A full marathon is 42.2 km (26.2 mi).
That means walking half the marathon would be 21.1 km (13.1 mi).
That’s around 4 hours of walking. Add that to however long it took them to run the first half — let’s say, 2 hours.
This person is on her feet for at least 6 hours.
Do you know how often it would cross this person’s mind to quit?
“I’m not even running, why am I doing this? I am such a failure. Everyone is waiting for me. I should just stop, what’s the point?”
This person has the kind of mental strength and drive to achieve that deserves a ton of respect.
No, it is not annoying if someone says they ran a marathon if they walked half of it.
It’s damn impressive.
He was already the Greatest-Of-All-Time (GOAT) before breaking the 2 hour mark, but this solidifies it. His marathon career is absolutely unreal.
“At some point they started coming out but I had no time to remove them. But when you run without soles there is a lot of impact. There was a lot of pain with every step.”
Zero f*cks given.
At least he tried to make the race fair for the other lads…
If you strain your eyes, you can see one guy within sight. Maybe.
In case you’re curious, the cyan doesn’t stand for Kenyan; it was just a change in the ratifying organization.
Most victories ever?
Most points ever?
World record holder, Olympic champion, 4x world marathon major champion, first two hour marathon and unflappable…even when his insoles are.
He’s got that GOAT title wrapped up.
He’s targeting the Olympics in Tokyo next year, but even if he doesn’t win…he’ll still be the GOAT.
I wouldn’t bet against him, though…
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(Image Source: Business Insider. All the people behind him are world class athletes—who paced him—cheering him on in the final meters).
The official ratified world record is 2:01:39.
(Image Source: Business Insider. All the people behind him are world class athletes—who paced him—cheering him on in the final meters).
The official ratified world record is 2:01:39.
But you asked what the fastest marathon time EVER was, not what the official world record is.
The fastest a human being has run a marathon distance is 1:59:40. It was done by Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya in Vienna, Austria on the 12th of October, 2019.
That’s the time. That’s the place. If anyone tells you differently (unless they are referring to the official world record—which was run by the same person), they are not telling you the straight truth.
Was it aided by pacers?
Did he wear fancy shoes?
Was it an unofficial time?
Did he move his body over 26.2 miles in 1:59:40?
YES. YES HE DID.
And frankly that is all that really matters.
This is Emil Zatopek, and he’s not just one of the greatest runners in history, he’s one of the best human beings to ever live.
Never heard of him?
You, my friend, are in for a treat.
That’s him, naturally, in first.
Emil was born on September nineteenth, 1922-coincidentally, the same date as his future wife. She must have loved that-as someone who just got married, I know women are all about that destiny and fate stuff.
Zatopek was the seventh child in a poor Czechoslovakian family and, as you might have guessed, life was not easy growing up. Later, Australian coach Percy Cerutty said ‘He earned, and won for himself, every inch of a very hard road.’
If he says that, it’s 100% true.
Percy Cerutty, also an old-time hard-as-nails crazy bad-ass motherf*cker.
At sixteen years old, Emil was working in a shoe factory, when the factory sports coach (I guess that was a thing?) had them all run a race.
He came second out of a hundred runners, and thus, his story began.
He approached training in a very logical way. Other runners of his day ran slowly for long distances. He thought to himself:
“I already know how to run slowly. I need to learn how to run fast”.
He developed a rigorous system of fast repetitions with short, ruthlessly limited recovery jogs. He started with running around a 400m track 10 times, quickly, with short jogs in between each effort.
He was not the originator of interval training, but he was the foremost promoter of it, and his workouts are the stuff of legend.
By the mid-1950s he was doing up to 100 fast 400m laps a day, with 150m jogs in between.
To save you the counting, that’s 55km, or 34 miles!
His usual workout was 40x400m, but still…that’s 10 miles worth of intervals. It’s no wonder that he dominated.
When Zátopek first developed his regime of high-volume interval training, his fellow athletes were appalled. It was so…so different from everything everyone else was doing.
‘Everyone said, “Emil, you are a fool!”’ he remembered. ‘But when I first won the European Championship, they said: “Emil, you are a genius!”’
And they were right. That’s true genius-going against the grain, going against common knowledge, going against what everyone in your entire field believes is right. Following your gut. Going the road less traveled.
The best part of this picture is the expression on the face of the guy above him.
If someone looks at you when you are running, you’re doing something!
‘Before Zátopek,’ wrote Fred Wilt, the US 10,000m runner and training guru, ‘nobody had realized it was humanly possible to train this hard.’
He was actually not particularly talented. More than average, sure…but certainly not the most talented in the major races.
He outworked people. He outlasted people. He out-willed people.
“He studied chemistry as a young man, and from the moment he took up serious running he explored hitherto untried ways of improving his performance. Early experiments included holding his breath until he passed out; eating young birch leaves (in imitation of fast-running deer, he explained); eating vast quantities of dandelions and garlic; and drinking a mixture of lemon juice and lane-marking chalk to keep up his vitamin C and calcium levels.”
While not all of his…erm…experiments succeeded, he did.
Just four years later, at 20 years old, he broke the national records at 2,000, 3,000 and 5,000 meters.
A little thing called World War Two got in the way, but he managed to win the 10,000m at the London Olympics in 1948, and came second in the 5,000m.
For most runners, an Olympic gold medal is the crowning achievement of a career.
But Emil was just getting started.
The following year Zátopek broke the0,000m world record. Twice. Not satisfied, he went on to better his own record three times over the next four seasons. He also set world records in the 5,000 m, 20,000 m (twice), one-hour run (twice), 25,000 m (twice), and 30,000m (just once, slacker!).
Throughout this, his brutal interval workouts continued. It was almost all intervals, all the time. His willpower was legendary. He made his workouts harder on purpose, even carrying his wife on his shoulders when running sometimes, or wearing heavy shoes.
