So I got a newsletter from Athlinks and one of the items was a piece about whether or not to quit a race midway if you are having a bad day.
I have to give Athlinks credit for trying. They originally started out as a site that collected runner race data so you had one place to look for all your race results. Obviously it’s trying to monetize its effort and the Powers-That-Be there knew we cheapskate runners aren’t gonna pay to see our results when we can just get them for free elsewhere.
I’m not saying I necessarily disagree with the advice given. It’s just that when it comes to quitting mid-race, there is no one size fits all answer. It will depend on the distance you are trying to cover, what you are trying to achieve, the current condition of your body, etc. Dropping out of a 5K is no big deal because you can do another one next week. Dropping out of a marathon is a different matter, because it isn’t easy to run back-to-back marathons.
You should take a page from my Sister-in-Law’s book. J2 does whatever is best for her kids, no fucks given. She strives to find the happy medium, but if push comes to shove and she has to choose what is best for her kids, versus better for others, kids win. EVERY TIME.
How does that relate to quitting mid race? Easy. If you are not feeling it, and you have more distance to go than you’ve already covered, drop out. You’re probably not there to win the race, and some days you just aren’t gonna place in your age group or set a new PR.
Sometimes you don’t have a choice but have to finish the race. When I ran the Prague Marathon in 2008, I realized at the 18 mile point that I was the furthest out from the start/finish line and quitting wouldn’t be any different than just finishing. So I dropped it down a tad, so that I would be able to make it back running instead of limping to the finish.
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