If you’ve ever run before you know there are basically two types of races. Sprinting and distance. Sprinting generally consists of anything up to a quarter mile and distance races start at over a mile. The half mile and mile are combination of sprinting and distance and for truly special people. We’ll focus on true sprinting and distance here. Just in case you’ve never run, a quarter mile is one lap around your standard track. It may seem like a long ways but in the grand scheme of running it’s not that long at all which is why it’s still considered a sprint.
Finding love is similar. You can either sprint or you can do distance. It’s impossible to do both. You have to decide if you want to sprint or run distance. If you’re going to do distance in love you might as well go all in and be a Marathoner as there’s no greater running achievement than a Marathon. Sure, there are things like Ironwoman events and Ultimate Marathons but those are for people that normal things don’t excite them. The people that do those are outliers. No need to compare yourself to those people at the moment.
The reality is running sprints is more exciting. You do more of them on a regular basis and there’s instant gratification because they’re shorter. You could easily run sprints every week if you wanted and enjoy doing it. You simply show up on a regular basis, feel the adrenaline the entire time, and have the instant gratification in a very short period of time. You can run a different track every week if you want. There’s tracks all over the place for you to go run any sprint you want. Almost every school has a track where you can go run a sprint if you want to. It doesn’t take much effort at all.
No matter your skill level you could technically get off your couch and go run a sprint. Sure, it might not be very fast and you might be super winded but you can finish and feel like you accomplished something almost immediately. A marathon is COMPLETELY different than a sprint. If you haven’t planned and trained it’s IMPOSSIBLE to run a marathon. You might be able to walk a marathon but even that would be really tough with no planning or training. You can walk a quarter mile in under 4 minutes but it would take 7-8 HOURS to walk a marathon. That’s a considerable difference. You’re not waking up one day and just going to finish 26.2 miles on a whim.
It’s the same thing with finding a long term mate and getting married. Consider getting married the equivalent to running 26.2 miles. If you really want to run a Marathon over just doing some “sprints” here and there you have to start planning well in advance of the big day. You can’t just go over to the school in your neighborhood and do a Marathon. You have to find an organized race. Most major cities do a Marathon every year but they’re at different times. They have different course elevations as well. Even if you want to go for 26.2 miles you have to put lots of thought into location, time of year, and the difficulty of the course. That’s just to register so you can figure out where and when to show up. It’s a lot like deciding on the factors you want in a man if you’re serious about a long term mate.
Once you decide on where you’re going to do your Marathon you start planning for it. There’s a build up to it. You go get proper shoes and attire if you don’t already have it. You look at nutrition and how you’re going to “fuel” yourself along the way. You look at a running plan which lays out daily runs for 4-5 months so you can build up to finishing 26.2 miles. That’s a lot of work for just registering and planning. This isn’t a sprint at all.
Once you’ve planned for the Marathon the real work starts. Make no mistake its real work and where most people fail in their goals. Registering and planning are minimal compared to the actual work it takes to properly train for a marathon. For 4-5 months you’re going to have 4-5 runs a week. More than likely your weekly long run will be on Saturday morning which means your Friday night will be spent resting. Once you hit the 13 mile mark on your weekly long runs its likely the rest of your weekend is low key because you’ll be recovering from your training runs. That’s 4-5 months you’ll have every weekend committed to this goal. You don’t need this commitment when sprinting. You just live off the adrenaline and excitement whenever you decide to go run.
Running a Marathon at a 10 minute per mile pace will take a little under 4.5 hours. That’s a pretty decent pace for most people and it’s still a REALLY LONG time to run without stopping. Think about how much you might hate driving for 4.5 hours. A Marathon is physically running for that period of time which is a LOT of effort. It takes a LOT of time and effort over those 4-5 months to be able to run constantly for 4.5 hours. It’s not fun effort either. It’s a lot of miserable effort because there’s no instant reward when you’re done. You’ll reach a point where you’ll spend multiple Saturday mornings running over 2 hours with zero reward other than knowing you’re building towards you goal of a Marathon. Over 2 hours of constant running for no immediate reward. You’ll actually be suffering lots of pain as you build your miles. It’s really not enjoyable. There will be a Saturday or two where you’ll run around 4 hours just training to run 26.2 miles. Those training runs are pretty miserable because there’s no medal or crowd when you’re done. Just your own personal satisfaction you’re building towards a really awesome goal.
