10 Reasons Why Running Shorter Races is Better

In trying to complete my 7 continent marathon goal I fell into the marathon trap. I got sucked into a mindset that longer is always better. That my goal should be to run more marathons or to run marathons faster. This summer I've re-discovered shorter races. I've found the joy in pushing myself not to run longer, but to run faster. I'm reminded that running is whatever you want it to be. If you run, not matter how fast or how long, you are a runner.

10 Reasons Why Running Shorter Races is Better

1. The training doesn't take over your life.
When I am marathon training, it takes over my life. I spend so much time and effort preparing for runs, running, and recovering. A 10k training plan though can just work around the rest of my life.

New Zealand marathon training plan dictated my life

2. You can have a lot more fun before and after the race. 
this was the high of my post race New Zealand celebration
With a marathon I am always worried about staying off my feet and getting enough hydration and nutrition in the days before a race. Then after the race, I am too tired to do anything. But with shorter races, you can do whatever you want (within reason) before the race and still have plenty of energy for the post race party!

3. The weather and perfect conditions aren't so important.
I can suck it up and run in just about anything for an hour. However any less than ideal weather (heat, rain, cold, wind, etc..) start to feel a lot worse after you've been exposed to them for 4+ hours.

4. You can race more often
I recently raced 2 weekends in a row and felt more than fully recovered for the second race. I even felt good enough in the middle of the week between to do some speedwork.

5. There is less pressure on each race
Because it doesn't take as long to prepare or recover, I feel so much less pressure in shorter races. If it doesn't go well, or I don't feel good, I'll just race again in a couple weeks. However, with marathons I am going to finish no matter what.

6. They're cheaper
Most marathons cost over $100. That's a lot o money. A lot of 5 and 10ks are only $20 or $30.

7. You don't need to haul so much stuff
For a marathon I end up feeling like a pack mule. I have my phone, fluids, fuel, chapstick, body glide, etc. For shorter races it is usually just me and my Garmin. I feel so light and free.

8. You can take more chances
rocking the short skirt at the Peaks Island Race
Marathons are long. So if you go out too fast, it can end your race completely, or at the very least make you pretty miserable for a pretty long time. In a shorter race I feel free to go out fast or surge mid-race.

9. There is a lot less chafing (so you can rock your cuter running clothes)
For a marathon I am all about function. I have wear something that will be comfortable for hours of running. Even then, I still usually end up chafed. But for shorter races, there is a lot less time for friction to become a problem. This means I can rock my cute running shirt that only has a pair of very short boy shorts inside without worrying about destroying all the skin on my inner thighs.

10. It doesn't smash your body to bits
I am pretty broken after a marathon. The months of training and the race itself go beyond the point of making me stronger, they start to break me down. I either get injured or I just generally feel worn out and tired for quite awhile.

What is your favorite distance to race? Why?