Things I've Learned from Marathon Training

Ok, so I’m only at the halfway point in my marathon training, but I think I’ve already learned some really valuable lessons from it. I was going to do this post right before I ran the marathon, but now is as good a time as any.

1.  Picking the Right Marathon

I picked the Savannah Rock n Roll as my first marathon for a few reasons.

  • I wanted it to be out of state so I had a change of scenery.
  • I wanted it to be in cool weather – so I chose a November race.
  • I wanted to run my first Rock n Roll race.

I met all my criteria; the problem is I didn’t realize at the time that I would need to train for a November race in the summer. The news often describes Florida weather as “dangerously hot.” Not ideal for training. Plus, it makes for some pretty craptacular runs that make you wonder if you can even finish a marathon in the first place. It was pretty dumb of me not to consider.

If I could do it all again, I would have picked a race in February so training could start in November.

2.  Picking the Right Training Schedule/Group

I chose a 3-day per week training schedule for a few reasons.

  • I wanted to do the least amount of running possible so it wouldn’t take away from my personal life too much.
  • I didn’t want to burn out during training.

While I love Marathonfest (the group I do my training runs with), they started training way to early. With Marathonfest, there is over 4 months of long runs each weekend. I’m half way through and I already feel like I’m ready for the race with one 20-mile run under my belt. Next time, I would only do 3 months of training. Maybe less.

3.  Running with Friends or a Group

I decided to join Marathonfest because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t do all my runs without some type of formal meet up. I love sleeping in and once it gets hot outside, I don’t want to leave the house. So, I’m really glad I joined this group. Before Marathonfest, I only ran on my own. Running with someone is so much better. I had no idea. Not only have I met some really awesome people, but it’s nice to be with others that are working toward the same goal. They encourage me to keep going when I don’t think I can and they tell me it’s ok to cut my long run short and try again next week if I’m really struggling.

Sometimes just knowing I will see my group every week is what helps get me out of bed at 3am when hubs is just going to bed after a fun night out.

4.  Being Committed

Marathon training takes away from your social life and other commitments. A lot. While I knew what I was getting into before I began, I didn’t realize how much it would suck. Hubs hangs out with our friends on Friday nights or does other fun things while I go to bed at 8pm. Then I get up at 3am to run while he’s just going to bed.  Unless your significant other is an understanding anomoly or lives in another town, just know that it will affect them as well. Not just you. You are taking time away from your family and friends, and chances are, they don’t like it and miss you.

If you cross-train (which you should), it takes extra time too because you need to work that into your schedule on top of your running. Most of the time, I feel like my schedule is all work, training runs, other workouts, and picking up around the house. I don’t have a lot of free time for relaxing.

5.  Gaining Weight

Running long distance does not mean you will lose weight. In fact, a lot of people gain weight during marathon training. Yes, you burn a lot of calories, but you also want to see how much is “all you can eat” at a buffet until they kick you out. I’m usually really hungry for two days after a long run. And that second day of hunger is a rest day where I’m not burning any calories.

Yes. Best to cut down on that parsley, fatty.

Of course, marathon training teaches you the importance of experimenting with running gear and fuel and a bunch of other things that I think half marathon training will teach you. But I’ve found these 5 things to be unique to marathon training.

Did I leave anything off the list? What have you learned from marathon training?


Filed under Marathon Training, Running Tips

24 responses to “Things I've Learned from Marathon Training

  1. Great notes here! I do agree that the marathonfest schedule is a bit much for a ‘first timer’ with the multiple 20 milers. For eperienced marathoners, it’s actually really nice because it gives you “more than one shot” to perfect the 20 miler which is essentially a race day dress rehearsal. However, for my first one I wished I had only done 1 as well because all the 20 milers after my first sucked balls lol.

    Second, agree on the weight. It’s one of the hardest things for me, I’ma lways STARVING on Sundays. I try to make Sundays my “high protein/fiber/fat day” to try to eat foods that are really really filling since I don’t need the carbs. For example I’ll eat eggs and cheese for breakfast (protein/fat) and usually that’l stave off the hunger for a couple hours 😀

    Good lessons here!

