View From the Center- Occasional Musings on Coaching and Racing


The Politics of Going Lengthy(er)

As I put together and practice for an upcoming marathon (my third), I’ve been giving plenty of thought to how I bought right here. I by no means meant to be an athlete, not to mention an Ironman finisher and marathoner. As soon as somebody makes the choice to run, or bike, or swim, or ski or every other endurance exercise, the drive for longer, for extra, feels virtually inevitable. As an ever-wise outdated Hobbit as soon as mentioned “It’s a harmful enterprise…going out your door. You step onto the street, and in the event you don’t maintain your ft, there’s no realizing the place you is perhaps swept off to.” I feel that is very true when these ft are strapped right into a pair of trainers.

The mystique of going lengthy feels unfathomable to those that don’t take part in endurance sports activities, however to many who do, the draw is each current and apparent. The primary time I rode my bike 50 miles, I got here residence utterly spent and, pleased with my accomplishment, I texted a long-time bike owner pal to share the information. His response was that if I may experience 50 miles, I may experience 100. My exhausted response is unprintable right here and will or might not have known as into query my pal’s cognitive talents and grasp on actuality. Clearly, my pal was proper and never really unmoored.

Lack of sanity is an accusation most endurance athletes, umm…endure from well-meaning household and associates who can not fathom the fixed pursuit of extra. For the athlete, although, the calculation is straightforward: “Certain, the (jog on the seashore/bike experience/5k/dash triathlon/kayak journey/and many others.) was arduous, however I didn’t die! I in all probability received’t die if I am going longer, both. Additionally, it’s superior to do arduous issues. Let’s see what’s subsequent!”

There’s a easy, but asymmetrical magnificence in each the idea of “lengthy” and the everyday sequence of development. Runners might progress from sofa to 5k to 10k to half-marathon to marathon to ultra-marathon to Barkley (ha!). Individuals normally discover triathlon from a begin in a single sport, after which construct from there: Dash (500-750m swim/20k bike/5k run) Þ Worldwide (1500m swim/40k bike/10k run) Þ Half Ironman (1.2-mile swim/56-mile bike/13.1-mile run) Þ Ironman (2.4-mile swim/112-mile bike/26.2-mile run). For me, the development took about 4 years to go from “by no means” to “what time?”

Whereas my path to longer was pretty typical, it’s in no way the one means. It’s extra widespread than one would suspect for athletes to introduce themselves to triathlon with a full Ironman distance race.  The world of endurance sports activities affords much more excessive lengths if one is so inclined. An Ultraman race, for instance, is a three-day problem of swimming, biking and working. Day 1 contains a 10k swim adopted by a 90-mile bike experience. Day 2 is a straightforward bike experience of 171 miles, and day 3 a 52.4-mile double-marathon. This nicely exceeds my capability for “lengthy.”

Other than struggling by way of a current 16-mile coaching run in 11F temperatures, I’ve by no means regretted my resolution to hunt out longer occasions and challenges. I like my marathon and Ironman finisher gear and might’t wait to earn extra. I don’t know if I’ll proceed to hunt even longer and tougher occasions, however I’m sure that I received’t say “by no means” to the suggestion of doing so.

You probably have been questioning in the event you ought to strive one thing longer in your athletic endeavors, the reply is probably going “YES!”

Listed here are some issues to contemplate beforehand:

  • Affirm together with your doctor that you’re wholesome sufficient for the occasion you’re contemplating.
  • Guarantee you’re correctly educated for the space or occasion you’re contemplating.
  • Take into account hiring a coach that will help you safely make giant jumps in distance.
  • Be certain that your loved ones is all-in in your resolution to go lengthy. They arrive alongside for the experience.
  • Get help. Discuss your pals into going lengthy with you. It’s far more enjoyable that means!








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