Is the Marathon too popular?

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MichaelMc
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Re: Is the Marathon too popular?

Postby MichaelMc » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:41 pm

I really don't get this thread. How does the marathon take away from any other running? THE running distance is 100m, and it always has been: "fastest man on earth". You don't see the top marathoners posing and trying the same head games. Why 100m? No particular reason really, 50m and 60m used to be run regularly and faster. 200m, 400m , 800m, 1500m , Mile, 3000m, 5000m... which is "better"?

The 10k is the most popular race, yet isn't run by professionals as a road race (vs. 10,000m track). Is it "too popular"? Does anyone think the reason there aren't more books on how to run a good 800m or 1500m is that those authors are too busy writing marathon books?

So many people run marathons because it is thought of as a "really long race", and people like to set goals that either they or their friends will think are lofty. Enough people are finishing marathons now that "Ultra" races are becoming more popular. If your great Aunt finishes a marathon maybe you feel less accomplishment from your feat and have to do something more extreme.

My advice is find something YOU like and don't worry about what everyone else thinks. The average layman doesn't know whether 3:30 is a good marathon time or whether 18 minutes is a good 5k time, so why worry about it. Track and marathon are different animals. We have a great, inexpensive one mile race in Edmonton which gives away wonderful prizes but try to get marathoners to run it... they're afraid of being embarrased. My avatar is from that race: got my butt kicked but had a blast.

Enjoy!

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Re: Is the Marathon too popular?

Postby Jo-Jo » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:54 pm

MichaelMc wrote:My advice is find something YOU like and don't worry about what everyone else thinks. The average layman doesn't know whether 3:30 is a good marathon time or whether 18 minutes is a good 5k time, so why worry about it.

Enjoy!


Totally agree.
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Re: Is the Marathon too popular?

Postby dgrant » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:34 pm

turd ferguson wrote:
140.6 wrote:Disrespected by runners; no, in fact sometimes the opposite. I care more what my running peers think.


Disrespected by runners: it varies. Thats why I mentioned the runners at the Y because there is still a large contingent of runners who think the marathon is the be-all and end-all and that other distances are either filler or charity fun runs or for people who haven't made the transition to the marathon yet.


Agreed, and it's in this context that I would agree that the marathon has become too popular. Especially among newer runners there's a message (spoken or implied) that farther equals more advanced, so you need to run a marathon to be legit.

Five years ago on this forum I used to be one of the people who said "If I can do it anyone can do it! Anyone can run a marathon! Try it! Yay!"... but I feel the exact opposite way now. Most people shouldn't run marathons. Life is life, and for any number of reasons many (most?) people are limited to a max of 5 or 6 hours a week for running. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever. You can become a really good runner on 5 or 6 hours per week. Several of the best runners I know run 5 hours per week. But that's half the running that conventional wisdom dictates. (Or at least the conventional wisdom before the current "rush to run a marathon" boom.) A big discrepancy between raceday distance and weekly mileage leads to lousy race results, but more importantly increased risk of injury and stunting of the runner's overall progress.

If you can only run 5hrs per week... that's great! Focus on 5 milers, 10Ks, 10 milers. Those are very legitimate long distance events. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Enjoy them and become really good at them. Leave the marathons (and ultramarathons :roll: ) to the lucky few whose bodies and lifestyles can handle 10 or 12 hours per week of running. There's something for everyone. :D

/soapbox

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Re: Is the Marathon too popular?

Postby mcshame » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:53 pm

What seems so obvious to me may not seem so obvious to others, so I'm just going to just say it right out.

When I started running (if you can call it that), I couldn't make it down the street. Them it was around the block, then down a long street to a stop sign, then 5k, then 10k. Wow, then a race....it was not about speed, it was being able to run further and further. It was a sign of improved fitness, witnessing a change in the body, a transformation.

Could I go further? Let's try, a couple of more races at 10k than I wondered if I could push it longer. Then came the half and then the unbelievable thought off a full marathon. My evolution is all about the distance, not the speed. Has it shifted, sure, now it's more about volume of running and more so speed....but the challenge of distance always lingers. One day, perhaps, I would like to try going even further, 50k, 100k, longer....

I don't discredit the value of fast 5k, 10k but FOR ME, not nearly as interesting as a fast 1/2 or full. To run a fast 5k or 10k, you need to training hard. To achieve a fast 1/2 or full, the training is hard and requires more time commitment. To run an ultra, it requires even more commitment. Ironmans, MORE commitment.

That is why the long races interest and impress me so much.

Your experiences and opinion will differ and that ok. But it will not change how I feel about marathons and distance running. For me, it's way cool.

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Is the Marathon too popular?

Postby Jwolf » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:58 pm

mcshame wrote:I don't discredit the value of fast 5k, 10k but FOR ME, not nearly as interesting as a fast 1/2 or full. To run a fast 5k or 10k, you need to training hard. To achieve a fast 1/2 or full, the training is hard and requires more time commitment. To run an ultra, it requires even more commitment. Ironmans, MORE commitment.


