It’s that time of year again. You can’t log in to your running group’s message board without seeing tons of posts of people finishing half marathons and training for marathons. It seems like so many of the group runs are aiming for longer and longer distances. Starting line group photos seem to include everyone who is anyone in the running group. The medals look really cool. People start posting messages indicating that the half marathon posts have inspired them, should they try the distance?
At least in New England, fall is our half marathon season. You can pretty much run a half marathon every weekend day between September and the end of October and still be within 3 hours of home. As a half marathon fanatic, it’s usually my favorite time of year. Its not uncommon for me to run 3 or 4 half marathons within the time period.
I’m also a half marathon enabler. If you are looking for a cheerleader to push you in the direction of training for a half marathon, I’m your gal. I think barring injury, everyone is capable of running a half marathon.
But SHOULD everyone run a half marathon? No!
So if you don’t want to, or can’t train for a half marathon, its ok. While it may seem like you are the only outsider, you are not. It’s just that those who are accomplishing huge goals (like running their first half marathon or marathon) are much more vocal than those who are happily sticking to 5ks or running for fun.
There’s actually plenty of reasons not to train for long distance races:
- You are still recovering from injury or surgery (example: me. I was sure I would be back to normal 6 months after surgery).
- You have other athletic hobbies (half marathon training can cut into your yoga or swimming time)
- You already struggle to find time to workout (half marathons generally need 2 hour long runs. I like to run because I can squeeze it into a half hour break)
- You need to run with kids in a stroller (some kids are totally ok with it)
- You are pregnant and uncomfortable (I ran 15 half marathons while pregnant with my first, I stopped running at 23 weeks with my second because I had contractions after a half marathon)
- You’ve run a half before and still remember hating it
- You prefer running for speed
- You just don’t want to run longer distance
So if you are feeling peer pressure to run longer distance, it’s ok to stick to what makes you feel good. Your running group will still cheer on your efforts towards a 5k PR or your beautiful easy trail run. I guarrantee you that if you ask for shorter distance running partners you’ll have plenty of ladies willing to join you.
And if you feel ready to make the leap towards longer distance runs, I’m sure they’ll be there to lend their support and expertise.
Have you ever felt peer pressure to run a distance you were not ready for?