10 Discoveries of a First Time Marathoner In Training
I’ve learned a lot about myself since I started training for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon back in May, and I’ve learned what it takes to be a marathon runner. Hydrate, do your long runs, rest, and all that stuff. Yeah, that’s the stuff they tell you about. But as a first time marathoner, here are the things I had to figure out on my own.
- I will wear Body Glide to go to the grocery store after a long run because even a short walk from the car to the Gatorade aisle is enough to make me waddle like a scuffed duck. Body Glide works, and this is the first year I’ve relied on the stuff. It even works when you’re just walking around the house.
- I’m a much more sophisticated runner than I was in May, but not nearly as sophisticated as some of you. I don’t really understand sleeves and compression socks, I don’t have a running coach, and I hardly ever do speed work. I know I have a long way to go. But I learned the hard way how to manage my nutrition, I track and chart my pace times, and I spend the night before a long run focusing almost completely on preparing for the long run. Which means….
- I plan my social and family life around my training. Happy hour after work? Sorry, I have to run 8 miles. Fix the broken sink? Don’t use the water for the next 60 minutes and I’ll do it after this 5-miler. Your cousin’s wedding is this Saturday? But I have to run 19 miles! Tell her to move the wedding to November.
- Laundry piles up so high that I bought extra running clothes, just to keep up and stay fresh. I realized I needed more than 3-4 running outfits so I headed to Target (after applying Body Glide).
- Although people often tell me they would never attempt a 19 mile run, there are plenty of exercises that look awful to me that I would never try. Crossfit and aerobics to name a couple. Triathlons, Iron Men and any type of Navy SEAL fantasy camp are a bit beyond my sights as well.
- I can’t help but talk about running every day. I don’t want to be one of those guys who blabs about running throughout every nook and cranny of the office, yet people keep asking me how training is going so damn it, I’m forced to talk about it!
- I hate running, yet I can’t quit. I won’t even try to quit. Some of those long runs are awful. Even some of the short runs make me consider a life as a full-time video-gaming couch-potato. Yet I’ve never finished a run and not felt great about myself for going the distance.
- It’s never been more important to stay healthy. Not just to avoid injury but to avoid getting sick. I find myself washing my hands, avoiding anyone who coughs, and taking good care of my body by managing my vitamins and rest so as to survive the grueling training calendar just long enough to make it to the starting line. Don’t cough on me or I’ll spaz.
- I really miss other types of physical activity. I can’t wait to get back into weight lifting, yoga and rock climbing but I just have no time (or energy) to pursue them as seriously as I did before I committed to running a marathon. I wanted to join a men’s baseball league but after comparing that schedule to Hal Higdon’s plan, I knew there was no way. So instead I’ve set my sights on winter sports but I’ll probably end up running through those too.
- I don’t know what the future holds. A baseball player on a 5-year contract knows he’ll be back next year for a 162-game season. But for me the options are limitless. I can run another marathon, or just stick to half-marathons. Or just do Ragnar and a couple 5Ks, or do some of those extreme obstacle course runs like the Tough Mudder. Or I can switch sports and take up swimming, or tennis. Or I can retire completely. Who knows? I’ll figure that out once I finish running this marathon.
And I will finish!
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