LISTEN UP

The hardest week of the year for Real Marathoners.  And  Coaches.  Just what makes it so hard?

For the Boston/London/Paris marathoners there is tremendous temptation to hop into another marathon right away.   You worked 16-20 weeks getting by golly fit and for sure you are champing at the bit.

I was interested but dismayed by the story of 2018 Boston winner Yuki Kawauchi.  Interested because he is a singular athlete, able to run 10-12 marathons a year at a World Class level.  He’s an outlier, a one off.  Dismayed because of the message that sends.  Look, like it or not you only have 2 quality marathons a year in your legs.  Unless you are blessed like Yuki.

But the marathon accepts all attempts.  Cares not for training cycles, coaches, or kits.  It simply is.

This is only one of the significant departures I’ve noticed in the world of marathoning over the last quarter century.  The trade off.  The sacrifice of peak performance for whatever else there might be in the marathon  (somebody throw me a line and tell me what that other else is, please!)   Peak performance that can only come through science of high level training.   I try and understand why anyone would run a marathon and not make it the  pursuit of a lifetime, a personal best effort.    I won’t say “right” or “wrong”, it simply is.

Would you trade a dozen (a hundred?) 3:01 marathons for a sub 3?  Would you trade a dozen 2:30s for a 2:29?  Would you trade a resume full of 2:20s for a single 2:19?  Would you trade all of your 4 hour plus efforts for a single 3:59.  Likely a generational question with generational responses.

I ran 2:47:09 in 1983, my personal best 2:46:56 in 1995.  Almost thirteen years chasing an arbitrary number.  An effort and journey that I’ll forever cherish.   I gave the marathon everything.  Two solid efforts a year with only a singular goal.  How I wish it was 2:45!

Listen to the science.  Listen to the experts.  Listen to the coach.  But only if such things really matter to you.