26.2 Things that Marathon Training Has Taught Me

Well, today I finished my last long run before the Chicago marathon.  It was a nice and easy 8 miler in the perfect weather-foggy, misty and low 60s.  I would say that I’m looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday mornings, but who am I kidding?  I have a 1 year old.


I can’t believe that next weekend, my 18 weeks of training will have come to an end. The marathon training will no longer consume me and I will have my freedom back!  Okay, so that might be a little bit dramatic but I never realized what a sacrifice it really was until I started doing it.  There were many Friday nights that I had to pass up wine nights with my sister because of a long run on Saturday.  And Saturday mornings with my little munchkin have been cut short (although this week, we are for sure making up for lost time!).  Even though marathon training has involved some sacrifices, I have learned a lot about myself, running, and life in general.  I wouldn’t give back the last 18 weeks for anything.

1. I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to.  I set a goal and I did whatever I could to accomplish it. I didn’t let the obstacles stand in my way.  For that, it makes this marathon so much sweeter.

2. Never underestimate the importance of a well-fitted sports bra.  Moving comfort so far as been my sports bra brand of choice.  It keeps everything in place.

3. Just buy the shoes.  The most important investment you’ll make during marathon training.  GET FITTED and buy the shoes.

shoes4. Recovery days are just as important as build up runs.  Take advantage of nap times and rainy Sundays.  Household chores can wait.

5. Yoga. Love it. Do it.  

6. Learn from bad experiences.

7. Miles, no matter how many of them are walked, with the jogger count as double.  That thing is a beast.  And if you can push your 22lb baby up a killer hill at the end of a 8 mile run, well it counts as 16.

stroller8. Long runs are done better with friends.  Join a running group, especially for your long runs.  My worst run ever was a 15 miler done all by myself.  I wanted to quit, I questioned my sanity.  I was a hot, sweaty mess.  Run groups usually have water stops along the way and it’s nice to get out and meet some people.

9. Be obsessed with barre workouts.  Not only is it great cross training, it gives you killer-looking quads 😉 p5710. Bad runs happen. They can be humbling. learn from them and move on.

11. It’s okay to adjust your training schedule.  Such is life.

12. Eat like you’re going to run after.  I cannot express the importance of good nutrition during marathon training.  Say yes to whole, unprocessed foods and say NO to hot wings.  Trust me on this one.

13. Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself.  When I first started getting up there in mileage, I had some guilt about leaving Madelyn.  I tried to bring her with me on as many shorter runs as I could, but I reserved Saturdays for myself and I believe that it helped me become a more patient, attentive mom.  A wise woman once told me, “It’s not about the quantity of time, but the quality”.

14. No matter what place you’ve finished, you’ve won.  Someone asked me once if I thought I was going to win.  I laughed.  They were completely serious.  I will certainly not take 1st place, but I hope to finish, and for me, accomplishing this goal is winning.

15. Recovery can be torturous but totally worth it when you can walk the next day.  Ice baths…we have a love/hate relationship. icebath16. When you run without headphones, you discover that fellow runners are very friendly.  I ran with one earbud out this weekend and I couldn’t believe how many people waved and said “Good morning!” to me as we crossed paths.

17. Be observant.  A new, but kind of “sad that I have to do this” game that I play when I’m running alone on a path is “Can I identify the person that just passed me in the event they turned around and attacked me?”  Sad but true.  It helps time go by.  And makes me think out my escape route in the event that ever happened.

18. Marathon training should NOT be used as a weight-loss tool.  When I started training, I was where I was pre-baby, weight-wise.  Would I have liked to have lost more? Absolutely, but overall I was pretty happy where I was.  Over the course of the 18 weeks, I have lost a solid 10lbs and have lost inches in my waist and my thighs.  Would I recommend marathon training as a weight loss tool? NO WAY! You’ll go crazy.  Especially when you’re running 15-20 miles in one day and you just want to eat everything in sight for that entire day.  Besides, when you do reach your weight-loss goal mid training, what becomes your motivation to keep going?

19. Hills…they never get easier, you just get better and learn to appreciate the flatness of Chicago.

20. You can’t help but talk about your marathon training.  Sorry that I’m not sorry?  It pops up in random conversation (and leads to complimentary Lululemon shorts!)  Other runners and fitness-minded people get it, but I’m sure some of my co-workers can’t wait for me to just run the damn thing already.  Then, I will be that girl who has ran a marathon 🙂

21. Some days, silence really is golden.  This weekend, the waves crashing against the shore was my background music.  I can’t believe I’ve been missing that every time I run along this path.

silentrun22.Yurbuds.  The best earbuds ever.

23. Some nights, you just have to choose the wine, pizza & great conversation. It’s good for your soul.

24. You can do it. You are DOING it.  There were some mornings when I’d wake up and think to myself, “I can’t do this.”  I remember saying this to my doctor when I was in labor with Madelyn and her response was, ” But you are doing it.”  I have way too much invested to let negative thoughts get the best of me.

25. Foam roller. Buy one.  Breath into the pain; it hurts so good.  I believe the foam roller is the next best thing to a deep tissue massage.  And I want this shirt.

26. Watch out for bikers. Of the bicycle variety. They come out of nowhere.

.1. Stride glide. Invest in it and use it where needed.

.2. Be grateful.  Even though some days I complain about doing it, I am grateful for every day that I get to run.  One of the things that “wow” me about the Chicago Marathon are the people out there doing the wheelchair races.  In ways, that seems so much more difficult to me than it would be just to run it.  Those people are amazing.

I’m looking forward to shorter runs this week and I’m going to use my time to venture out a little bit in our new neighborhood.  Most of my week day runs have been done at work with a running buddy, but since I’m home for who knows how long, I’ll be trudging along with Madelyn in the jogger.  And doing yoga.  Lots and lots of yoga.  Namaste my friends 🙂

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2 thoughts on “26.2 Things that Marathon Training Has Taught Me

  1. Eliz October 7, 2013 / 6:12 pm

    Good Luck! I have tons of friends running this weekend…They all did one last long run this past weekend…eeeks hopefully the weather will be great!


    • Maria C October 7, 2013 / 8:15 pm

      I’ve been obsessively checking weather.com!


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