Last Updated on February 27, 2021 by David Vause


I do it because it offers me the opportunity to be a measurably better person in eight months than I am now. I do it because it is amazingly simple and really hard. I do it because I need the challenge.

Counterintuitively, my first training day since registering for my 8th MCM is spent lifting weights. I approach my training holistically. Really good marathoners tend to be running specialists. The distance is not so far that you cannot still run with higher levels of effort, yet, if run with too high effort, it exacts a terrible price. The best marathoners tend to focus on running and cross-training only insofar as it improves running. I lift for size, strength, and, admittedly, looks. I lift for health. Strength training is the only modality that prevents the progressive loss of lean muscle mass that happens to us all beginning at roughly 30. Muscle loss is also the biggest contributor to slowing metabolism as we age, which generally leads to gaining fatty mass. Most importantly, perhaps it greatly arrests or delays old age frailty. The medical term for this is compression of morbidity. It captures an unhappy fact of modern life. While, up to just recently, Americans are living longer, they are spending greater proportions of their lives living with greater morbidity. This is caused by the unhealthy foods we are consuming and the sessile lives we are leading. I am not afraid of mortality, but I am deathly afraid of morbidity.

And, yeah, this summer while I’m pounding out mile after mile in the heat, I am going to want to take off my shirt. When I do, I want to be proud of the way I look.

Completed work out. I have not been working out more than once or twice a week in the past couple of months. This is enough for me to maintain, but I cannot get stronger unless I’m hitting the weights at least three times a week.

Tomorrow, my run will have a renewed sense of purpose. The marathon is a completely unforgiving goal. It is 26.2 miles and a stopwatch. This is the first year that I will be doing formally structured intervals. In an effort to goose my speed I’m going to sequence through the Nike 10K Training Plan a couple of times as I increase distance. But the marathon is the mother of distance, so distance I will do.

The work is hard, but I find living up to the challenge very rewarding. I find that nothing structures my life more than testing myself against a really hard goal.

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