Long Distances: Why Do You Do It?

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That’s Craig Alexander, one of the world’s top triathletes.

I know several people who are triathletes, and believe me when I tell you the longer you are around someone who races, the more you want to participate.  Just go to a few races as a spectator and you won’t be able to deny the thoughts of “I think I could do that” or “That could be fun.”

I’ll admit, I resisted for quite some time, but just recently have found a sincere urge to spice things up a little.  I’ve been running regularly for some time now, and since switching to Paleo a little over four months ago, I feel better than I have…ever.

If I can conquer swimming, I think I would be set to sign up for a sprint triathlon.  I’m thinking a sprint distance is all I’d ever be interested in, however.  I like it because it would bring a lot of variety to my life as far as training goes, but each sport’s distance is so reasonable and easy to work with my busy schedule.

My big question for any triathlon- or marathon- or workout-junkies is this: why the long-distance races?  What’s the point for doing an Olympic, half, full, etc.?  If a person is fit, strong, and healthy, does distance prove anything beyond that?  In fact, at many races, I’ve seen people crossing the finish line who are overweight and seem generally miserable.  Why do they do it, then?

My thoughts are, short distances seem like a better fit for me and my lifestyle, but I’d like to get some opinions from people who appreciate long distances.  Why do you choose them over short?  How do they improve your life?  If you were “selling” the idea to someone who was on the fence, what are the selling points?

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4 thoughts on “Long Distances: Why Do You Do It?

  1. I started out the same way, Just sprints nothing more. But after my 3rd sprint, I decided I wanted to do a 10k running race, after two of those I wanted to try out the half marathon distance. Once I did that I was thinking ok, this is where I am having even more fun. For some reason I don’t “enjoy” a run much any more unless its over 6 miles. There is just something about that distance that makes me feel like I accomplished something.
    Last year a month or two after I finished my second half marathon, the wife and I went on a supported charity ride. 10 mile, 25 mile, 45 mile and 65 mile distances. The day was foggy, slightly raining and out on country roads. Any time there was a marker to turn to go a shorter or longer distance we chose the longer because we weren’t ready to head back yet. It was great! We did another supported ride a month later and did the 65, although that one had a 80 and 100. We just weren’t feeling 100, seeing as how the only ride over 30 we had ever done was the previous supported ride.
    So we finished those rides and I was still doing ok running the half marathon distance. That is when I decided I wanted to try for a fall half. It took alot more effort getting my swim distance up from 800m to 1.2miles, but worth it as now I am much more comfortable in the water.
    This year we are planned to do 2 Half, 2 Oly, 4 Sprint. Can’t wait to get that first race in. But this year We are training in a more focused manner.

    God luck with your sprint. Everyone I know that has done one loves it.

    PS I’m one of those bigger guys crossing the finish line.

  2. Why the lure of long distances? I guess I have a numbe of reasons. First, i want to see if I can do it. Second, training and racing is great stress relief and a mental break from all other aspects and responsibilities of life. Third, just plain old fun.

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