The first time I signed up for a marathon (a LONG time ago… crazy), I had no idea what I was getting into. It just sounded like a really fun challenge and a way to take my running to the next level. I bought a book, and started to run, and just went with it.
What I didn’t realize was how marathon training was going to take over every part of my life and completely change my perspective on running, food and everything in between (naps went from a nice thing to do on a Saturday afternoon to a OMG I will die if I don’t get some extra sleep). Since then, it’s evolved even more (especially since it feels like I’m always training for something) and I’m sure that as I move past this goal and on to the next one, it’ll continue to change.
So, thinking about jumping in a marathon training cycle? Here’s what to expect (and what most people don’t always talk about):
Hanger will become a state of mind.
I never realized what hanger really was until it was 5 p.m. on a Thursday after doing a mid-distance long run that AM and I just couldn’t even do anything because I was so hungry. And so glad nobody was there to talk to me, because I probably would have lost a friend in the process.
One of the things about marathon training is that I’m constantly hungry. Always. I’ve learned over the years to fix this and find foods that keep me full for longer (thank you hardboiled eggs), but you definitely learn how to deal with the whole idea of a bottomless pit. (I know, it sounds like the best problem to have, but it’s really not.)
You will appreciate sleep at a whole different level.
There are so many nights after a tough workout day that I am literally falling asleep on the couch at 8 p.m. and ready to go to bed… I’ve always been someone who has fought sleep and I’ve had to learn through the years, that you just can’t do that with marathon training. Early bed times, naps, everything in between — you legit need them to survive the tough workouts and make sure your muscles are recovering well.
It will take over your life, but not in a bad way.
Your life will change when you are marathon training. It’s a huge time commitment, obviously, when you are knocking out 50 miles (or more) per week and need to balance everything else in between (I really wish sometimes that someone would just pay me so I could focus on marathon training and not have to work, ha). It’s not bad by any means, it’s just different… your priorities shift and instead of missing those mid-week happy hours or crazy Friday nights, it’s refreshing to be laser focused on a goal.
You will never realize that there are so many gadgets and accessories out there for runners.
When I first started running marathons, I had shoes, some tanks and shorts and thought I was good to go.
And then I discovered the Fuel Belt.
What about The Stick?
And then there’s the Body Glide.
Of course, PRO Compression socks to keep my legs feeling fresh…
SO much stuff that becomes a necessity when you are logging insane mileage. I feel like I’m a pretty low-maintenance runner, but some of this stuff has become essential to get through marathon training with my body in one piece.
You will realize your life will never be the same.
It sounds a little cliche and over the top, but it’s true. Once you run a marathon, you’ve been welcomed into a special club and it’s hard to forget what that feeling is like. It changes your perspective on a lot of things — from the physical of what it really takes to run a long run to the mental aspect of truly knowing what you are capable of. I think this is the part that keeps me going back for more — that feeling after a marathon is one that you can’t recreate with anything else in life (or that I’ve found yet).
If you’re marathon training for the first time –> hang in there. There are some growing pains and it takes a little bit to get used to how it changes your life, but it’s so worth it. When you cross that finish line and cross that goal off your list, it changes you. In a good way. And it’s something you’ll never forget.
Marathon runners —> how did marathon running change your life?
Will you ever run a marathon? Why or why not?
What’s your favorite race distance?
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