‘When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly develops in ways more than physical. Is it raining? That doesn’t matter. Am I tired? That doesn’t matter either. Willpower becomes no longer a problem.’
When asked about his tortured facial expressions, Zátopek is said to have replied that "It isn't gymnastics or figure skating, you know."
As a soldier, he used to jog on the spot on sentry duty. Yes, his day job was serving in the army, and it wasn’t a token position. He often trained at night after getting off from work, climbing the walls of the track to get in because it was locked (what’s your excuse, eh?).
Forced to remain indoors to do the laundry, he filled the bath with washing and jogged in it, barefoot, for two hours.
Discovering an extremely effective workout method, many would hide their secret from others.
Not Emil. He shared with others runners. He gave. He helped.
The size of his will was only eclipsed by the size of his heart.
Even his rivals loved him for his wit, humor, compassion and positivity.
In the 1952 Olympics, he was lagging behind early in the race.
Even during the last lap, he was fourth, and looked sorely beaten, his arms flapping around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.
But as the last half lap of the race approaches, you can see his will gather like a tsunami, gradually at first but quickly unstoppable.
In a burst of rage, nearly frothing at the mouth, round the last bend he burst forth, convulsing down the final straightaway to clear victory.
He had broken them.
The thing is, he wasn’t the fastest guy.
He had the slowest 1500m of the top competitors.
He had the slowest 800m.
He had the slowest sprint speed.
But he was the grittiest man to ever walk the face of this great green earth.
And on that day, it was enough. It was a world record.
A few minutes after he won the 5,000m, he was gifted with another gold, but this one wasn’t won by him.
It was won by his wife, Dana Zátopková. She was a javelin thrower, and threw 50m to win the gold medal.
Born together, gold together, old together.
Emil won the 10,000m as well. Another world record.
Three golds for the Zatopek family.
It wasn’t enough for Emil.
Fulfilling a quote of his, ‘One’s willpower increases with each task fulfilled.’, he decided to enter the marathon, an event he had never run.
Seeing as he had never ran a marathon before, his strategy was simple, and smart: he raced alongside Jim Peters, the British world-record holder at the time, and paced off of him. After a fast first fifteen kilometers, Zátopek asked the Englishman what he thought of the race thus far.
Truth be told, Peters was hurting, but he bluffed and told the Czech that the pace was "too slow," in an attempt to slip up Zátopek.
Being a marathon novice, Zátopek took him at face value, and simply accelerated.
Peters did not finish.
Zátopek won the race by two full minutes and set an Olympic record.
Four years later in 1956, Zátopek attempted to defend his marathon gold medal. However, he suffered a groin injury while training and was hospitalized for six weeks. He had a hernia. He resumed training the day after leaving hospital, but never quite regained his form.
He still finished sixth.
None other than Alain Mimoun, who had finished second to Zatopek in that 1952 5000m.
“Victory is great, but friendship is greater”
Emil set eighteen world records, but he never got big-headed or egotistical.
This is Ron Clarke. He set almost as many world records-seventeen, in fact-about a decade after Zatopek retired. But, he never won an Olympic medal. In 1964 he was upset by Billy Mills, and in 1968 the Olympics were at altitude in Mexico City.
To this day, he doesn’t remember the last lap of that race. Some suspect that heart was permanently damaged.
Zatopek invited Ron to Czechoslovakia, and as a parting gift he gave him his 1952 Olympic 10,000 m gold medal with the following words:
"Not out of friendship, but because you deserve it."
After all those gold medals, he was naturally a hero in his native country, and quite influential. He was an influential figure in the communist party. However, he supported the democratic wing, despite knowing full well what would happen to him.
He stood up for what he believed in, and after the 1968 protests known as the “Prague Spring” he was stripped of his rank and expelled from the army and the party.
He was removed from all important positions and forced to work in a string of menial manual labor positions. He was not allowed to see his friends or his wife for long periods of time.
He ran through a hernia, through the soviet winter in his army boots, in a bucket of laundry, and past the competition to multiple gold medals.
That finally broke him.
The pain of a run made his heart stronger, but the pain of losing his soulmate broke it.
Eventually, the ruling party deemed him not to be a threat, and let him return to his life and to his love.
In February 2013, the editors at Runner’s World magazine selected him as the Greatest Runner of All Time.
But, he was so much more than a runner.
He loved, he gave, he inspired and his legend lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world.
And it will continue to do so, as long as his story still gets told.
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I’m guessing you’re asking what marathon runners think about while running a marathon.
Mile 1- Get out of my way (zig zagging through a sea of people) No, really, get out of my way.
Mile 2-crap, gotta slow down.
Mile 3- yup, gotta slow down still. I’m not gonna bonk at mile 20.
Mile 4- aww yeah. Feeling good! I love this song. (Prancing along like it’s no big deal.
Mile 5-what do I want to eat after this!? I wonder where my fan club is. (As I pass someone with real bad form exaggerated arm swing) Buddy, simmer down. Watch some YouTube videos after this about form.
Mile 6-a timing may! I’m hitting a milestone! Oh wait, I still have to run 20 miles. The pace calculator kicks in in my head and I start figuring out my finish time.
Mile 7- snack time!!! Get those carbs! Oh yes gooey gel in a little packet. Oh dear God, please forgive me for littering! Someone will sweep that up, right!?
Mile 8–13- bam, half done. Yeah this is starting to feel crappy. My legs are starting to burn. It’s hot. I neeeeeeed water. How am I going to make it another 13.1 miles!?!?
Mile 14- ohhh sh@&! Why didn’t I try harder to go to the bathroom before I left!? Why were there porta potties every mile before this and now I can’t find one!? Bush!? Tree!? Where can I go!?
Mile 15- bathroom puhhhhlease!!
Mile 16- yesssaaaaaa!!! Crap! There’s a line! One more mile!!
Mile 17- ahhhhh! Finally!!!! No lines!!! Get in, get out. I wonder how people can just go and keep running?? That can’t be comfortable!
