Let me preface this article by stating unequivocally that I hate running. In fact, the last time I ran more than a couple of hundred feet at a time was probably sometime around 1999 or 2000 when I was in the Air Force and had to run for fitness testing. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is my tendency to acquire shin splints from partaking in the activity. So with that bit of trivia out of the way, you may be asking how I've come to the conclusion that I could, if I so desired, do a sub-four-hour marathon. Or you could just not care, but I'm going to tell you anyhow.
As most of you know, cycling is my sport of choice but with the weather we've had in the region this winter and the sudden onset of newinfantluenza in our house this past week, my available time for riding has been severely limited. In fact, I've all but scrapped my plans to do some road racing this year and will try to focus on training over the summer for cyclocross season which starts in September. At any rate, its been nearly 3 weeks since I've been on a bike and going on 2 weeks since I've been in the gym resulting in the loss of what little fitness I brought into 2010. When I do manage to go out and ride, I like to be out for 2 hours or more if I can, which generally results in being unavailable for 2.5 to 3 hours or more after you include preparing the bike, getting dressed and then cleaning up when its all done. Of late, this amount of free time has been difficult to come by as well as rather unpractical and guilt laden. Today I just needed to do something to get in a workout of some sort, to relieve some stress and to stress my cardiovascular system some. So I decided I'd go for a short run.
I decided on an out-and-back route which would total two miles and planned on being gone for 20 minutes or so. I also thought it would be good to take Tyson (our 70lb boxer dog) since he hasn't had much activity this winter either and was starting to look rather plump. Long story short, my two mile run took me 24 minutes, or 12 minute miles, or 5 miles per hour, a speed that was heavily canine restricted as Tyson decided several times that he was walking regardless of what I thought I was doing. When I returned home my legs hurt, but I still think I could have gone a little harder had the dog not been in tow. So if you weren't wondering about the title before, surely you are now, assuming you've actually read this far.
I have a simple five-step plan which almost anyone can follow to accomplish this goal:
- Never run for exercise again from this day forward. Its not fun and you don't enjoy it.
- Sign up for a marathon. It doesn't matter which one and it can be as early as next week since you won't be training for it.
- Leave the dog at home.
- The pace from your two mile run is too fast, so let's slow that down to 15 minute miles, or 4 miles per hour.
- After running approximately 15 miles (OR LESS!!!), call it a day (aka "finish"). Screw the "I told you so"s.
There you have it. Follow this plan and you are well on your way to entering and doing (not necessarily completing) a marathon. As for me, I'll be riding my bike. Or sitting on the couch collecting dust. Either way, you won't find me running as a form of exercise again. Ever. Unless its at a cyclocross.