What’s your favourite distance and why?
Everyone has their favourite distance. It is something which rarely changes. For instance there are some who feel best at sprinting 100m. Some enjoy the 5km, 10km or 10 miles. Some revel in the full marathon distance. Then, there are the others with the endurance and stamina to find their passion is the ultra distances (over full marathon).
Whatever your preference, you will find yourself coming back to this distance. Honing it. Sharpening it. Learning from it. Cutting the time. Feeling better at doing it. And most importantly, enjoying it. It will be the distance you train harder for, not because you have to, but because you really want to. You may be better at other distances, but your favourite distance is not necessarily the same.
To me, the half marathon is the distance for which I have an absolute passion. The distance is enough to be hard on my body to push my stamina and speed, but well balanced so that I feel good after finishing. And it is the distance I keep returning to run, time after time.
By refining my times on the half marathon distance, it has truly helped my confidence as a runner. The confidence gained has led to improve my times for other distances as well. You start thinking, well since I can do this distance in that time, surely the shorter distance I can do much faster.
Even though full marathons and half marathons are very different, I learnt about proper starting in races, the correct racing lines between corners, running amongst the herd and much more. I also learnt the reverse: to slow down the pace (compared to a half marathon pace) when running a full marathon. This was a great help.
So by now, you are likely to be able to have a fair idea of your favourite distance. However, the second part was why? This is a question which has as many answers as it does runners.
The key to the answer is due to the fact that although running is an obviously physical activity, there is much which lies behind the psychological aspect. Ensure your training is balanced both physically and psychologically and I assure you, that you will improve all round.