Above: Elyse and Rick Amernick (fellow run coach) outside of the lululemon Logan Circle store.
I recently had a conversation with my friend and fellow run coach Rick Amernick, president of the Capital Striders Run Group, about the difficulty of choosing a fall marathon. He was trying to choose between the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, DC and the Baltimore Marathon. The right fall marathon is an agonizing decision that many runners go through. Many times, runners end up signing up for multiple marathons, unsure of which one to run. Marathons are an investment, with the average cost near $100. Typically most runners only have one or two competitive marathons in them a year, unlike a 5k in which you could comfortably race every other weekend.
When choosing a marathon, there is a lot to consider. The most important consideration for me is weather. What are the chances that the climate will be favorable to the race conditions that a runner prefers? Secondly, one has to consider amount of travel. I personally like to do my serious races away from home, so that I can spend time in my hotel room, where I can focus on the race and getting the proper rest. Next, one has to consider the course. Is this a race for the experience or one to achieve a personal record? Some runners like to look at other logistics, such as the post-race entertainment, the size of the field, or the course time limit.
This is the second year I have signed up for two fall marathon, but unlike last year, I will only be racing one. Last year, I ran a late October marathon, and did run the time I had hoped to achieve. I decided to run the second marathon, just a month later. It was a decision that I would not recommend for most runners. If your first marathon does not go as planned, I would advise that instead of rushing into a second marathon, you analyze what went wrong, and use your learnings to improve in your spring marathon.
Regardless of the time you race, you are still running 26.2 miles, which is strain on your body. This fall, I will pick one of the two marathons, dependent on when I reach my season peak in terms of fitness. I will then take some time to let my body recover, and then I will see you at Boston in the spring.