Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Marathons Make You Slower?!?!

When googling marathons make you slower,  you may come up with the following

- can hill running make you faster?
- a 12-week training program
- Faster Marathon - How to Run a Faster Marathon

But what it does not tell you is that post marathon, when you go back to run, you may be unpleasantly surprised....Sure you expect to feel tired, sore and fatigued after the marathon. You even expect your first run to be pretty crappy but you figure that will wear off right?  And then it does, you no longer feel tired or sore, but something still is not right.  And what is it? It is your speed or lack thereof.  Because apparently 16 days post marathon, the speed I once had is pretty much gone.  Where did it go?  Well, to the marathon of course.

Case in point, this morning I got the treadmill to do 5 miles.  I was told to do one mile slow, two faster, two even faster. Ok, five miles. In June, I was in a five mile race and did it 37:04 (which is way fast for me).  I was hitting 7:14s on the Garmin and there were HILLs and I was flying high.  Today, I started at an 8:00 pace and at the fourth mile when I got down to 7:47,  I was ready to go flying right OFF the treadmill (and 7:47 should not be such a hard pace for me).  My mind remembers that I could do this type of speed but apparently my legs do not.

Here I am running fast and uphill for that matter!!

So what happened?  I wanted to quote some scientific article for you here explaining how marathons make you slower, but I can't seem to find one.  All I seem to have is basic word of mouth (a.k.a what I hear from other bloggers and runners).  And what I hear is this - marathons make you slower!  You are going for distance and ultimately that means you have to SLOW down, which in turn teaches your legs to go slower and not faster.  You may get the marathon time you want (yayy 4:07 MCM forever, sorry shameless plug) but you may be unhappy about what comes after - high 7s average pace for a five mile run.

At one point, this change in time would have upset me more.  I would have been really PISSED that I was not going as fast especially since I knew that at one point I could do better.  And I am not saying I am thrilled about the situation, but I also know it is not THAT big of deal.   Running has become so much more to me than just a time.  Getting out there, trying my best, and having fun with my favorite running buddy means so much more than 2 minutes on a 5 mile run.  Sure, don't get me wrong, I want to push it, I want that high of rocking a PR, and I do not smile when the time is not what I want it to be, but then again, I am still smiling (I know I am making sense now right?). Because I am getting out there and I am loving every minute of it.  I wanted to run a marathon and it made me slower, for now, but I would not trade that for the world.  

Yup thats right  I am running a marathon!

So, next marathon (spring 2012) watch out! I am going to be building up my speed and distance to kick your butt because sub-4 I know I have it in me some day, somewhere :)

Did you slow down after you ran a marathon? Don't tell me I am the only one please!

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