Why You Shouldn’t Run a Marathon

Throughout the 4 months I spent marathon training, I kept finding myself asking “Why is it that people get hooked on this again?” Both of my training partners were marathon veterans who somehow got off on hours of pavement-pounding, and though I’m quite the runner myself at the time, my favorite race is over in 2 laps.

My marathon experience wasn’t a horrible one — in fact, it was pretty successful. But will I ever do another one? Hell no. Here’s why:

Well obviously, the number one reason you should never sign up for a marathon is you have to run for hours at a time. HOURS. So if you sign up for one, don’t think you’ll be snoozing on a Sunday morning for the next 4–5 months. You’ll be rolling out of bed with the sun so you can start logging those miles before your body really knows what’s going on. The only way to cope with the knowledge that you’re going to be running for 2–3 hours is not ever letting that knowledge register with your brain.

Be warned: Eating and running is not for the uncoordinated (read: me). If there’s a reason behind why you chose to run cross country in high school instead of playing soccer (other than you’re nuts about getting lost in the woods while wearing short-shorts), then you’re gonna want to get some practice with mid-run munching. If you can’t swim laps with your head in the water ’cause coordinated breathing is too much for you, you can expect eating an energy bar and swigging Gatorade mid-stride to be similarly difficult. And maybe dangerous. Be sure your training partner knows the Heimlich. (And if you think you’re not going to breakfast on the run, please let me remind you that the first ever marathoner died at completion. I’d bet that a PickyBar along the way could have saved him).

So you train, you choke on your Gatorade, the big day comes and you run around in a weird mixture of discomfort, adrenaline, bleeding feet, and exhaustion that makes even the toughest dudes emotionally overwhelmed. You cross the finish and you think “fuck yeah, I’m done.” While in a stupor, you make your way to a holding area to find out where the volunteers are handing out chocolate milk. Then you collapse on the ground and wonder at how great sitting feels and how much you’ve always taken immobility for granted.

…and then you never run again. I mean, maybe you will eventually, but I haven’t so far. It’s like you have to have this detox period post-marathon (well, if you’re not a robot, anyways). You become lazy AF and feel no remorse about it ’cause hey man, you ran 26 miles in one day three weeks ago, and now you’re not obligated to run more than that within the span of a month.

Despite the potential ego boost that goes along with a few people thinking you’re cool and accomplished for completing a marathon, the images of your pain face that are now and forevermore stored in the vaults of the internet will deflate your ego by an equivalent amount.

And there you have my anti-marathon propaganda. Any pipe dreams of working for an athletic publication or company have just been crushed with a few taps of the keyboard. But if I can save one person’s ankles from bleeding through their shoes, then I will consider it worthwhile.