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The unique pain of each distance (Read 308 times)


Sultan of slug

    Solid article over in RT addressing the question of what race is the "toughest" - without pretending that there's an objective answer: http://www.runnersworld.com/races/true-grit-0?page=single

     

    I was pleased to see that I'm not alone in thinking the 800 is the most painful race of them all (I've only run a couple of them, back in high school).

     

    Favorite quote, and particularly relevant to my last marathon experience:

    "'Falling apart in a 5K is painful, but it's just pain,' says Frey. 'But falling apart in a marathon, I believe you lose a year of your life. You complete the marathon feeling utterly defeated, knowing that it got the best of you, and you go home and ask your mom if she still loves you.'"


    The Runner Life

      This was a great article!  Thanks for sharing.  I definitely think that my most painful moment running was in an 800, but I have had greater mental challenges in the marathon and trail races.

        This was a great article!  Thanks for sharing.  I definitely think that my most painful moment running was in an 800, but I have had greater mental challenges in the marathon and trail races.

         

        I think any race 400 or longer hurts, but each in their own way.   In middle school some kids will jump to the 800 or the 1600 because they say a 400 hurts too much. Some jump to the 400 because the 200 hurts too much. Well, it makes perfect sense after I see them in the longer race -- they jog until there's 100m to go.


        Needs more cowbell!

          Interesting.  For me I gave up on the marathon after 3 tries.  It didn't really seem to matter how well I trained or how careful I was to not go out too fast, even running at the same pace I'd trained at for my 20 milers spelt insane calf and feet cramping setting in by 21-22 miles in, regardless of weather/temperature.

           

          5 and 10ks are just hard because they're fast, but still a long way to go at that intensity.  If I had to pick "easiest," for me it would be somewhere in the 15k - HM distance.  I can find a pace/groove that I can maintain well and finish strong.  I've done more 15ks and HMs than any other race distances...it's a real comfort zone for me.

          I shoot pretty things! ~

          '14 Goals:

          • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

          • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


          I'm back!

            Marathon is definitely my comfort zone. I get knots in my stomach just thinking about registering for a 5k / 10k. I'm just too much of a wimp for that kind of pain.

             

            I'm kind of like the frog in the water that is stupid enough to sit there while it's gradually heated to a boil. I'll do 100 milers, knowing there will be a lot of pain, but it's all spread out and not the same kind as 5k / 10k. And I'm generally smart / careful enough to avoid any real pacing disasters, so I rarely fall apart at any distance.

            scappodaqui


            rather be sprinting

              That is a really thought-provoking article.  I was thinking JUST today about how the HM distance wrecked me so much psychologically that I doubt I will ever run one again, because it combined crushing pain with terrible boredom and self-doubt--I was never sure if I was running QUITE fast enough or how much I'd have left...

               

              The thing about the mile, though they say it is the toughest race, is that it is over pretty fast and I can break it down into laps.  That must be about psychology.  Because obviously it hurts a lot, but it hurts in a way I can intellectualize.

               

              I definitely think that has to do with personality characteristics like impulsiveness.  I'm not very patient but I can tolerate pain!

              PRs: 5k 19:25, mile 5:38, HM 1:30:56

              Lifting PRs: back squat 176 lb

              Julia1971


                What I thought was most interesting is that all but (in my estimation) two of the strategies for developing toughness were mental rather than physical.  (I thought all but the last two were mental).  Runners don't ask a lot of questions about mental training but thoughts go a long way towards creating toughness.  The things you tell yourself every day about your workouts and on race day really do impact your performance.

                You're too strong not to keep on keepin' on. - The Pips
                Yes, I am! - Gladys Knight

                  In the next two weeks, I have a 5K and a 50K.

                   

                  I am excited about the 50K.

                   

                  I am terrified of the 5K.

