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Clinging on to fitness goals: why I've taken 'run a marathon' off my bucket list.

Running a marathon has been on my 'bucket list' for a long time but only this week did I realise that I've absolutely no desire to run a marathon. With Autumn being marathon season, my social media has been full of race-day buzz. It reminded me of when I was a 'proper runner'. I would do my long runs, my short runs, my hill sessions, my sprint sessions. One day, I vowed, I would train for and run a marathon. But I didn't. My life changed and my capacity changed and - more crucially - the things I enjoy doing as my exercise changed. But, despite that, the marathon goal stuck. So, this week, reflecting on the fact I still haven't done it, I felt a pang of...guilt. I should have done that by now. I should make a point of doing that within the next year, I told myself. Now, I've learned enough about myself over the past few years to question when things are driven by "should", so I asked myself why running a marathon remains a goal. Here is what I was able to come up with:

Because part of me feels like I am letting old me down by not running a marathon.

Because two of my sisters and many of my friends have run a marathon, and I feel like I ought to, too.

Because lots of people seem to regard running a marathon as a worthy goal.

That's it. Look, these are not good reasons to want run a fucking marathon. I don't actually want to train for and run 26.2 miles, I just feel like I should.

Have I fallen out of love with running? No. I enjoy it, still. But what I really enjoy nowadays and in this season of my life is an occasional 5km-ish. Sometimes I run quickly, sometimes I run slowly, but mainly I run as a means to get out by myself and to clear my head. And when I don't fancy a run, a walk serves me just as well. I am in a happy position where I can take it or leave it - words I never thought I would type! So, running a marathon is finally off my bucket list. I applaud all the marathon runners; your dedication, determination and endurance. I will like your photos and cheer you on in complete awe. But I am at ease now in saying "That is not for me." Tell me: are you clinging onto goals which no longer serve you, or are driven by 'should'? Or have you done this in the past.

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4 comentários

I definitely recognise feeling like I "should" run - it's aerobic exercise, it's free, it's outdoors. I trained for and ran a half marathon in 2017, 18 months after my youngest was born, because it seemed like a good challenge to "get fit" after pregnancy and childbirth. But I just find running a bit boring, and doing anything above 5k-ish takes a good chunk of time which can be tricky to fit into life when parenting small children. I'm starting to feel ok with enjoying an occasional short run and finding other types of exercise that suit me better at the moment. Maybe I'll do a 10k or another half marathon one day, but I doubt it!

07 de out. de 2021
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And I applaud that! It’s amazing the stuff I look back on and think “Why were you doing that when you had a young baby?!” It’s like you can only see clearly when you have hindsight!

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