But some people who train for 5Ks and 10Ks are putting in just as much time or more time than others training for marathons. (How many hours per week is Robbie-T training now?)

On the other hand, is your respect for people's efforts really correlated to their time commitment?
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Re: Is the Marathon too popular?

Postby mas_runner » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:06 pm

I think you could just take marathon out of the thread title and replace it with any race distance.

Heck you could replace it with anything. It is how snobs view the world, they find something, enjoy it and then when it gets popular for whatever reason they feel snubbed that they don't get continually congratulated for being there in the beginning.

How many time do you hear folk bemoaning that, "Uhh, I liked them ages ago, before they were popular, now they are so mainstream".

Me? I like what I like and run for my own reasons, I would never second guess other folks reasons. I don't need a pat on the back or any recognition. I run the races I feel like running and judge myself on how I fair based on my expectations etc. Simple as that.
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Re: Is the Marathon too popular?

Postby दिवंगत » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:23 pm

turd ferguson wrote:
140.6 wrote:Disrespected by runners; no, in fact sometimes the opposite. I care more what my running peers think.


Disrespected by runners: it varies. Thats why I mentioned the runners at the Y because there is still a large contingent of runners who think the marathon is the be-all and end-all and that other distances are either filler or charity fun runs or for people who haven't made the transition to the marathon yet.

Now we get to the definition of the term "runners." One definition could be that a "real runner" is one who understands and appreciates that the shorter distances are at least as much of a challenge, as hard to execute well, as a marathon. But that would be elitist. :wink:

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Re: Is the Marathon too popular?

Postby Pat Menzies » Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:05 am

I put a good deal more time and effort into training that got me a decent 600m and 800m performance than I did qualifying for the "Holy Grail" of running.
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Re: Is the Marathon too popular?

Postby Dstew » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:56 am

MichaelMc wrote:My advice is find something YOU like and don't worry about what everyone else thinks. The average layman doesn't know whether 3:30 is a good marathon time or whether 18 minutes is a good 5k time, so why worry about it. Track and marathon are different animals. We have a great, inexpensive one mile race in Edmonton which gives away wonderful prizes but try to get marathoners to run it... they're afraid of being embarrased. My avatar is from that race: got my butt kicked but had a blast.

Enjoy!


There is a certain mystic about the marathon because the average layman does actually know a 3:30 marathon time is slow compared to what the "Kenyans" run. They know a "good" marathon time is around 2 hours and yet, they still respect that you have run that distance. But tell them you ran a sub 20 minute 5 K and finished top three and the most likely reaction is a yawn.

So I do appreciate the debate and discussion and why it is sometimes difficult to follow your wise advice about doing the distance one likes for personal reasons. The reason is that even if the average person knows what a good time is or how important Boston is, I lost track of the number of times someone asked me, nice you ran Boston but have you run New York. Or that I ran Boston in 2007 and so a look of disappointment when I explain I am not training for a marathon but trail running or god forbid, for my health. So at best one is going to get some temporary satisfaction appeasing the expectations and views of others. And I agree with others that some runners have that view if only by way of suggesting that if they can run a 10 K, anyone can so what is the big deal but a marathon is ...

Myself, I only have regrets in picking races to make an impression for others.

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Is the Marathon too popular?

Postby mcshame » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:43 am

Jwolf wrote:
mcshame wrote:I don't discredit the value of fast 5k, 10k but FOR ME, not nearly as interesting as a fast 1/2 or full. To run a fast 5k or 10k, you need to training hard. To achieve a fast 1/2 or full, the training is hard and requires more time commitment. To run an ultra, it requires even more commitment. Ironmans, MORE commitment.


On the other hand, is your respect for people's efforts really correlated to their time commitment?


Jen, my post is about why the marathon is important to ME. It has nothing to do with respect of others. Criteria for respect is not a black and white science.

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Re: Is the Marathon too popular?

Postby turd ferguson » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:38 pm

140.6 wrote:
turd ferguson wrote:
140.6 wrote:Disrespected by runners; no, in fact sometimes the opposite. I care more what my running peers think.


Disrespected by runners: it varies. Thats why I mentioned the runners at the Y because there is still a large contingent of runners who think the marathon is the be-all and end-all and that other distances are either filler or charity fun runs or for people who haven't made the transition to the marathon yet.

Now we get to the definition of the term "runners." One definition could be that a "real runner" is one who understands and appreciates that the shorter distances are at least as much of a challenge, as hard to execute well, as a marathon. But that would be elitist. :wink:


Its hard to express that sentiment without sounding elitist.

Me: I'm training for a 5k. I'm running 45 miles per week including one hill session and one interval session.
Them: My sister is training for the same 5k. She's up to running 1 minute, walking to 1 minute.

I know that sounds elitist, but so be it. As hard as I'm working, I know that there are people in front of me who are training even harder and for whom the race is even more of a challenge.
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