Is Running a Marathon on Your Bucket List?

running a marathon

Fitness goals always have been important for me. Every few months, as my body changes and becomes stronger, those goals lead me to new, challenging experiences. This keeps me personally invested, continually learning and pushing my personal boundaries. Although I love a good challenge, certain fitness goals never have been appealing to me.

Running a marathon seems to be a goal for a lot of fitness enthusiasts. Although I understand the desire to train for difficult goals, this particular one never has interested me. I think what turns me off about the idea is the amount of time this kind of challenge requires. Although the end goal is a rewarding one, I’d rather focus my time and energy on different goals.

Training For 26.2188 Grueling Miles

If I were to decide to run a marathon, proper training would be my key focus. Without it, I’d be risking serious injury to my body. Running more than 26 miles in one day is hours of discomfort and stress to the skeletal, muscular, nervous and cardiovascular systems. Proper training is key to success in this type of endeavor.

Before setting fitness goals, I like to consider how they’ll affect me in the long term. A marathon probably would be a one-time deal for me. With the time commitment and the continued stress running would put on my entire body, I don’t think this is the type of goal I’d reach for again and again. That’s another reason why I’ll steer clear of marathons.

As I consider the type of sacrifice this training would require, a few things come to mind. My diet would change substantially. Typically, I consume a high protein and low carb diet. My general fitness goal is gaining muscle, cutting fat and improving strength and flexibility. Long distance running requires a different approach and inevitably provides different physical results. I’d be eating more energy-sustaining carbs for endurance. I’d also be in a different target heart rate than normal for longer periods of time. This usually results in muscle loss, another reason why this one-time goal doesn’t really suit my overall fitness agenda.

Combine the change in diet, the change in physical routine and the time commitment, and I don’t see much room for the long-term fitness goals I’ve been trying to achieve for the last several years.

Finding Short-Term Goals That Benefit My Lifelong Goals

Instead of training for a marathon, I take on fitness challenges that are going to help me achieve my long-term goals. Those basically are gaining muscle, cutting fat and improving strength and flexibility. Instead of preparing for a marathon, some similar challenges that don’t deter from my lifestyle are obstacle courses:

  • WipeOut Runs
  • Tough Mudder
  • American Ninja Warrior
  • Rugged Maniac Obstacle Course
  • Spartan Races

These events are typically a few miles loaded with strength- and endurance-dependent activities. To train for these obstacle courses I schedule workouts that focus on jumping rope, swimming, burpees, tabata and treadmill sprinting. Instead of running for hours, I’m getting a variety of exercises that are working different parts of my body in unison. I add more time to my workouts as time goes on and increase my reps and workload. This is a workout regimen I can follow every day that puts me closer to my lifelong goals, without running myself down a road that isn’t going to help me long-term.

No matter how big or different your dreams are, fitness should be an everyday thing. With goal setting and motivation, I believe this is something anyone can achieve. My level of daily activity has a greater effect on my overall well-being than anything else. Being consistently active, I feel better physically, which helps me feel better emotionally. This, in turn, reflects on my relationships with friends and family, my performance at work and my outlook on life as a whole.

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