Things No One Tells You Before Running a Marathon

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Old age is fun, y’all.

I consider myself fairly athletic. I’ve been running since I was in elementary school – my dad and I used to go for Saturday morning runs before my soccer games. Still, training for a marathon has been a different beast.

Full discloser: when I say training, I mean a consistent effort to complete a long run 1x per week plus 1-2 other “training runs”. Also, this post should probably have a TMI label. Consider yourselves warned…

So in no particular order, I give you lessons from a marathon newbie.

  1. Chaffing. Who knew?!?! Not me. You will chaff in places you never expected like under arm aka arm pit chaffing…check.
  2. Your weekend will not start until after your long run is finished. Want to hang out with friends? Better join a running group because you will be busy for several hours every weekend and that’s not including recovery time. Speaking of recovery…
  3. Ice baths are your friend. Love ’em. Hate ’em. Your legs will thank you.
  4. Laundry. Drying racks. Not in that order. You’ll learn to dry your clothes BEFORE putting them in the dirty clothes basket. If not, prepare for the worst smell of your life. Middle School Boys locker rooms smell better. Consider yourselves warned.
  5. You should also be prepared for at least double the laundry. I’m not sure how this happens – especially if you’re already used to working out, but it’s a thing.
  6. If you’re not already, you will become very comfortable with discussing body functions, issues, etc. Kinda like those weirdos who post blog posts about all the weird things their bodies due during marathon training…
  7. Frozen peas, corn, fruit can double as ice packs in a pinch.
  8. There will be at least 1 long run you absolutely do NOT want to do. For me, it was this past weekend – 20 miler (in theory). I was coming off several really good runs, but for some reason it was not my day. I overslept through 3 alarms Saturday morning and I made it maybe 3 miles Sunday. Let’s just say, it was not my day. Lesson learned: You win some, you lose some.
  9. Eat food. Anything over 13 miles (or maybe less) requires refueling. I bring dried mango slices, banana, almond butter, or an apple in my car. I’m not yet proactive enough to hide them on my routes, but in a pinch I can loop back to my car. One morning, I ran 16.5 miles on 3 slices of mango and 4 sips of Gatorade and I could barely move by the end. Don’t be like me.
  10. You will have at least 1 run where everything feels perfect – the weather, your body, your pace, the course. Cherish it.

Are there any others I missed? What did you learn from training for a marathon? Do you have any advice for me?

And in case you missed it, I am doing all this to raise awareness and funds for a family who is adopting a little boy with special needs. You can learn more about their story and how to donate here.

This will also give me a chance to cross off a few of my goals for 2014.

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