Mile 18–20- I’m. Sooooooo. Hungryyyyy. Sooooo. Hungry. Neeeeeeed. Foooood. Now.
Mile 20- here comes the Wall. Wait no, fight it. Fight it. Get it together. Eat a gel. Listen to the music. Distract yourself. 99 bottles of beer on the wall….
Mile 21-damn Wall. This really does feel like I literally ran into a wall. Everything. Hurts. Sooo. Bad. Nope. Nope. Nope. I feel great. Almost done.
Mile 22–4.2 miles to go. Oh wait. I suck at running tangents and my watch is telling me I’ve already ran 22.18 miles at the mile 22 mark. Crap. How’s this possible!? I tried so hard to run the best tangents! Palm to face. Crap.
Mile 23–24- now my watch is just lying to me. I’m not running this fast! I feel like I’m running at snail pace. How am I passing people!? Ehh ok. I just want my bed. F the medal. Gimme a swimming pool, a beer, a large pizza and s pillow.
Mile 25- yesssss crowds! This energy! Start kicking! You’re gonna make it!!! Bam! I’m so freaking cool. I didn’t die.
Mile 26- there’s the finish line! Wait, why is it still sooooooo far away!?!? Did I stop moving!? Is it moving farther away!?! Stop moving finish line!!!! Oh wait…I’m almost there. My watch said 26.2 long time ago! My watch says I’m done!!! Ok. Done. Thanks for the medal, but point me in the direction of the doughnuts.
A better question might be whether or not it would be possible for you.
For the vast majority of humanity, it would be impossible, no matter what type of training you did.
This is something needs not just one-in-a-million genetics for.
This is closer to one-in-a-billion genetics.
Kipchoge has incredible genetics-in 2003 he won the world 5000m championships, at the age of 18. That’s pretty amazing, but most impressive wasn’t what he had to do; it’s who he had to beat to accomplish it.
The greatest miler in history-four time world champion, double Olympic champion and still current 1500m, mile and 2000m world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj…
…as well as Kenenisa Bekele, eleven time world cross country champion, 5000m and 10000m world record holder, multi-Olympic and World championships gold medalist and 2:03 marathoner.
(EDIT: He ran 2:01:41 in the September 2019 Berlin Marathon last month, just two seconds off of the world record. Thanks Fabio for the update!)
He’s also widely regarded as one of the best ever.
Both are among the all time greats, and he beat them.
At. Eighteen. Years. Old.
But, talent isn’t enough.
Kipchoge is widely known in Kenya as one of the most professional and disciplined athletes they’ve ever had-how else could he have a career lasting almost two decades?
Many Kenyans train hard part of the year, but during the rainy season, do nothing. The roads are too washed out, they say. We cannot run like this, they say. There is no point in training, they say.
But Kipchoge doesn’t let the conditions distract him from his goals
Many Kenyans only run. They don’t believe in modern training methods that include strength training.
Kipchoge does. He’s not afraid to go against tradition.
That’s not just 1 in a billion genetics.
That’s also 1 in a billion work ethic and motivation.
Many Kenyans win 50,000 dollars or 100,000 dollars or more in a big city marathon, and just stop training. In Kenya that is a fortune. Win the New York, London, Boston or Dubai marathon and you are set for life. They buy a house or three and get fat.
That’s not Kipchoge. He doesn’t run for money, or fame, or titles.
He runs to show the world what is humanly possible.
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INCREASE YOUR STAMINA AND ENDURANCE
Sometime in the future, a distance you find challenging now will feel easy. When that happens, it means you’ve increased your running stamina. I’m not saying a marathon will ever feel easy, but one day you’ll look back and notice that what you find challenging now will come much easier. An increase in running stamina comes from consistency, that means running multiple times per week for multiple weeks to accumulate fitness – there are no quick fixes if you want to increase running stamina. It’s generally accepted that it takes 10 days to 4 weeks to benefit from a run. The time will depend on the type of run, quicker and more intense runs being on the lower end of the range with long steady runs being on the other higher end of the range.
Before you begin working on increasing your running stamina, you need to make an honest assessment of your current aerobic base and build on that. Whether you’re a new runner looking to complete their first 5k or an experienced runner looking to increase their stamina for the final stages of the marathon and avoid hitting the wall, the rule of ‘too much too soon’ always holds true, doing too much too soon only leads to injury or over training.
1. BE CONSISTENT
To increase your aerobic capacity and be able to run farther than you can now, you need to train consistently. Consistent training will build your aerobic base, increase your aerobic capacity (which is how much oxygen your muscles can use) and strengthen your muscles. When you begin to add extra runs to your week, they should be easy and slow – speed follows endurance! You should aim for 3 to 4 sessions per week for 30 minutes or more. Aim to make one of these sessions your long run where you plan to go farther than any of your other runs that week.
2. RUN LONG
To run farther, you’re going to have to actually run farther! Either increase your long run by 5 – 10 minutes or add 0.8 – 1.6 km (0.5 – 1 mile) each time – it might not sound like much but it begins to add up. When you get into a bigger volume of training for a half marathon or marathon, your long run should be roughly 30 – 50% of your total distance for the week. Do your long run at a slow and sustainable pace; many people try to run their long run too fast and struggle to finish strong. Go slow and just focus on covering the distance. Remember, speed follows endurance.
3. TEMPO RUNS
These runs are normally run over a shorter distance, but at a higher pace than at which you normally train. Training like this trains your body to clear lactic acid from the bloodstream quicker, which means you can run longer before fatigue and lactic acid builds up and slows you down. It will also make your easy running pace or planned race pace feel easier – these runs are the key to improving your running speed. Tempo runs should be a ‘comfortably hard’ pace that lasts from 20 – 40 minutes and up to 60 minutes for more advanced runners. They should not be an all-out effort that has you gasping for breath, but a challenging pace that you feel you can maintain over the duration of the run.
