Things You Should Know Before You Train For A Marathon

The hardest part of running a marathon isn't the 26.2 miles you have to run on race day. No, before you even get to the start line, you've already done most of the hard work: you've put in the training. I think training for any distance or even any sport is tough, but there's something about the marathon that makes it a completely different experience from any other training cycle. Some of it is downright weird, y'all. 


You are going to feel like you've been deprived of food for several days....even immediately after you eat a meal. You will never feel full no matter how much or how often you eat. You will feel like a human garbage disposal.

You will no longer care about how much you eat in front of others. You just have to hope that they know and are okay with the fact that you plan on eating at least half of that pizza. No shame in your game.

Your legs will ache pretty much all the time. You will go to sleep with aching legs. You will wake up with aching legs. That's your new normal. 

Taper madness is a real thing. You will flip out when you see 4 miles on your training plan the week before the race, because you won't even be able to remember the last time you ran 4 measly miles.

You will start to use the word "only" to refer to distances around 10-12 miles. Only 12 miles for your long run this week? You might actually be able to function like a normal human being afterward. Party time!

Phantom injuries will pop up before nearly all of your long runs. Who cares about the fact that you've never had an Achilles problem before? Not your body. And just when you finally realize that you don't, in fact, have that injury, it will convince you you have something else instead. Chances that you're actually injured and your brain isn't just playing tricks on you: slim. 

You might gain weight. But surely that can't be right - didn't you just burn like 2000 calories on your long run? Yeah, you did, and then you came home and ate your weight in donuts. It happens. 

Your Saturday alarm will be earlier than your weekday alarm. When you're going to be out running for 3-4 hours, you want to get it done as early as possible. At least that way you have a shot of participating in normal life for the rest of your weekend. Just kidding, the real reason you'll want to get it done early is so that you have more time for napping. 

9pm is an acceptable bedtime. You're going to be too tired to stay up much later than that anyway. Don't bother.

You need to get used to saying "I can't…I have to run." Friends and family will ask you to join them for dinner or drinks, or maybe to go to a movie, but you have to check your run schedule first. The chances are good you already have a training run scheduled.

"The marathon is a classic example of success rewarded." (Thanks to Holly for the quote!) All your hard work, every early morning, every declined social invitation, and every pound you gained will be more than worth it when you have a marathon finisher's medal hanging around your neck (and a beer in your hand).

15 comments :

  1. All SO true! I remember thinking I had ALL OF THE INJURIES at some point during my training.

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    1. Yep! Even if you've never had a certain injury before, you'll get it during marathon training (or at least you'll just think you have it).

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  2. These are all sooooo true (even for half marathons).

    And the weight gain thing... O.o. YES. The struggle.

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  3. I haven't even trained for a FULL (and don't think I ever plan too) but I can just imagine how true all of these are haha! So great.

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  4. Thanks for this! I know training will be kind of ridiculous in some ways, and my social life will likely take a hit. But it'll be worth it! Especially if I get to eat a lot more :o)

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  5. that last picture is totally adorable (speaking of, new side picture? love it!) but you've basically scared me from ever running a full marathon. haha! just kidding. though i really don't want to gain weight.

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  6. Oh my goodness, I can't even imagine running a marathon. Totally in awe of runners. The only thing I could ever see myself doing would be a Color Run. They seem super fun, even if you're not a runner.

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  7. I haven't even started marathon training yet and some of these are already (half) true :) Thanks a million for writing this. Bookmarking it. The madness begins soon :)

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  8. You totally get used to saying, "I can't"... I couldn't believe how much time is taken up with training.

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  9. My brother in law is training for his next one right now and he says all of these things. and I know I told you he runs long distance and has for years but girl ... the man can eat an elephant and a half. I swear!!!! He's an engineer and these days because its full on training mode, he literally takes a train to work and changes on his job sites and RUNS home. You guys rock. Seriously.

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  10. Eek! I'm training for my first 10k (I mean I've done 5k's but...only the bubble/color "runs" haha) and this was such good info! Thanks!

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  11. Okay, so I was all prepared for the supposed insanity of taper madness, but I never felt that! I didn't have any problems with the taper, and I was freaking out BECAUSE I wasn't having problems like everyone claims, which maybe caused some taper madness of its own. ha! But regardless, you're so right about food all the dang time. The hunger is real.

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  12. I loved reading this and even though I've never come close to running a marathon I can only imagine! I'm a huge worrier, so I can totally see myself having phantom injuries-- I didn't even realize that was a thing. Love that picture of you!

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  13. I love this SO MUCH!!! More and more I have been thinking about running a marathon. I probably could do it this year, but I want to really get comfortable with my half first. Still, I'm keeping this around for inspiration and motivation, and to remind myself that these things are normal :)

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