13 things you only know if you’re training for a marathon

Whether you’ve signed up to the London Marathon or one of the many around the UK or the world this year, it’s likely that you’ll be feeling a mixture of excitement, dread and bewilderment as to why you agreed to do this in the first place.

If you’re spending what feels like the majority of your free time running, you might relate to a few of these…

1. Your weekends well and truly revolve around your long run

Want to book a weekend away? Got an invite to a big night out? Too bad – your entire Saturday is now dedicated to going for a run – three hours of actual running plus four hours beforehand psyching yourself up to do it. As any marathon trainer knows, the first step is always the hardest.

2. You have no patience for people complaining about the cold/rain/snow – they don’t have to run in it

The recent cold snap may have brought the country to a halt, but spare a thought for marathon runners who must pull on Lycra and brave the weather, however grim it is.

3. You recognise other marathoners instantly now

Particularly when it’s wet because no one goes running in the rain unless they absolutely have to. Other signs include running belts or backpacks for high-carb and sugary snack supplies, a slow steady pace and weary expression that says, ‘I’ve been doing this for hours’.

4. You love talking about how many miles your latest run was

Because it’s literally the only thing you did on the weekend. And although you know no one finds else it remotely interesting, you’re dying to discuss how you had a rough patch at mile 10 but felt amazing at mile 13, or how satisfying your morning run was before anyone else was even awake.

5. The satisfaction of finishing a training run on a whole number

Even if it means running up and down the road outside your house a few times, you’re desperate to get to 15 miles instead of 14.84.

6. All the alone time is quite weird

Unless you’ve got a training buddy or are in a running club, training for a marathon is a solitary activity. Sometimes, some peace and quiet with a podcast is just want you need – other times, miles and miles with only yourself for company is quite bleak.

7. Your running clothes are sweaty All. The. Time.

You’ve had to invest in extra leggings/shorts/sports bras because you wear running clothes more than you wear anything else.

8. You decide you can eat whatever junk food you like these days

Double cheeseburgers or ice cream for breakfast is totally allowed because you probably burned billions of calories this week. Pass the carbs.

9. The absolute nightmare of a dead phone battery mid-run

You have to run for the next hour music/podcast/audiobook-free. It’s a dark, dark time.

10. There’s at least one part of your body that just isn’t enjoying all this running

Whether it’s runner’s knee, a bad Achilles or shin splints, almost no runner’s training is completely injury free. And if you don’t have any proper injuries, you definitely have blisters or missing toenails.

11. You feel like you’ve aged about 40 years the day after a long run

Your knees ache, your quads feel tight and even walking downstairs feels like a struggle. Is it ok to wear trainers to work for arch support? Is this what old age feels like? Welcome to rest day.

12. No matter how much you’ve trained, you’re plagued with self doubt sometimes

People keep telling you that adrenaline will get you through the last painful eight or so miles, but 26 miles and 385 yards is very, very far. Will you collapse in a heap of exhaustion? Will your legs cramp up? Will you just give up? Why did you even sign up to this at all?

13. You’ve started to dream about jogging. You actually feel weird if you don’t go for a run one day. You’re forever googling training tips… You’re obsessed

You can’t imagine a time when your week won’t be filled by running. Even though you like to complain that you have to go for yet another 5/10/15/20 mile run, you know you’ll totally miss it when you finally cross that finish line and it’s all over.

Lauren is running the London Marathon with Audible. Sir Mo Farah, Joe Wicks and George Lamb have shared their running advice on Mo-Joe: An 18-week marathon training diary – free with a 30-day trial, here.


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