4. EAT FOR ENDURANCE
That means carbs! As a runner, you should focus on carbs making 55% – 65% of your calorie intake from carbs. You don’t need to eat a mountain of pasta at every meal, but be mindful of your carb intake to make sure it’s complimentary to your training. Before your long run, it’s key to have a carb-based meal to ensure you have enough energy to cover the distance. If you find yourself tired, in a low mood or unable to complete your planned runs, then increase your carbs. Always go for complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, brown rice and oatmeal instead of refined carbs and sugary foods that will spike your blood sugar (a spike is always followed by your blood sugar crashing).
The farther you run, the more you’re challenging yourself and therefore need to ensure your body is recovering between sessions. Good recovery comes from a good diet, stretching and sufficient sleep. Aim to eat a quality meal or snack of carbs and protein within 30 minutes after finishing your run. This is the optimal window of recovery where your body can best absorb the nutrients to refuel and recover with. Focusing on this will enable you to recover between sessions and go into each run feeling strong and able to complete it.
6. WORK ON YOUR RUNNING ECONOMY
Working on your running technique will make you a more efficient runner. If you run efficiently, you will be able to run farther without feeling as tired as you will use less energy. Good technique comes from running tall (imagine a string holding you up), ensuring your foot lands under your center of gravity and a cadence of around 170 – 180 steps per minute. If you have weight to lose, then losing extra weight will also help your running economy since you will be lighter.
7. MIND GAMES
Running farther than you ever have before can be daunting, but you can do it! Mentally preparing yourself for your longest run of the week will make it easier. Some ways to make a long run seem less daunting are to break it down to 1 mile at a time, or to treat it as 2 x a distance you can run easily, or 1x a distance you can do with a little bit more added on – a 10k with a slow 3k added on already sounds less scary than running 13k.
I hope this helps you increase your running stamina and help you run farther than before!
source : runtastic
Gotta give it to The Barkley Marathons.
This isn’t just a race that is physically and mentally challenging, its almost impossible for most people finish in the time allotted.
This race is truly and inconceivably insane. It’s no wonder so few people finish it.
I think it is the most challenging ultra in existence. If you just go by finishing numbers alone there is no competition. Badwater and the Marathon des Sables (challenging races that they are) can be completed with sheer dedication, and with enough gut wrenching discipline. The finishing rates for those races blow the Barkley out of the water.
This race is different.
The time limit is just too damn strict. If it weren’t for that, I’d say anyone with enough guts could do it. But, as it stands, this race is brutal with a capital B. Intentionally so. This is the race that truly does, as they say, “eat its young.”
It works almost every muscle in the body, but puts a huge emphasis on the quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. These are brutal, but a fast way to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
I like to do anywhere from 300m to 800m efforts.
You can choose a very steep hill of around 15–20% grade, or a slightly shallower slope of 4–10% grade. Both are awesome.
Once you select your enemy hill, run up it. Don’t be afraid to get up on your toes a little bit-that’s what they are made for. Especially if it’s a very steep hill, this is natural and normal.
Ideally, you want to find a hill that you can run up for 1–3 minutes before you get to the top. Try to pace yourself so that you run the entire length of the hill at roughly the same speed.
You don’t want to be dying halfway up, you want to be dying at the top.
When you get to the top, catch your breath.
If you are not completely out of breath, you didn’t try hard enough.
Jog back down. If you have a very generous friend or spouse, they can drive you back down to the bottom in a car, but this is a luxury that few have. I never did.
If you find that the impact of jogging downhill bothers your joints, no harm in walking-the interval is so intense that even a longer recovery is fine.
I like doing about 2000m–3000m worth of intervals total, but build up over time.
Do they work?
In a span of only 81 days, Henry Rono (right) broke four world records: 10,000m, 5000m, 3000m steeplechase, and 3000 meters; an achievement unparalleled in the history of distance running.
One day, in a bar at the University of Oregon several years after his career, Henry revealed the secret to his phenomenal running ability.
Intervals on the track? No.
Long runs? No.
Bosu ball 1 arm curls? No…
“Hills!” He shouted. “Any hill!”
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I know how tough it is to run for 1 hour.
At 2,189 miles, the Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world.
The Appalachian Mountains span from Georgia to Maine. From Springer Mountain in Chattahoochee National Forest to Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park, it passes through some of the roughest terrains.
If it were flat, walking the 2,189 miles would be a test for the best.
The Appalachian Trail weaves through 14 states, crosses alpine regions, dips through harsh lower environments and has tough rocky segments. With over 515,000 feet of ascent people attempting the hike have to devote five to seven months to complete.
Scott Jurek is an ultra runner and a remarkable athlete.
On May 27, 2015, Scott completed the entire Appalachian Trail in forty-six days, eight hours, and seven minutes, a new record. He averaged 47 miles per day.
If you had the stamina, at an average walking pace you would need to be on your feet for over sixteen hours every single day to complete it in the same time.
In 2010, Scott ran 165.7 miles in 24 hours, a U.S. record. His achievements don't stop there:
Scott Jurek is an incredible human specimen and an inspiration to all. So, I was surprised to find out his Appalachian Trail record had been broken.
In 2016, at 48 years old, Karl Meltzer ran the Appalachian Trail. For him it was 'third time lucky'.
He blasted over the line almost ten hours faster than Scott Jurek.
It is hard to comprehend the achievements of these ultra-runners, where differences between the fastest times are measured not in seconds, minutes but hours.
Once you get down past the top ten the difference is days and weeks.
Then along came Joe McConaughy.
In 2017, at 26 years of age, he beat Meltzer's record, setting a time of 45 days, 12 hours and 15 minutes.
Even more impressive is he completed the challenge self-supported, meaning he had no sponsors, crew or support. He relied on popping into towns to resupply his backpack with rations.
My jaw dropped when I heard of the latest record.
