Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Law of Diminishing Returns

I sometimes wonder, only half-jokingly, what it would be like to be a full-time runner, with a sponsorship deal, and nothing to do but run and train. I am quite sure that I will never find out what I would be able to achieve under those circumstances. Recently, in training for my next marathon, I have been training in what I thought would be the next best way. I have been running seven days a week and building weekly mileage totals way beyond anything I have done before. Although I have gotten faster, there have been some big negatives.

For the first time since I started running, I have no days off. ZERO. That is not just physically exhausting, but mentally exhausting as well. The time off gave me a chance to recover and relax. Without that time, I am more tired than ever. Additionally, all this running gives me less time with my family. As much as I have selfishly been willing to carve out training time, even where no time was available, this time I realize it is too much. Had someone else pushed me to back off I would have resisted, now however the realization comes from within. For the first time since I started running, it feels like a chore; something else to be crossed off my “to do” list. So this is it. I will not be training as much for future races.

So why not back off now? This might be my only chance to get a time that gives me a shot at Boston. Although, I will probably be shut out of the race, I have to give it a shot. I know the next six weeks will continue to be difficult, particularly with Pesach (Passover) in the middle, but the end is in sight. Having come this far, I need to know whether I can break 3:20. With a reduction in training days and mileage, I might never get there again, so, reluctantly, I am in. The call this the law of diminishing returns. It is too late to turn back. I look forward to it being over.

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