To Marathon or NOT to Marathon

There is usually a large temptation to do a winter marathon but most triathletes. Sometimes they can be a great idea. You just have to know what the purpose is.

They are a great idea if:
- You just want to run a marathon
- You are trying to qualify for Boston
- Obviously, if Marathoning or distance running is “your thing”
- You are looking for a new goal
- Etc.
I always try to get my athletes to reconsider though if they are trying one for these reasons:

- They want to know they can run the distance for Ironman
- They want to improve their running
- Trying to lose weight

Running a marathon is almost a different sport then running a marathon off the bike. I know if you have never done either you will think I am crazy, but please trust me. They almost do not relate to each other. That isn’t to say running off the bike is harder. I have been more sore and tired after standalone marathons than running off the bike!

Running off the bike is going to be on average a lot slower. You will be hitting it with a lot of cumulative fatigue. For and intensities are WAY different, as is nutrition.

Trying to improve your running? It makes complete sense why you think the marathon would help do this, and it absolutely could. The trick is remaining injury free and allowing yourself to train the other sports. If you let your swim and bike go to the side too long, it will not matter how fit you are because you will bring us back to the previous point about cumulative fatigue. How many Ironman athletes do you see already walking at mile 1 or 2 of the marathon in Ironman? It isn’t because they went to too hard for the run, or didn’t do enough run training. It is simply because they lack the fitness and economy in the two previous sports. Consider that when training for the marathon.

Additionally, that hardest thing about triathlon is remaining healthy. With the increased volume (hopefully coupled with intensity at the right times) you open yourself up to more injuries. If you select a HALF marathon, you can do almost the same volume in training (less some long run total distance) but will not have the single day stress from the actual marathon day and must recover from that, allowing you to get back to training sooner.

A lot of athletes race into the fall. If you are trying to back up a marathon after a long season, it may not allow for any downtime.

Weight loss – I have spent time on this, and will again at another point, but trust me. There are a lot of overweight marathon runners. I’m not trying to be judgmental or cruel, just honest. You cannot out run a bad diet. If you really want to lose weight, talk to Tanya, she will help. Start with what you put in your mouth.

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