Why Now Isn’t The Time for a Marathon

Now that I’ve completed seven half marathons, I’ve started to contemplate whether or not I feel ready to take my running to the next level – registering for, training for, and running a marathon.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I’d even consider running a marathon, especially in the days when I never imagined that running could become an integral part of my life.  I’ll admit, I’m very intimated by the idea of running a marathon, but nobody great ever achieved anything without taking risks and stepping outside of their comfort zone.  I never imagined that I could run a half marathon, but I put in the hard work and accomplished my goal.

Crossing the finish line of my first half marathon in January 2014 was one of the greatest senses of accomplishment that I've ever felt. Photo Credit: MarathonFoto

Crossing the finish line of my first half marathon in January 2014 was one of the greatest feelings of accomplishment that I’ve ever felt.
Photo Credit: MarathonFoto

Back in the fall and early winter, I considered the idea of registering for a marathon as a way to help keep me motivated during the postpartum period.  Since I like to use training for races as a way to help keep me motivated to work out, I thought that a new fitness challenge would be just the thing I needed in order to push myself out the door and work on getting my pre-baby body back.  I’ve been successfully keeping myself motivated by training for my upcoming half marathon in June, but late last year I thought I’d need something new to motivate myself.  Clearly, I was wrong about that.

Even though I contemplated entering the lotteries for the Chicago Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon, I ultimately decided that 2016 is not the year for a marathon for me.  There are three main reasons why I came to this decision.

  1. Time isn’t on my side right now.  I’ve shared on multiple occasions that, like most new moms, I’m struggling with fitting everything in on a daily basis, especially since returning to work last Monday.  I know from supporting Preston through his training to run the Disney World Marathon on two different occasions that marathon training takes a substantial amount of time, and time is simply something I don’t have a lot of right now.
  2. Although we have a BOB stroller, little man isn’t big enough for it yet, which means that I can’t take him out for my training runs with me.  Preston and I usually have to take turns working out, which significantly limits the amount of time that I have to work out.  Although I can do strength training at home, I can’t do my training runs at home since we don’t have a treadmill in our house.
  3. Registering for a fall marathon would mean that I’d have to devote a lot of summer weekends to long training runs.  We already have a lot on our 2016 calendar, particularly over the summer.  About half of our summer weekends are already filled with various activities and trips, and for this year I’d rather focus on enjoying our time as a family of three instead of worrying about when and how I’ll fit in training runs that take upwards of three hours to complete.

Just because I’ve come to the conclusion that a marathon isn’t for me this year doesn’t mean that a marathon is permanently off the table.  I just need to take things one day at a time and revisit the idea of running a marathon when its the right time for our family.

QOTD: What new challenge(s) are you currently considering undertaking?

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65 Responses to Why Now Isn’t The Time for a Marathon

  1. Jennifer says:

    All very solid reasons why 2016 is not the year of the marathon. When the time is right I look forward to following along and of course cheering (if MCM) 🙂

  2. You’re being realistic about marathon training and i think it’s smart of you. You definitely don’t want to be training when you don’t have the time bc it will just stress you out and make you not enjoy the process. Also, if you change your mind there are so many marathons you don’t have to lottery to get in!

  3. Lisa says:

    FYI babies can go in the Bob at 8 weeks old according to the Bob manual in case that helps

  4. You bring up some very valid reasons. I know it logically seems like running a marathon should be the next step in your running career but if it’s not the right time, it’s just simply not the right time.
    It would be really nice if when you do plan it, you have Preston there to run those long runs with you. It really helped when I had my husband by my side!

    Besides, I’d rather spend the summer playing with my new baby than running by myself…lol. Enjoy that!

  5. I agree with you–now is not the time for you! I’ve done 3 marathons, currently wrapping up training for #4, and when I reflect back, I cannot fathom the amount of time devoted to training for a marathon! Plus there’s all that mental preparation. Your time will come. For now, enjoy the little guy!

  6. Lesley says:

    All good reasons too. I don’t know if I’ll ever want to do a marathon. I’m already a physical mess after half marathons, and as you said, properly training for a full takes a lot of time. I know what my parents went through for their fulls, and I’d like to do other things with that time.

  7. Tia says:

    I love your perspective and ability to examine your situation for what it is. I’ve never trained for a marathon but just looking over the training plan, it takes A LOT of time. What you’re doing is working for you so stick with that. Maybe 2017 will be the year of the marathon for you, and that’s okay. I look forward to reading what happens next!

  8. Chaitali says:

    In addition to the time, it seems like both being a new mom and training for your first marathon take up a lot of mental resources. It makes sense to concentrate on being a new mom and time with your little one for now 🙂 Plus, you’re definitely staying active with half marathon training so it seems like you’ve got a good plan on the table for this year.

  9. Good decisions, don’t do it until you’re really ready. And another way to look at this is that with putting a marathon off for another year, that’s one more year to further develop as a runner 🙂

  10. Sounds like a smart decision. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fantasy of signing up for a marathon but there are a lot of realities that come with that decision too. I’m sure you will run a marathon, when the time is right for you.

  11. Great reasons to hold off on your first marathon! It definitely takes a LOT of time commitment and the training is pretty rigorous. I think you’re making the right decision. Enjoy that baby boy because this stage goes by so fast! You’ll know when it’s your time to train for and run your first marathon!