The big day will come though and there will be crowds and excitement. There will be music, decorations, and mementos. When you cross the finish line you’ll even get a medal which will be something that will stand for eternity that you ran 26.2 miles which is really awesome. The elation you’ll feel at the end of the race for all of your hard work will be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever feel in your life. There’s no sprint you can do that will come close to the reward of running a marathon. That 4-5 months of work and sacrifice with no immediate reward will all be worth it. It really will.
Getting married is a similar exercise. It takes deciding what you want, figuring out a plan, and going after that plan with a slow methodical build over a long period of time. Take the time to really get to know that person underneath what you see on the surface. Ask questions that are important to you to make sure they match up with what you want. When you train for a marathon you often run at a slower pace than you intend to run the marathon in. Dating to get married should be the same. It’s okay to take things slow in how often you see each other and how physical you are early in the relationship. Those things that tend to burn the hottest the soonest tend to flame out sooner than later. Lust and love are two different things. Lust is sprinting while true love is distance. If it’s meant to be both sides will be committed to seeing each other over a longer period of time and taking things slow from a physical standpoint.
Every Marathoner will tell you they had setbacks on their training runs but they stayed committed. They’ll tell you they had no clue how they’d run 6, 10, 15, and 20 miles on their long training runs. There were LOTS of days they wanted to quit but they were committed to their goal so they stuck to it. They’ll tell you they’re glad they did because the final goal was all worth it. Dating for the long term will be the exact same. You’ll have LOTS of days you wonder if you should quit but if you’re committed to your goal you’ll see it through. You’ll give that other person chances and realize you have to work together towards your committed goal of that big day where you’ll celebrate all of the work. Dating for the long term just like training for a Marathon doesn’t just fall in place with minimal effort on your end. It’s a serious commitment you have to see through.
It’s totally okay if you’re not really interested in putting in the work to run a Marathon. It’s not for everyone and running sprints is a lot easier. It’s a lot more fun because the gratification happens a lot faster. At some point you’ll realize running sprints on the same track gets boring and you’ll want to move to a different track. You’ll also find the gates to your favorite track will be locked. You’ll be hurt you can’t run on that track at the moment and have to find a new track even though you don’t know where to look. You may even have a day where you see lots of people running on your track and you can’t have your fun. You’ll move on eventually to a different track because running sprints is easy and there’s lots of places to do it. You’ll forgot all about that old track in no time.
The reward between running a quarter mile and 26.2 miles really can’t be measured. Anyone can run a sprint virtually anytime they want. Running a Marathon requires a lot more work involving boring moments with no visible reward. Once that big day comes and you see everyone celebrating with that medal to show the reward for your work you’ll have a smile that will never leave your face. There’s nothing in this world more rewarding than completing a goal you worked hard for. Rather it be your wedding day or completing 26.2 miles you’ll never experience the same excitement after any kind of sprint. You’ll start finding sprints as kind of empty and enjoy long runs much more.
The choice to be a sprinter or Marathoner is up to you. The question you must truly ask yourself is if you’re willing to put forth the effort and sacrifice that’s needed to take the time to build to 26.2 miles. You’re not getting off the couch and doing it and you’re actually not doing it in a week or ever a month. It takes months of work with no immediate reward. Are you up for that challenge to run 26.2 miles?
26.2 miles sits outside of the Vortex where sprinting is having fun inside of the Vortex. Either one is fine but just be aware what you’re doing. The choice is yours!