                  "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
                  Emil Zatopek


                  Muddling through

                    I consider myself primarily a middle distance runner, but I have raced at distances from 800m to the marathon. I'm more a generalist than a specialist as evidenced by setting my all-time PBs at the mile and the marathon only 3 weeks apart. When asked what I think is the toughest race distance, I'm in a quandry and will prevaricate, skirt the issue, or otherwise be non-commital. If I listed my races that have hurt the most, the top 10 would reflect the full range of distances I have raced. If pushed to pick one, though, I would have to choose the marathon because because it is the distance I find most difficult to cope with mentally, which exacerbates the physical discomfort.

                    2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race

                      I consider myself primarily a middle distance runner, but I have raced at distances from 800m to the marathon. I'm more a generalist than a specialist as evidenced by setting my all-time PBs at the mile and the marathon only 3 weeks apart. When asked what I think is the toughest race distance, I'm in a quandry and will prevaricate, skirt the issue, or otherwise be non-commital. If I listed my races that have hurt the most, the top 10 would reflect the full range of distances I have raced. If pushed to pick one, though, I would have to choose the marathon because because it is the distance I find most difficult to cope with mentally, which exacerbates the physical discomfort.

                       

                      great answer!

                        I have not done a marathon but have raced from 1 mile to a half marathon and a half is clearly the most painful for me. Those last 3 miles are gut wrenching because on tired legs, my mindset then shifts to running a 5K race. I race a 5K during the last 3 miles of a half (or at least have that mindset) and it is almost unbearable pushing through the pain.  I am ready to drop at the end. I am also sore for at least 3 days after with first 2 days making it difficult to get down stairs. A 1 mile hurts a lot and a 5K hurts but only the last 5 minutes and I am not sore the next day.

                        Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

                          I haven't raced the 800 since high school (25 years ago? Sheesh) but every time someone mentions that race I taste copper. So it certainly leaves an impression.

                           

                          I raced a mile on the track this winter that felt like swallowing broken glass while swimming through concrete.

                           

                          I've had 5k's where the entire final mile was like being set on fire and it seems to go on forever and ever.

                           

                          But for me, nothing compares to the mental and psychological fatigue of a hard-raced marathon. The final 8 miles or so are very rough physically and mentally as the pain starts to gradually creep over me like a shroud. Unlike after other races--where once it's over it's over--after a marathon I'm usually in a fog, unable to really focus for a day or two. My brain is so tired it almost hurts. To say nothing of that first trip down the stairs the next morning.

                          Runners run.


                          Sultan of slug

                            What I thought was most interesting is that all but (in my estimation) two of the strategies for developing toughness were mental rather than physical.  (I thought all but the last two were mental).  Runners don't ask a lot of questions about mental training but thoughts go a long way towards creating toughness.  The things you tell yourself every day about your workouts and on race day really do impact your performance.

                             

                            Agreed. That's one reason I never run with music - the added mental challenge, which during long runs allows me to enter a zen-like state. In the end, I feel more refreshed after running like this. And it certainly boosts my "toughness," I think. 

                             

                            I haven't raced the 800 since high school (25 years ago? Sheesh) but every time someone mentions that race I taste copper. So it certainly leaves an impression.

                             

                            I raced a mile on the track this winter that felt like swallowing broken glass while swimming through concrete.

                             

                            I've had 5k's where the entire final mile was like being set on fire and it seems to go on forever and ever.

                             

                            Hats off for this hilarious and accurate description of middle-distance pain.

                              I have friends or acquaintances who say they are never sore or stiff after a 10K or half marathon. Well, they aren't racing it then!!!

                              Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

                                I try to race each distance only 1 time.  They're all tough. Smile

                                Next week, I'll be racing my 2nd Ironman though.  I enjoyed the 1st time, but realized I wasn't mentally prepared to fight those demons during the run at 90+ degrees.  I'm hoping this 2nd try is better both mentally and physically.
                                Cheers,

                                2014 Goals:

                                #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                                #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

                                 

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