  12. Right now I’m just focused on not getting injured. Again. Or anymore.
    I was hoping to be in a place where I could consider a fall marathon, but now I’m not so sure. I’d just like to get through the three half marathons on my plate and take it from there.

  13. Marathon training is no joke if you do it well/properly. I see a lot of people skate through marathons without proper training and I cringe because it seems like many don’t respect the distance. Good for you for doing it on your own time. I did the same thing – waiting until I was ready. Plus the great thing is that marathons will always be there!

  14. I think keeping it all in perspective and making the right decision for you is the best way. For me, I likewise never imagined I’d fall in love with running after lacing up three years ago, or that I’d complete so many halfs. I decided to make this the marathon year (NYC in November) because last year I was able to complete the 9+1 to get in and race a lot on weekends, and this year I feel like even with SO MANY PLANS on summer weekends I will be able to commit to training properly for a 5-6 month period (stretching it out so I can build more slowly) – before, perhaps, things in my life change to the point where I have more personal obligations outside work than I do at 24/25, which could quite easily be the case a year or two from now.

  15. Running a marathon is like having a child: where there will never be a “perfect” time to do it, there will be a right time, when you are ready for it (or at least as ready as you will ever be!) and you have as much of the circumstances on your side as possible. Running a marathon and training for one is such an incredible experience, wait for it when you can get the most from it!

  16. I totally get this post! Last year I was so keen yet so injured to run my first marathon. This year, though I still want to run a full, right now it’s not on the table. It’s a lot to commit to and I need to make sure my little family is ready for that. I’m loving the half distance right now so I’m focusing on that and getting my speed back.

  17. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets says:

    It sounds like you’re making the right choice based on where you are in your life right now. I am taking the plunge to train for my first marathon this year and I know it will be challenging because of how time-consuming it is, but now is a good time for me because I still don’t have too much on my plate. The marathon distance will always be waiting for you when you’re ready! I look forward to following!

  18. I think you are totally right that running a marathon this year probably isn’t the best idea for where you are at. It will probably end up just stressing you out more – and marathon training is already stressful enough! There is always next year and the year after and the year after that :).

  19. I agree with you that now does not seem to be the time for you. Marathons and races will always be there but they grow up so fast and you don’t want to miss it!

  20. Ana says:

    That is an excellent choice! my son is 7 and I still struggle with spending time away from him for races and / or training. Our children are only babies for such a short time, and balancing time with them, work, and life is hard enough as it is, without adding the stress of Marathon Training.

    As long as you keep with the running, marathons will always be there! And as he gets older, he will learn to love running ( or being active) from seeing how much you enjoy it!

  21. I think you’re making a smart decision. I don’t have much more experience than you do, but the past year with my son has been incredibly crazy and I struggle with what you mentioned – fitting it all in. I’m training for a half marathon right now and while even that seems like a time crunch, it’s much more feasible for me at this stage in life.

  22. The biggest thing I learned about running a marathon is that you have to REALLY want to run a marathon. If you have any doubts, hesitations or questions, hold off. It will be there if and when you’re ready! In the meantime, you are doing an amazing job finding the balance in everything! Keep it up!

  23. krissy m. murphy says:

    Totally support your choice! 🙂 Marathons will be there when you are ready!
    Ironically, my thought process pushed me toward the opposite decision – I was not planning on running another marathon for a year or so, but with 14 under my belt, once I started running again, I realized that marathoning is “my thing” – so 26.2 for me in January!

  24. I think most moms would totally agree with your thinking. After my sister trained for her first marathon and the strain it put on the kids to fit it all in she said, guess 26.2 will just have to wait until the kids are older and driving themselves and I didn’t blame her a bit:)

  25. marstaples says:

    People often underestimate how time consuming a marathon can be so you’re wise to be realistic about it. Like you said, now may not be the time but you can always do it later. Enjoy the little one for now!

  26. I know this must have been a hard decision, but it sounds like it’s the right one for you! Even though I’m constantly upset about this running injury, I have to admit that I’m kind of relieved that I don’t need to spend all summer training for anything. It was so exhausting doing that last year and I’m looking forward to doing whatever I want and not having to fit in any long runs!

  27. natrunsfar says:

    The marathon will always be there. You are in such a special, precious time in your life and you should enjoy every minute. When my first baby was 8 month old I planned to run a marathon, and I couldn’t do it. I was exhausted from nursing, nighttime wakeups etc. etc.
    Training for a marathon is a lot of work! I love what you are doing right now – easing into things and taking it slow. Enjoy that sweet baby boy!!

  28. I totally get it! Running a full 5 months postpartum was HARD and I was WAY under trained, so i don’t recommend that route. Just don’t wait until the timing is TOO perfect, b/c honestly, it never will be. 2017 sounds good 🙂

  29. Marathon training is time consuming and all reasons are valid ones for not running one this year. When the time is right, you will know!!!

  30. You are making a wise decision! There will always be marathons to run, but only 1 first summer with your baby boy!
    When the right time comes you will do fabulous!

  31. irenejean says:

    Marathon training is rough, and in my case, recovering from the longer runs was also pretty time consuming. I can’t even imagine trying to take care of an infant after a long run!

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