The best approach to running a marathon?

On Sunday I enjoyed the opportunity to run a few kilometers with a “Legend” of long distance trail running: Scott Jurek. In the evening, I spent a moment visiting his official website, interested by great reports and beautiful pics. But also, hoping to “learn” something and enrich my approach to running.

Of course this guy is a champion and I’m not (and notwithstanding all the respect I owe you, I guess you are not either if you read this humble blog…). Of course this champion is an ultra-distance runner and I’m not (but, related to my usual training mileage, a marathon is already an ultra-distance race for me!).

However, I guess I got something. Something obvious but something we (I guess that I’m not the only one…) might sometimes lose sight of during our marathon quest: PLEASURE.

Scott Jurek runs for his living. It’s his job, his “office”. It’s not a hobby as it is for most of us. Of course, it brings him many advantages that we’ll never enjoy in terms of time availability and material support. But I guess it also comes with a lot of “external” pressure for results, kind of pressure that can easily alter freedom and pleasure to run. However it doesn’t seem so for Scott Jurek. While smiling and talking to us on Sunday, or reporting about his races on his website, he shines with a true joy of running.

As “recreational” runners, we are blessed because we don’t have to endure “external” pressure. The only pressure we must carry is the one we choose to put on ourselves: our motivation.

So, here is my point: I believe the best approach to running a marathon lies in having a motivation that respects our pleasure to run now.

I’ll write more about this idea soon 🙂

(c) vo2.fr

4 thoughts on “The best approach to running a marathon?

  1. Good post! Yeah I definitely agree with this. Although for me, and it would seem with you too, our competition comes from within whatever level we are at. My joy comes from improvement and personal achievement. I think this gives us our motivation. However, to achieve these we have to run possibly when we don’t feel like it? Or when we feel under the weather ? I love it when I enjoy a run and God knows I love getting out on that road 8 times out of ten but don’t we have to also do it on the rare occasions when it doesn’t really suit our mood?

    • Of course, even if your motivation matches what gives you pleasure in running, there will be bad days. It cannot be always perfectly pleasant. And you need not so good days to really appreciate the others! If you go running with pleasure 8 times out of 10, this is not bad, right? 🙂
      If it falls down to 6/10 or even less, then maybe a change in your approach to running should be considered…

  2. I agree with you that the best way to run is to derive some enjoyment out of it. But the great thing about running is that it can tease out such a wide array of emotions from people. Running intensely and successfully can yield bliss and euphoria; injuries can draw out frustration and betrayal. At mile 23, I’m haunted by so many demons that it makes the sport feel transcendental and even cathartic.

    But then when you cross the finish line, you’re happy again. And you sign up for another one because experiencing all those feelings in the “short” span of 3-5 hours has no equal.

    • Thank you for your comment! You’re very right.
      But haven’t we already “won” when we toe the start line of the marathon? Marathon day can be painful, I agree. But isn’t it just the cherry on our piece of cake?
      Don’t you think that training for the marathon is more difficult if your motivation or your marathon objective doesn’t match what gives you real pleasure in your usual practice of running?

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