Marathon training is tough
This is obvious, but it’s the biggest truth about marathon training. Not only is it physically hard, it’s mentally hard. Trying to juggle work, home, life in general while putting in 5-6 days of running a week is tough. Sometimes it’s not the actual run that’s tough, but having the energy to get through the rest of the day/week/month or committing yourself to continue to train even when you don’t feel like it.
I don’t always feel like running
This is actually true for training for any distance, but the need to run even when I don’t feel like it is greater when there’s a marathon at stake. When people hear how early I get up to run in the morning the general reaction is, “I wish I was that dedicated,” “I could never do that.” There are many mornings when I don’t feel like getting up to run. I know for my afternoon-running friends there are many afternoons/evenings they don’t feel like running. There seems to be a misconception about runners that because we love to run, we’re always ready to go. That’s just not true and once those cool fall morning’s roll in it’s even more difficult to get my butt out of my cozy bed and hit the road. I think the difference for marathoners is that we have higher consequences if we skip too many workouts.
Sacrifices have to be made
Mostly in the form of a social life. Luckily my husband is very supportive of my running, but it is frustrating at times the looks/comments that come from non-running friends when I don’t want to go out on a weeknight or weekend. I would totally prefer to go to happy hour and hang out late with friends or coworkers, but the marathon is unforgiving and I don’t believe a runner can sign up for a marathon and be successful by only being half-committed to training. The Dixie Chicks are coming to town and I would love to go see them, but it’s a Friday night and I have to run 20 miles the next morning so I’ll be scrolling Instagram for photos/videos instead. Training and recovery have to come first some things just have to be skipped.
Groups runs are my social life
I hear often “I wouldn’t like running in a group” from both runners and non-runners. The truth about my group runs is that it’s my social life during marathon season! It’s been said often, but some friends go to the bar together on a Friday night and runners hit the trail together on the weekend. It’s amazing how much you can get to know someone when you’re spending 2-3 hours running with them at a time.
I can’t eat whatever I want
“Oh, you’re running so much you can eat that donut/ice cream/cookie” Sure, I can, but really I can’t. Food is fuel and also aids in recovery. During marathon training I am more conscious about what I eat. Not only to eat healthy, but to ensure I’m getting enough carbs, calories, fat, and other nutrients. I don’t have guilt eating a donut, but I try to stay away from crappy foods since they’re no help to training. I save that for the week after the race!
Not every run is good or fun
Some runs just flat out suck, especially in the heat of summer or cold of winter. Being fit doesn’t mean that every run comes easy or every one is fun. I genuinely enjoy running which helps me power through the crappy runs and look forward to the other runs.
Anything can happen on race day
To me the scariest thing about the marathon is that 18 weeks of training can go amazing, but anything can happen on race day. The distance is unforgiving and simply going out too fast, fueling incorrectly, the weather, mental discouragement, or just a day of uncooperative body reaction can be enough to throw things off. After 18 weeks of training, I want to give it my all so I don’t want to hold back, but the possibility of falling apart is always a scary one when it’s such a long way to go.
There are so many truths to the process that I could go on all day, but I won’t. I’d love to hear some of your truths about marathon training!