maintain more muscle. I am stronger and overall look more fit.
When I train for a full marathon, my weekly milage has significantly increased. The mileage has increased so much that it is nearly impossible to fit any other exercising in. During marathon training, I was able to squeeze one weight lifting session in a week. And out of my four month marathon training, I went to yoga once. I tried to maintain as much muscle as I could during marathon training, but it was hard because I wasn’t lifting as much as I usually do, and because I didn’t have much fat to burn. When running long distance the body uses fat as energy. If there isn’t any fat to use, it will then use muscle for energy. This is why marathon runners, and ultra marathoners are so lean.
So as you can see, one distance is not more challenging then the other, they are just very different, even effecting the body differently.
Stop having an ego!
Just because you run a full marathons, or ultra marathons, it doesn’t mean you are more fit or a better runner then someone who chooses to run half marathons.
I choose to run a full marathon when I am craving to run far, consistent, slower, longer runs. Marathon training is a huge time commitment, and because I usually get really into my training, it is important for me to have the proper time to train. Yes, you can always make time, and make marathon training a priority but things get in the way, for example wedding planning, getting pregnant, traveling.
I am tired of hearing, “Oh I just ran the half…”
Don’t feel like less of a runner, because you only ran the half marathon. Feel proud, running a half marathon is an amazing accomplishment.
Honestly, sometimes I choose to run a half marathon. It lets me focus on running a faster pace. For a travel race, I may choose to run the half marathon over the full marathon, if I am in a cool city that I want to visit and explore, and not be too tired after racing. Sometimes, I choose to run a half because I want to be able to fit in weight lifting and yoga.
SO at the end of the day, I like to switch things up, and that is healthy physically and mentally.
“In some ways, an ultra isn’t even as hard as a marathon.” ~ Scott Jurek
Questions for You…
- Have you ever dated a runner?
- Which race distance is your favorite?
- Have you ever come across a runner with an ego?
© 2013 sweatdaily