It has consumed me.

Through the months. Things have changed.  My marathon training has consumed me. Friend: “What are you doing this weekend?” Me: “Running on Saturday.” Friend: “Um, what else are you doing? wanna go out Friday or Saturday?” … Basically I end the conversation here. They do not understand. I am tired. It has been my goal to not be one of those marathon trainees that cannot have a normal conversation and is defined by their runs. I did not realize why everyone who trains does not talk about anything else. I get it now… I truly understand. It is not that I do not want to talk about something else, or that I don’t want to do normal things on the weekend; I just cannot. When an average run becomes about 5 to 8 miles, and weekend runs range from 10 to 20 miles… it officially becomes where all of ones energy goes. I am not saying I hate it. I am not saying I love it. All I know is I’m doing it, and I am now confident I am capable. For several years I have regularly read Runners’ World, and other running magazines and multiple bloggers. They give tips, experiences, and encouraging words. All of this reading does not prepare you for the action of tying those tennis shoes, walking out the door, and knowing you will not return for at least two hours.

If you are not interested in reading all my tips through, that’s okay, I am merely a novice runner. But I think you should at least skip to the bottom where I have attached a link that hopefully will make all you runners laugh!

So now I have a conglomeration of tips that I have found helpful, and tips I have concluded myself. These are for any of you novice long distance runners. Notice I said “long distance” runners… you DO NOT have to tackle a marathon to be a long distance runner.

10. Be flexible. Learning that your training will not go exactly how you planned, or what you strategically mapped out on your calendar will not go exactly like it does beautifully on paper is a great lesson. The sooner you learn this, the better. Listen to your body, you know better what your body is telling you what it can and cannot do than a slip of paper some professional runner came up with. Listen to it, and remember if you are committed you WILL bounce back.

9. Sleep. That’s really all I can say, adding extra hours of sleep to your normal routine is very helpful. As your training builds your sleeping hours should too, and let me tell you, you won’t mind a bit.

8. Weight Training. I do not encourage intensive weight training during the latter end of training for a marathon, but before and at the beginning, it is more important than many runners think to build that muscle. The reason this is so important is when you have that muscle before training, it simply causes less injuries. Muscles can handle the beating of legs against the pavement/ground, and the more these muscles have been built and trained, the longer a runner will go before fatigue sets into these muscles and transferring the bodies weight from the muscles to the joints. When this happens often, its basically like, Ta-Da.. Injuries!

7. SHOES. I cannot emphasize how important I think shoes matter. If you go Brooks, you won’t ever go back… nor will you ever regret it. You cannot go wrong. If you are having trouble figuring out what style (or I guess brand) works for you, visit your local running store. There are specific people there, hired to JUST size, and subscribe certain shoes to people.

6. Socks. I had to separate shoes from socks, because yes, the two need to go together, but socks are so important I did not want them to get lost. Do not under estimate the importance of socks. Yes if you don’t mind popping, oozing blisters day in and day out for 18 weeks, by all means continue wearing the Hanes socks your mother bought you in high school. But those of you who think that sounds miserable, or better yet, know that it is miserable, there are more choices. Socks can get expensive, and it may seem silly for the price, but it’s not. What I do is, I honestly have 3 pairs of socks that are ideal. They are my favorite and I wish I could never take them off. I then own ones that I like and work well for me, at a less expensive price. Look for key words such as ventilation, wicks away moisture, and Lycra and Nylon are great materials for your socks to be made out of.

5. Fuel stops. During long runs, remember to have fuel. What I have found to work the best, is fuel stops. Just like in the race, I go out and place fuel and water along the route I plan to take. When it comes to fuel, it is up to you. There are many ready to buy fuels, such as GU, or endurance jelly bellys. I have been trying different kinds and have not found one that I absolutely love, but even when I don’t feel the need to take the fuel, I do, and after ten minutes am happy I did.

4. Peppermints. Do you happen to be in the middle of training, and wondering why either after fuels stops or nearing the end of a long run, your stomach is upset and you feel nauseas? Well to be honest, I am not quite sure why this happens. Basically I can only imagine a person’s body at mile 13 or so, if just not happy. But the life saver is, peppermints. Make sure to bring several just incase one slips out of the package before entering your mouth. Also my advice would be to put them in a plastic baggy… Peppermints are not very good lightly coated with salt.

3. Eat. Drink. And be, ehh somewhat, marry. It is important to Eat, but not just anything. During training, energy will be low, especially if calorie consumption is not high enough. This being said, not every calorie is counted equal. Starch, high-fiber, and natural sugars foods are important. Do not train for a marathon with the idea that you will lose weight. The training will disappoint that standard. During training you need all the energy you can get, so depleting your calorie intake will only cause training to be harder, and up the chances of injuries. Drink WATER. That’s all I have to say. Just keep drinking!

2. Relax. There are so many things to stress about, and they do not go away when running. However, these things will no get better while running, and the weight is too much to carry on a run. This might sound childish or cheesy, you may even say, I run best when I’m stressed. I don’t claim to know you, but from my experience, 13 or so miles is not run well or at all in a “stressed” state. So leave it behind and for the allotted amount of time, it is only you, the ground your stepping on, and good thoughts.

1. DO NOT. I repeat DO NOT over think it. There is a reason this is my number one. Yes, 15 miles(which is the longest I have gone) of running is a daunting number. Many people will look at you with insane eyes, and numbness in their face. This reminds you, that yes this is not normal, people do not regularly run for hours. You will start to think about the pain the last run brought, and on and on and on, but STOP. It’s just running, if you are at this point, yes it is still challenging (that’s the point, remember?), but you know how to handle it. Your legs can withhold it, and your mind does not need to block what your body is capable of.

If you didn’t learn anything, at least watch this video :).


One thought on “It has consumed me.

  1. Yes to everything! I completely agree. I did my first marathon in December, I had no social life and everything basically revolved around running, but that feeling at the end of a marathon makes every bit worth it! Good luck, I assume you’re running the okc memorial? You’re going to rock it! 🙂 remember every moment, there are few things that feel as good as your first marathon!!

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