Marathon training is a huge commitment and, as I’ve found out during this (my first) marathon cycle, can change a lot in your life. Some of these changes I thoroughly anticipated and expected; while others were a little more sneaky. Here’s a run-down of how my life has changed since I started marathon training.
I’m a…. morning person?
Because I’m training during the summer months, I have to wake up early (….and I mean EARLY) to get those long runs in before the heat bakes me out. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who hated mornings, but apparently that’s not true. Apparently I only strongly dislike mornings when I haven’t regulated my sleep schedule enough to get in the requisite eight hours. Turns out if you go to bed at 7:30 PM on Friday night, a 4:30 AM wakeup call on Saturday isn’t the worst thing in the world. Who
I can eat a lot
I guess I always kind of knew this, but usually there was so much guilt affiliated with the massive consumption of food that I just sort of swept it under the carpet and tried to forget about it. When you’re fueling your body for marathon training, food guilt is pretty much out the window. On long run day, I sometimes eat five full means (two of which are mostly carbs) just to get in the requisite calories with the proper nutrition balance to fuel my training. NOM!
Massages are no longer a luxury… and actually hurt more than they relax
With the things I am putting my body through, I need to take very good care of it. One important way to do so is to make sure I keep up with my mobility: my lacrosse ball has become my best friend. I keep one under my desk at home so I can roll out my feet on a regular basis. Sometimes, the self-care regime just isn’t enough and I have to seek professional intervention. Before you go all “poor you, have to get massaged all the time,” think about this: I’m getting rubbed down because there is some muscle group (probably in my lower body) that won’t stop hurting. Fixing this problem is very painful. Massages are no longer a relaxing device, they are a feel better device… that is, after they are a torture device.
Weekends are no longer your own
The first half of the weekend (Friday night and Saturday morning) are now sacrificed at the altar of the Marathon. I can’t tell you how many plans I’ve had to sorrowfully turn down with people I would really like to see because bedtime on Friday is so egregiously early and wakeup on Saturday means 3-5 hours of running. Saturday day might also be gone too depending on how long the Saturday morning run is. 16 miles or less and I’m generally good to go after an hour or two and some serious feeding. More than that and I start to push into areas where my body just doesn’t want to do ANYTHING for several hours. I can’t blame it; it’s not like running 20 miles is easy or anything.
Post-run brain is a thing
After a long run, my IQ drops by at least 50 points. I stop being observant, I can no longer make higher-level brain connections, and forget intense conversations. My vocabulary is basically reduced to that of a five year old. This really just means that I have to plan to be out of commission. I set up my snack at the front of the refrigerator to avoid unnecessary fridge diving. I make the grocery list Friday afternoon so that I don’t have to think about it. I spend my run planning what mind-numbing television show will best help me recuperate after the ordeal of running, so that’s planned out too. Post-run brain is all about the proper planning so that you have your luxuries in place before you really need to think about them.
Alright, your turn. What are some that I have missed?