In 2018, along came Karel Sabbe (28), a Belgian dentist who smashed McConaughy’s record by over four days. Not minutes, not hours - four days!
Running an average of 53 miles each day.
He completed the trail in just 41 days, 7 hours and 39 minutes.
My girlfriend sent me a fascinating article today on the USA Women’s National Baseball Team.
Not softball. Baseball.
I was amazed that women played baseball at the highest level. As a lifelong baseball player, I’d literally never heard an inkling of such a thing, nor seen a girl older than nine on a baseball diamond. There was baseball for boys, and softball for girls. That’s just how it was.
So I immediately looked to YouTube for some game footage. It was baseball in every literal sense. But it was slower. Smaller. They were playing at the highest level of the game, and still using aluminum bats (usually banned at any level above collegiate) to get extra power.
How hard were they throwing? How far were they hitting the ball? I looked this up too.
The USA national team maxed out at 70 mph from the pitcher’s mound. Playing on short fields.
I throw harder than the best woman in the world. I hit routine fly balls that fly as far as their home runs.
I’m not some elite athlete. I’m a skinny seventeen year old who plays for a 2A high school team. There are thousands of better players than me in the U.S. alone. Any one of them would be the best female baseball player in the world.
The travel team that I played on when I was fifteen would mercy rule the women’s national team. The best players in the world would be demolished by a group of pubescent boys who could barely figure out how to turn on the hotel’s hot tub.
It suddenly made sense why men’s and women’s sports are separated.
I went out on a date with a guy I met on Tinder.
The meetup went pretty well. We discussed jobs, interests, family and people we met on Tinder.
Our chat soon meandered to sports.
“I run,” I confided to him. “I have been running in the last six years. I am currently taking a brief hiatus due to my anaemia.”
“Oh, I used to play sports too! I played hockey and football. Well, until I tore both my ACLs. I am now doing some bootcamp training. I also have a strong desire to cycle, but I need some friends to join me though, or I’ll die of boredom.”
I opened my mouth to encourage him to swim.
“Women should not be running though.”
My mouth stayed agape.
“It’s not good for them.”
I waited for an answer about biomechanics, gait or even injuries, anything intelligent he could say to redeem himself.
“It’s not good for long term lah! Women will have lots of problems in their old age if they pick up running as a workout.”
He stared at me, eyes wide and helpless.
I could actually feel blood pounding in my head.
“I beg to differ,” I asserted. “I have many female friends who are wonderful runners in their older years, and yet still remain active and injury-free.”
“Oh, so you beg to differ. That’s alright.” He stared into the crowd while sipping his juice.
That single conversation turned me off big time. How do people even come up with unsubstantiated claims about topics they are not even familiar with?
The best of “facts”, however, came from my own sex.
A close friend attributed my talent in running to my having a flatter chest compared to the rest of the womenfolk. She was not aware that my chest size actually reduced as a result of the running. I had to educate her about fat content in different body parts.
“Reduce your running, Ranjetta,” someone once told me in earnest. “Your womb might fall out from all that bouncing around.”
I had to educate her about the proper running form.
“Why are you even running, Ranjetta? You are scaring away all the guys. Who wants their women to be skinny?”
I did not know how to respond to that. Do I run my life for the benefit of the opposite sex? Some people do, apparently.
Ignorant people make terrible and negative assumptions about running, especially when it comes to women.
I do my best to educate people about the benefits of running for both men AND women, but then I am occasionally pulled into a conversation that reminds me that I have much work to do in encouraging people, especially women, to lace up and blaze a trail.
Thanks for the A2A,.
Great question! I think the answer is “Yes, a half marathon is a healthier running distance than a full marathon”. Why? Because the half-marathon is a physiologically ideal distance for a fast run, whereas a marathon is a perfect set-up for failure. Here’s what I mean by that:
I’ve raced and placed well in both marathons and half marathons as well as 5K’s. The half marathon is a very healthy distance for an endurance race, in many ways much healthier than a marathon. A half marathon can give you all the benefits of distance/endurance running without the rather brutal physical toll of a full marathon, and more rewards than a shorter distance like a 5K.
A full marathon is an especially difficult distance for the human body because humans running fast tend to fully deplete glycogen levels somewhere around the 20-mile mark (not to mention electrolytes etc.). Even if you stay within your lactic threshold, it’s very difficult to fuel for more than 20 miles, especially if you’re running hard and pushing the pace. The full marathon is a punishing test of your ability to deplete glycogen and still keep running. When you exhaust your natural glycogen stores (which will be when you “hit the wall”) then your body will have to start breaking itself down in order to keep running. You will be digesting yourself (instead of stored energy) until you stop running. When I raced my first major marathon, I finished well (4th in my age group) but I couldn’t run without significant general pain for about 5 weeks. That’s a lot more than mere muscle soreness. This is why you don’t see professional marathoners racing back-to-back marathons in most cases. They often train for one or two a season because the recovery can take a long time.
(Me hitting the wall in a marathon)
A half marathon, and anything less, is not likely to deplete your glycogen levels if you have fueled properly before the race. It will be more a test of your lactic threshold (your endurance fitness). If you exceed your lactic threshold, you can recover within a couple days.
You might be thinking, “Wait a second, I know lots of people who have finished a marathon and they never “hit the wall” as you described.”
If you run a marathon or longer distances more slowly, you can eat along the way and process new energy/electrolytes before you fully deplete. This is what ultra-runners do. You can’t run 50 miles non-stop without slowing your pace down and also taking in a whole lot of quick-energy calories, salt, etc., which will help fuel you after mile 20. If you’re running a 5-hour marathon, you’re going to slow-burn more forms of energy (fat, protein) and you’ll have time to replenish glycogen levels in your body before you get to miles 20–26. But if you’re running a 3-hour marathon, you’re likely to exceed the “quick” energy your body can process and store.
