Running: facing up
I think it's time for me to face a certain hard truth about my running program. It is time, I think, to abandon marathon training for the foreseeable future.
Of course, this does not mean I plan to abandon running: I will be a runner until the day I die, hopefully. In fact, this does not even mean I will curtail my weekly mileage. But I don't think I'm going to pursue training for any marathon-length runs for at least the rest of 2012.
I have several reasons:
1. I want to make kendo my core fitness pursuit. The feeling has been growing in me for the last few months that I need to put an end to this bifurcated running/kendo thing I do, whereby I try to balance both with equal focus and fervor. I have reached a point, especially in my kendo, whereby this is unacceptable, whereby my marathon-oriented running is becoming an impediment to my kendo. I simply cannot focus on both marathon-level running (16 week programs, three hour training runs) and also do dan-level kendo. I'm going to have to either subordinate my running entirely to my kendo, or accept mediocrity in my kendo while I keep plugging away at marathoning. My heart is pretty much firmly in my kendo; and while I'll still run, I'll need to sht down marathoning. My kend is not going to get much better if I keep pursuing it with this divided mind.
2. I've run six marathons, and run them well (at least for a runner my age) since 2004. I'm not sure what I have left to prove, to myself or anyone else, by running a seventh, or an eighth, etc. Been there, done that. The truth is, I'm just not enjoying marathoning anymore, on any level. I still dig the basic act of running. But gearing up for those extra-long, time consuming training runs necessary for marathons has become entirely joyless.
3. Training for a marathon is incompatible with the low key, stealth approach I've adopted recently for my running program. As I've noted recently, due to some family issues, I've felt compelled to move my running as far off my family's radar screen as possible. I thought I could do this and still train for a marathon, but I'm now thinking this is just not possible.
4. My marathoning is actually harming my fitness level by making me far too one-dimensional. When I'm training for a marathon, all I can do is run--every spare moment is dedicated to those extra long training runs necessary to build my stamina for 26.2 miles. I subsequently never cross train, which means I really neglect my core and other areas. I'm hoping if I can cut my runs back to only 6-8 miles daily, I'll then be able to make room for better and more efficient exercises in other areas--especially areas that will benefit my kendo.
So there it is. I'm going to rethink my running for the rest of this week (July 16-22), and come up with a plan that 1) maintains a good weekly mileage base, 2) is conducive to my kendo, and 3) allows for a decent cross program. I may consider doing some shorter races in the fall that don't require that much time or focus, and I may decide at a later date to do a marathon. But for now, I'm just a runner--one who primarily does kendo.