Ok, let me first off reiterate something. I am not anti-running. I get this all the time. “oh, you’re the guy who hates running!” No, not me.
What I try to get out there is that I do not think running is for everyone. What people do not recognize is that running is very demanding on your body and you need to train for it. Slapping on a pair of runners and hitting the asphalt is a sure way to hurt your bones and joints, create some shin splints, tighten your calves, and a host of other common injuries. You have to train to run.
Secondly, people run for the wrong reasons. So many people run to lose weight. Really, they run to lose fat and look better, but that is a discussion for another time. The problem is that running is not an effective way to lose fat, in fact, there are way more effective and less intensive ways to drop fat and look rockin’ in your bathing suit.
So I do not hate running. If you passionately love running then do it. Just make sure you train appropriately for it. Yes, resistance training is imperative for running. Many top ironman and marathon athletes have recently stated this, so you do not simply have to take my word for it.
What does all of this have to do with half marathons? And let me also include the 10k and 5k runs that have become so popular.
Answer me this: would you train to play half a hockey game? To sail halfway across a lake? To climb halfway to the top of a mountain? To get 50% on an exam?
No, no you shouldn’t be choosing any of those goals. So why does everyone train for half a marathon? People tell me it is a precursor to running a full marathon. Oddly, after 10 years in the business I cannot recall many times when that actually came to fruition. Or people say that the full marathon is just too hard. That’s a cop out. This just means they are not willing to put in the training time.
Because here is the truth: if you can train to run a half marathon, you could train to run a full marathon. Ever see the Biggest Loser? After three months the contestants run a full marathon, and they started, literally, hundreds of pounds overweight. Granted, they have sore knees, hips, backs, and shins, while they are running and afterwards, but so do 90% of the people who run anyway. I know this, as I am often hired to fix these issues after the fact.
That is why half marathons (and 5k’s and 10k’s) are dumb. They are training for failure. They are training to complete less than what you are capable of. And you are capable.
Event organizers and running stores do not want you to think like this, however. They rely on big numbers to generate revenue. If they can get someone to run a 5k one year, 10k the next, then try the half, then the full marathon, they just guaranteed themselves a customer for 4 years.
The running room is a prime example. Why do they give you free running clubs? Why free running clinics (which really shouldn’t be called clinics as they are rarely led by anyone with appropriate qualifications to be teaching anyone to run)? Because they want to SELL you products!
Want to know a secret? To run 5k or 10k you do not need all weather running jackets, lycra pants, yak tracks, and water belts. You do not even need to drink water over that distance. Yet I see groups of people decked to the nines in expensive gear barely moving down the street, not cracking a sweat, every weekend. Great for company profits.
Now listen, I am not saying don’t run. I am saying run for the right reasons. And if you choose to train and run, then do a marathon. Train for the goal. It’s March. Pick an event in August or September, you can run it by then if you train right.
My goal is to show people what they are capable of. And the human body is an incredible machine. You only get one of them, so use it, and use it to the best of its ability.