Why I’m not doing the Marcothon challenge

I’ve seen this running challenge posted around facebook, twitter and on various running forums, and I’ve heard fellow runners talking about doing it, some of them are quite new to running.

The challenge – Marcothon, started by a chap called Marco Consani – is pretty simple. Run 3 miles or 25 minutes minimum everyday in December. Including Christmas Day. If you miss a day, you’re out. Its a way of keeping motivation up at the end of the year for people who need a bit of a kick out the door. Its now in its 6th or 7th year and thousands of runners across the world are doing it.

Marcothon - The Rules
Marcothon – The Rules

The early winter months are a great time to do a bit of base building, preparing the legs and the cardiovascular system for a training program, perhaps for a Spring marathon. Or maybe for a strong triathlon season. The base level that winter training provides lets you build and kick on with faster paced, more specific work as racing season approaches. It gives you the cardio-fitness level required to cope with hard sessions.

Will I be doing it? No I won’t.

The problem I’ve got with it, is that you need to have a certain level of robustness to run every day. Even if its just slow paced easy miles, you need to be ready for it. A lot of the people I see who are keen to do it just aren’t in this position. Lets take the runners who run a couple of times a week, 30mins in the week, an hour at the weekend. We all know plenty of people like that right? Lets imagine that they’re currently clocking around 10 miles in total. Suddenly, they’re jumping up to 21 miles a week spread over 3 hours with NO rest days.

In my eyes, that’s asking for trouble.

Rest is important. It’s time to let the body recover, rebuild and adapt to the training load. If you don’t rest, you continually break down the body. Eventually, the stress might cause injury. Overuse of tired or under-prepared muscle is the biggest cause of injury.

For a lot of runners, 3 miles IS a rest day, and 7 days a week is not much of a step-up from what they’re already doing. If that’s you, and you’re embarking on Marcothon, just be sure to listen to your body and run EASY runs when you need to. Don’t try and beat your 5k PB every day. Like I said near the top, base building is important if you’re planning on racing well but it is supposed to be easy miles, training the heart and getting used to time on feet.

I wanted to put a little bit of context in about Marco Consani somewhere as I think its important.
To start with, he’s a phenomenal runner, take a look at his power of 10 profile below.

Marco Consani Power of 10 profile. Not too shabby!
Marco Consani Power of 10 profile. Not too shabby!

Yep, thats everything from 3k to 24 hour races. And he doesn’t just run them, he often wins them. He’s as nifty over the shorter distances as he is for the marathon. Now for clarification, that number next to his 24hrs performance is 248 Kilometres! Other wise known as 154 miles. He’s conditioned to running big miles so 3 miles every day for a month isn’t much of an ask, and remember, Marco started Marcothon as a way to keep HIMSELF motivated through the winter.

You might be thinking “well, if Marcothon helps him to run like that…..” but I would rather rephrase that as “its running like that that helps him to run Marcothon”

We’re all different, and we all have different ways of training. If Marcothon works for you then that’s great. I salute you for being able to run every day, and good luck with it. And if you’re considering it for the first time, just have a think about how much of a jump it is from your current training, are you conditioned enough to do it, is it worth the risk?
Thousands of runners complete Marcothon, or challenges just like it without problems but it’s not for me.

On the other hand – I AM interested in this… https://www.instagram.com/p/-vXEsMqL0L/ the new 30 day #RunStrongChallenge from Kinetic Revolution which starts today….

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3 thoughts on “Why I’m not doing the Marcothon challenge

  1. I totally agree. So many of my friends are doing this and other festive run streaks, but it’s just not for me. I am however happy to do a Christmas challenge with my team which involves being active for 30 minutes every day. I think it’s much more forgiving – I cycle to and from work every day, which accounts for weekdays and as walking and other activities such as gardening count then I’m more confident that I can do it safely… I know my coach would kill me if I said I were going to run every day and not have a rest day!

    1. I was worried about publishing this for fear of a backlash. So thank you for reassuring me that I’m not the only one! Thats a great point you make at the end of your comment. If any one of the athletes I work with came to me and said they were going to do this, I would question them on their reasoning and what they hoped to get out of it.

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