January 19, 2015 // 10:10 AM

Don’t Underestimate Short Distance Running

Written by Scott Miller

The Garden Spot Village Marathon one of the best marathons in pennsylvania

You are a marathoner. Whether this is your first 13.1, your umpteenth 26.2, or you've done ultras, you are a marathoner. Many of you will admit that, but others - not so much.  I know, I know, "but I run slow" or "I just started" or "I walk sometimes, maybe a lot so I'm not really a runner”. If you lace up a pair of trainers and head out for multi-mile excursion, then you are a runner! The reason I say that is because you know things that only runners know.  Like the exhilaration of those first cold breaths on a frigid morning. Like the mental fortitude it takes sometimes to get yourself out the door and the consequential feeling of accomplishment once you're warmed up. Like the adrenaline and the excitement of the starting line surrounded by like-minded running enthusiasts. Yup, there’s no denying it. You're a runner.

Here's something us long distancer's need to watch out for. Let's call it "SDE", Short Distance Embarrassment. Someone will ask us if we've run and we'll say, "I only ran 3 miles." Do you know how insane the idea of running 3 miles is to the vast majority of people in this world? They think we're nuts! Do you know how many people couldn't run 3 miles to save their lives? Most! We'll not only say "I only ran 3 miles," but we feel guilty about it!! Like we left something on the table or we didn't perform up to par. It's all well and good, and every long distance runner says it and experiences it but, and here is the clincher, you need to be careful you do it in good humor and don't really buy into it. Buying into the guilt is way too easy. Please don't do that to yourself.

Short distances are important. They help keep us in tune without taxing every fiber of our body. You can run them a little faster and harder because you know you're not doing 2 or 3 times their distance. I think, and this is only speculation, we have a tendency to incur injuries because instead of working low mileage runs into our training we keep it too high, not giving our bodies a chance to recover properly. Or we run on rest days. I knew a running coach whose mantra was "rest is training". He was absolutely right.

We still have some time until race day. Watch those distances and don't build too quickly. Don't fall into SDE syndrome. Next time you do "just" a 5K instead of saying, "I only ran 3 miles this morning" tell people "I ran the most exhilarating 3 miles this morning. It was awesome!"

The Garden Spot Village Marathon is less than 3 months away. Train smart. Stick to your plan. Stay healthy. April is coming.

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