Before you nutritionists jump all over me, I know I’m oversimplifying this and I know there are a lot of additional factors (training, ketosis, genetics, nutrition strategies, etc.) but I stand by my point that a half marathon is more within the human body’s fast running parameters than a full marathon.
If you get in shape, and all else equal (no overuse injuries etc.), a half-marathon is a terrific endurance distance. It’s far enough to be really challenging, but it’s within the realm of how a human being is set up to normally run at lactic-threshold pushing speeds. For much longer distances, humans usually shift to much slower speeds. The marathon breaks both systems if you’re racing it.
Finally, the training for a half marathon is going to include a lot of 30–90 minute runs and fewer 120+-minute runs than training for a full. I’ve found that I can much more reasonably train for a good half marathon performance without the obsessiveness required for a full. In other words, you can reasonably train for a half marathon and still have a life.
Whatever the distance, run happy!
It’s simple. Poor form.
Running is a skill, like anything else. If you do it wrong, you risk injury.
Any healthy person can run. Running is FREE, and requires no training! Right? Not exactly.
Why pay someone to teach us how to do something we already know how to do? We’ve been doing it since we were kids, right? The problem is, when we age we spend way more time walking than we do running. We end up learning the body mechanics of a walk, and we use those same mechanics to run. That’s incredibly problematic! When we walk, we stand up straight and we swing our feet out in front of us. We usually strike the ground first with our heels in front of our torso. That works fine if there’s little to no pressure on your feet, as is the case when you walk. You’re not striking the ground hard enough to do any damage. But it’s bad to run that way because it puts a lot of pressure on your knees. You are effectively hyperextending, or doing what runners call “over striding.”
Over striding on the left, proper form on the right. Graphic borrowed fromweb site.
Runners who have been trained properly know that we should strike the ground MID-FOOT, and under our torso so that our legs and knees can act as shock absorbers. Running should be a controlled forward fall. I learned a lot from one very short, simple drill. Stand up straight, then lean forward until you must move one foot forward to catch yourself. Then, continue. To run faster, lean farther forward. Always try to strike the ground with the mid-foot, and NOT the heel.
Runners who have been properly trained with good form rarely suffer injuries.
Oh, and one more thing I find truly interesting. Watch a child run. You’ll see that they run with proper form instinctively. We learn bad running form as we age. That’s why so many adults suffer injuries from running, and children rarely do.
I will answer your question by degrees….
I went to USMC OCS when I was 21 years old, between my junior and senior years of college. Since I was in Navy ROTC, I attended the six week “Bulldog” course at Quantico. There were three platoons in Golf Company (2nd Increment) that summer, with a total of around 100 candidates or so if I recall correctly.
I had - of course - been training diligently along with my classmates in preparation, and we were under no illusions that it would be in any way, shape, or form “easy”. This was all done in Seattle, on my home ground at the University of Washington. The spring and summer weather there is very mild, with the early summer temperatures rarely any higher than somewhere in the 70s.
The first couple of days at OCS were devoted to admin stuff, such as medical screening, organizing into platoons, and other routine things.
The first actual training day was a Saturday. The first training event was a company formation run. Now, on paper that looked pretty non-threatening. Every single “formation run” in my experience before that was essentially an easy jog.
So, we were in formation on a hot mid-July mid-day in Quantico, about 50 yard from the Potomac river. I was drenched with sweat just standing still. I know the weather was ‘legal’ for training (else we would not have been training outdoors) but it felt to my Northwest born-and-bred bones like I was in a soup kettle, drained of all strength and energy.
The company commander (a Major) gave the commands that got us pointed in the right direction, commanded “forward, march”, then doubletime march”…. and then that “old man”, took off like a f**cking jackrabbit, and we were exhorted to keep up by our platoon instructors AND stay in formation. I KNEW INSTANTLY THAT I WAS IN DEEP, DEEP TROUBLE.
Despite my running at what I thought of as “100%”, I had trouble keeping up. I had been training in VERY mild and VERY comfortable conditions… the heat was simply kicking my butt… or so I thought.
A handful of the Sergeants Instructor and Platoon Sergeants were in the rear to put boots up the asses of any candidate who dared to lag behind.
The Gunny’s acerbic comment that I should have trained before I showed up was a real eye opener. He also pointed out that if I did not get back into formation I was finished (he said it unkindly).
I put it into burner, caught back up, and gutted it out. I set a new (for that day) personal record for “this sucks” on that run. And reset my personal best many times over the next several weeks.
The actual problem was not the heat, it was my mind.
So, the direct answer to your question is to think of it like this: The runs are faster then you showed up prepared for.
Technically, if you show up prepared to run an 18-minute 3 mile pace during every run, you will probably feel pretty comfortable… on the formation runs. On any graded individual event, you will be going at your level best, whatever that is. If the “slow” runs at OCS amount to a dead sprint for you, it’s simply going to hurt a lot. Until graduation, or you die, or you get dropped, or you quit. Since I am a stumpy-legged, heavier set sort of guy, it just sucked. A lot.
My advice to you if you are contemplating OCS: Learn to love running and be reasonably good at it, or at least tolerate it for extended periods. There is an unofficial but very real ethos among Marine officers that running is like breathing - you should be doing it all the time. It’s reminiscent of a religion.
For comparison: When I was 19, 20, 21 years old, my best USMC PFT run (3 miles) was timed at 18:06 (the high water mark of my land speed efforts… it just got slower from there on). I was in the just around 19 minute league for quite a while, which for the Marine candidate crowd was average at best.
Train smart, and as hard as you think you can. And then train harder. And then understand that no matter how well prepared you are… you will be challenged to exceed that.
