Long Runs and Taxes

April 18, 2011

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin philosophized that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” In 2011, the United States put off Tax Day until April 18, straying from the typical date of April 15. The reasons had to do with Emancipation Day and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) not wanting to give up their weekend. While the date may have changed this year, even after holidays and weekends, Tax Day still happened.

For distance runners, this is certain: You can survive cheating on various parts of your training, but if you shortchange yourself on long runs, you’re in trouble. That’s perhaps not as pithy as what Ben Franklin said, and probably no one will still be quoting it 222 years from now, but it’s true.

Long runs, which help runners build toward the distance they’ll run on Race Day, are once-a-week transactions – unless you’re training for a 50-miler or something. Runners tend to save these runs for weekends, partly because, well…they take awhile. They’re also mentally taxing, as long runs don’t come with the adrenaline rush and the support that accompany Race Day. The long run about three weeks before Race Day is particularly important, especially in training for a full 26.2-mile race. Marathoners typically run their 20-milers three weeks out, then scale back mileage until Race Day.

We’re inside of three weeks now. On Saturday, I planned to get in 12-15 miles as a half marathon training run, but it rained all day. I toyed with waiting a couple days until the rain cleared. After all, the IRS sometimes takes key weekends off and still gets back to business on Monday – didn’t seem like such a bad plan.

Then I realized it was April 16, and I hadn’t completed my state or local taxes. I still had two days to spare, but I got right to work. As the day slipped away, I fulfilled my duties to Uncle Sam and his state and local cousins. Had I owed taxes to my specific block or street, I eagerly would have gotten right to work on those. By late afternoon, I was a little sad to have run out of unfinished tax forms. Turns out, doing taxes can be a lot more enticing than a three-weeks-out long run.

Rain continued to fall. An outdoor run wasn’t going to happen. Fortunately, though, my city has a couple of indoor running tracks. I already helped pay for them. With late afternoon fading into early evening, I figured I might as well pay one of them a two-and-a-half hour visit.

As for Ben Franklin? He missed his long run and won’t be racing in Wisconsin on May 7.

Happy Tax Day!

If you haven’t yet entered the contest to predict Ben’s and David’s race times, click here to do it now. It’s free, and it’s way more fun than doing taxes!

One Response to “Long Runs and Taxes”

  1. […] running the 15K just under seven weeks ago, I’ve completed five long runs of two hours or longer – three 2-hour runs, and two 2.5-hour runs. From an endurance standpoint, […]