Best of Luck,
Colonel, USMC (Retired)
I did this, not for just a few days but for 238 days In a row. I ran across the US in one of the longest distances recorded. While most who run across the US choose the shortest distance, around 3,100 miles, my route was a network of trails and back roads collectively called the American Discovery Trail. I ran alone and without vehicle support for all but two weeks in the desert where towns are up to 110 miles apart. While I know this run wasn't a race or a sanctioned marathon, many days I was running much more than a marathon. 32 miles was about the standard distance between towns with services where I could find a meal and perhaps a motel. Some days I had to go 45 miles or more.
What was interesting to me and what I think contributes to answering your question is that while I fully expected to have my body break down over the eight months of running nearly 5,000 miles, quite the opposite actually happened.
If you are mechanically sound, and if you have the luxury of time to acclimate, starting slowly and building up your milage allows your body to do unthinkable things.
When I started this run in Delaware in 1998, headed to California, I had spent so much time preparing maps, mailing shoes ahead to post offices and other preparations that I didn't have time to train beforehand.
So while I crossed Delaware and Maryland (on the C&O Canal towpath), I used the 15/5 method: running 15 min and walking 5. In fact, many marathoners and even ultra marathoners use this technique in races.
By the time I got to Nevada 3,800 miles later I could wake up, put down a big bfast, run 20 miles, eat some Pringles, and run 20 more miles and feel fine at dinner, ready to do it all again the next day.
Recently, and even as I write this, there are people doing Transcon runs with daily averages of 60+ miles per day.
Dont sell the human body short, it's capable of some amazing endurance.
0: I woke up 3 hours early to hydrate, caffeinate and defecate to be standing in sub-freezing temperatures on my 39th birthday waiting 45 minutes for the starting gun of my first marathon.
0: Still in the starting paddock; just with more people. Still cold.
1: Just got past all the shuffling and starting to jog a bit.
2: Hitting my pace but it is still freezing out here…
3: That’s 3 miles done. That’s almost 5km. That’s more than 10% finished!
4: Remember to hydrate. Drink plenty.
5: I’ve gotta pee!!!
6: I’ve gotta pee again!!!
7: OK, I’m warm, I don’t need to pee and my pace is good! And this is 33% complete.
8: Wow, this is well organized and well supported. Look at all the people!
9: Shit, this is fun! All of us running and chatting and having FUN!
10: Lungs good, legs good, all good.
11: A band! There’s a band!
12: Pace good. Heart rate good. All good.
13.1: That’s the half done! That’s a good pace; I’m a running machine. I can do this!
14: Where has everyone gone? Those lazy SOBs were only doing the half - no wonder they were so chipper.
15: Not many spectators watching the back half… Maybe I took a wrong turn.
16: People have finished this thing. Some skinny guy has crossed the finish line and I still have more than 10 miles to go.
17: 17 is a prime number.
18: Are we there yet? well at least my pace is still looking good.
19: 19 is also a prime number. 17 and 19 are twin primes. The next twin primes are 29 and 31. I don’t have to run that far.
20: Someone said marathons only start after mile 20. This isn’t that bad. I’m a runner. Runners run marathons. That’s what we do.
21: Whoot whoot: that’s the farthest I’ve ever run.
22: Oh Christ this is a fuck up! I look like a new born giraffe and feel like something has splintered both my legs. I’m not running anymore. I don’t think I’ll ever run again.
23: I’m running again. I have 3 miles to run. Who can’t run 3 miles. That’s a park run. I’ve got this. I don’t have this. I’m not running. I’m not really walking.
24: Fuck gels, fuck gummies, fuck water. I’m having a beer. At best it alleviates my pain; at worst I cough up foam for the next 2 miles.
(That’s the beer on the left frame)
25: I can hear the celebrations at the end. Spectators no longer make eye contact with me out of shame for my situation.
26.22: I’m done! I’m going to sit here on the finish line and wait for the crowds to clear so that my wife can drive the car right up to me.
After mile 26.22: Beer time!
Thanks Columbus, OH.
Not unless you get very, very unlucky, as I did. A typical PT run is around 3 miles, 50% further than your 2 mile run PT test. Maybe once a week you would run 5 miles, and the speed was controlled by splitting the soldiers into running groups, with A, B, C, &, D groups, with D mostly being remedial for guys who failed or came close to failing the run segment of the APFT.
When I arrived at my AIT duty station about 3 days after intake a baseline PT test was administered. A lot of times the drills would give you a bit (as in microscopic) of respect if you maxed or came close to maxing your PT test, so I tried hard, which was a mistake.
The next day I was woken up an hour before anyone else by a student who was a few weeks from graduation. He poked me and said “get up, it's time for PT”. I was confused because it was 0420 in the morning and nobody but me and this kid appeared to be getting ready for PT. As I was trying to figure out what was going on we emerged outside and lo and behold there was DS Klingan and four privates who were further along in class.
He filed us by a CONEX and we each retrieved a rubber ducky (fake M-16 that weighs considerably more than the real deal) and we started to run, and run, and run. Somewhere in the middle of a training area in the woods I started vomiting, at which point the other privates had to run circles around me until I finished, and then we ran.
Turned out that DS Klingan was a member of the US Army Olympic Marathon team. As he was unable to get in an adequate workout he was given permission to select a group of the fastest privates and establish a “Turbo” group.
That early wakeup was 4 days a week for the next six months. We ran a half marathon every other morning and once every two weeks he would get us up two hours early instead of one and we would run a full marathon of 26.2 miles. I ended up with the running bug and kept at it for the rest of my adult life until being badly injured in a malpractice incident 5 years ago.
I started my AIT at 165lbs with max pushup, max run, and near max situps. I left my AIT after six months at 149lbs smoking the run by multiple minutes but barely passing my situps and push-ups. Oddly enough 16lbs is the exact weight of the GD rubber ducky.
It was not possible to eat enough with the limited time we were given to keep up with the calorie demands of a competition marathon training regime, and as a result my legs ate my upper body, literally.
I couldn't fit my legs into my civilian pants they would not pull up past my thighs. However my body fat was so low and my torso so emaciated from running my girlfriend's mother asked “What did they do to Thomas? He looks like he has HIV/AIDS.” at my graduation ceremony. I can't really blame her, at 6′ carrying only 149 lbs, most of it in your legs, you basically look like you have AIDS, sharp cheekbones, sunken eyes, and all.
Even in special operations units it is highly unlikely that you will have to run more than 3–5 miles for your daily PT routine, even in training. More than that on a constant basis is destructive to other critical areas of performance, like upper body strength, and raises the risk of injury for no marginal benefit.
Unless you get unlucky, like I did, then you will run like it is the Savanna and you are chasing your last meal.
1. Breakfast IS NOT the most important meal of the day. I trained for a marathon in the mornings and ran for several hours at a time - without eating breakfast. Fat is the body’s ‘natural’ and preferred source of energy - not carbs or proteins - and this was what ‘fueled’ me on most of my runs.
2. Life is quite simple. Whether it’s running a marathon or going for a 10 minute run, it doesn’t matter. What it comes down to is putting one foot in front of the other.
Showing up. Getting Started. Doing the work.
It’s that simple. This concept applies to ANYTHING you want to accomplish in life. Break down your goals into the smallest steps possible and just keep taking those steps until you get to where you want to be.
3. Consistency. As long as you keep showing up and taking action, you will get better.
It’s a no brainer.
If you want to be a better writer, artist, musician, or athlete, show up and be consistent.
‘We are what we repeatedly do.’
4. Life is ALL a mental game. Your body and feet might be aching with pain as they bitch at you screaming at the top of their lungs telling you to stop and slow down, but if your mind refuses to listen, your body will continue to obey.
5. You only have as much energy as you use. The most productive period in my life was when I was training for the marathon. It could have been a coincidence but I highly doubt it when I reflect back.
When you can run for 3+ hours in one sitting, I think it would make it much easier to work for 3 hours straight as well.
6. People who love eating really should run (or do any other cardio intensive sport). As I was training for my marathon I was living in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a month and I would regularly visit the same restaurant to eat, especially after my longer runs.
I would go there and order 3 main meals along with a smoothie.
After several visits, a waitress advised how I shouldn’t keep eating like this because I would get fat.
Jokes on her, when I left Thailand, I hadn’t even gained a pound. My weight barely fluctuated because when you run a few hours each day…
You can eat A LOT.
7. Making a real commitment is POWERFUL. I’d always wanted to run a marathon but was never into running. I decided to stop saying I would one day run a marathon and just do it.
I found the next local marathon event online and signed up for it. On that day, I made a real commitment. I was going to finish that marathon no matter what. And that’s seriously all it took.
I found a training program, showed up and followed it to a tee because I was committed.
There was no backing out. In my mind I literally could not fathom any other alternative except seeing myself crossing that finish line.
8.Challenging yourself is important. I had so much confidence in the deep seated belief that I would finish the marathon no matter what… So I needed to make the goal more challenging.
When something is seemingly easy, I’m prone to slack off, so I set a goal of finishing the marathon in under 4 hours.
It was a pseudo-goal to help me reach my true goal of finishing the marathon.
I missed the 4 hour mark by 1 minute and 46 seconds but in the end I achieved my real goal!
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
- Bruce Lee
9. Prepare ahead of time and prepare for the worst. In preparing for my marathon, I signed up for a half marathon but didn’t realize that the trains weren’t running early in the morning on the day.
I just assumed they would be because it was a big event. Well I guess I made an ass of out myself…
I had to speed into the city in my car from the train station, find parking, and sign in when everyone had already left the starting line.
In hindsight, I should have prepared and double-checked on the logistics of how to get to the event much earlier - not the night before.
On top of this mishap…
On the day of the marathon, the GPS on my phone wouldn’t connect and I had no way to track how fast I was running or how many miles I’d run.
I did not expect this would be a problem at all but I should have prepared for a ‘worst’ case scenario.
10. Life is all about the process and the journey. Not the destination.
Throughout much of my training I kept questioning myself as to why I was doing all of this running for a ‘stupid’ marathon because I made a ‘stupid’ commitment.
As a result, the training sessions leading up to the marathon were a lot more dreadful than they needed to be.
I could have had a lot more fun and enjoyed myself more throughout the whole process if I had chosen instead to focus on the right things.
11. The Rain is AWESOME. Most people have been brainwashed into thinking that rainy, cold, and stormy weather is ‘bad’ weather but in reality, that’s just like your opinion, man.
Running in what some would consider the worst weather conditions is something I will never forget doing, I experienced a ton of joy and bliss from those stormy runs.
12. Being badass is subjective. I had to wake up and run at 5AM on weekdays to fit runs in before work. Doing this made me feel like an absolute bad ass - especially in the middle of winter.
Including everything else I managed to get done in the morning before work, I’d say I accomplished more than what most people do in a day, before they even woke up.
I was cruising in 6th gear when they hadn’t even fired up their engines.
That to me was pretty bad ass.
To others, that might seem like hell.
Procrastination, procrastination, procrastination…
If you have troubles with it, check out my free 7-step checklist in my bio
Simple-when you WIN, you don’t feel as tired.
For Kipchoge, running anything that started with 1:59…
Was a big WIN.
Take a look at this picture, and compare the winner to the second place finisher.
They both just ran their guts out for 26.2 miles, but I bet they feel totally differnet.
To a certain extent, tiredness is just a feeling. It comes from the body, but it’s an entirely mental feeling.
Winning ameliorates that feeling quite a bit.
I’m sure if Kipchoge ran 30 seconds slower, his body language would look very different!
Take a look at these WINNERS.
(not a marathon, but I don’t care!)
Don’t believe me? Here is him running 2 hours and 25 seconds last attempt:
Same distance, almost the same time…different feeling.
It literally floored him.
The second time, much different. The second time, he won.
Plus, his wife was there, and it was the first time she’d ever seen him race in person.
I’m sure that helped :)
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