  2. Great post about marathon training. I gained weight running my first marathon because after finishing a long run all I would want to eat is a ton of crap because I felt like I could since I just ran 20 miles. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way 😦

  3. I definitely have gained weight since starting training which is a real pain. I also think I picked a plan that started way too early, which caused me to burn out (luckily before it would be detrimental to my training… I just took a few weeks off). And I am all about 3 day run weeks and I miss the heck out of my husband because I am too busy getting up early to do stupid long runs while he is out having fun. Yayyyyy marathons…

  4. Several things . . . (what’s new?)
    1. We should totally run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February. Not a change in scenery for you, but then we would get to meet IRL and I’m hoping that would make it worth your while.
    2. I need to train with people. I’m sure it would make me faster since I just run alone now and go at my own pace and don’t really push myself. I’m just so antisocial. I don’t want to talk. Talking while running makes me feel like I’m going to die.
    3. I have no SO, so training hasn’t gotten in the way of my social life. I also like to drink and sleep very little while I’m training. Keeps things interesting. But I haven’t trained for a full, only a half, and I think that makes things a little more manageable.
    4. Am I the only person whose appetite DIES when I’m training like crazy??? It sucks and I hate it! I wish I would have no appetite when I’m NOT running. What can I say? I’m a freak of nature.

    • 1. Princess is so expensive tho! Are you going to be in town in Feb? 2. You do! Find someone who hates talking too. Or someone who will do all the talking for you. 3. Not having an SO is the best time to train for one! 4. Yes. Yes you are. And those of us who are hungry beasts now hate you.

      • Well, I would be in town if I were running that race. It is super pricey, though. Maybe we should just go on vacation somewhere awesome instead? And not run, but just drink instead. I would probably have to train for that, too. Starting now.

  5. Sniff, sniff. Your post is making me so nostalgic for marathon training, even though it did turn me into a rounder peanut.

    Last year, I skipped the first 20 miler and did a 20 mile run and 22 mile run before the race. I do think having the second run gave me some confidence for the race, because I came out of the first one positive that I could not finish a marathon.

    I am sure you will do great at Savannah – you have worked really hard for this!

  6. Stefanie

    I don’t know how you do it. All that running in the heat and humidity. That is craziness. 🙂 I had to tell you though, the hub and I are looking into getting a rabbit. Yep. We looked at some local ads yesterday, but there weren’t very many babies. They were all of these giant 8-month rabbits for sale. LAME. Who wants an 8-month old, wild rabbit for a pet? Oh wait…probably people who want to eat them. Yeah, there were actually ads that said, “Bread for high meat to bone! Great eating!”. How can you look those cute things in the face and want to eat them??? We will just have to keep looking. 🙂

  7. So true! I agree with everything on the list, the gaining weight especially cause I’ve definitely put on a few pounds. You’d think running this much I’d get skinny but nope, my appetite compliments of the long runs is winning. Bastard! 🙂

  8. In all seriousness, I found marathon training to be a really enlightening experience because I found that I was much stronger than I thought I was. I did my long runs alone and found them to become more and more peaceful the stronger I became.
    I also learned that I could get blood blisters and chafe in places I never that that would be possible.
    Here’s to distance running!

  9. I’m so glad you posted this. I am nearly halfway through my first marathon training program too and was cursing running to hell this morning on my 5 mile recovery run because I’m still sore from my 18 miler on Saturday. My first 20 miler is this weekend and I’m kind of like ‘WTF’ right now. I run alone, I was getting sappy because I’m lame and don’t have fun on Friday nights anymore and was just wishing that the next 8 weeks fly by because I would like my life back. Marathon training has taught me that I am crazy and could probably only stand to do one marathon a year.

  10. I think you could skip the first month of MarathonFest. It’s really only building your base! I’m glad we started in June only to help me adjust to running in the ridiculous heat. It makes temps like this weekend seem not so bad – ha.

    I’ve learned that I love running with other people, I hate walking (hee), I hate running on bricks, 10 miles isn’t really that bad, and that I don’t fit in my tub for ice baths (but I did learn they DO help me recover faster).

  11. I have only trained for a half, but I know that I am stronger than I think. And that I will stop just about anywhere on my way home from a long run. So don’t stand too close. I even stood in line to vote after a long run. Oh well.

    The Kidless Kronicles
    Wag More, Bark….

  12. I’ve yet to train for my first marathon, but your timing tips are really good ones!!!

  13. So true about time away from family and friends. My first go round wasn’t so bad. I would run with the kids in a double jogger while my husband was at work, but now that their too big I have to find time that is convenient for all of us.

  14. Dude, your bunny is mean. And is that Grinch being humped?

  15. Mz. Teri

    Things I’ve learned from reading your blog(s) about marathon training: I NEVER want to be a runner! 😉

  16. love this! I am only training for my half marathon right not but plan on doing a full soon after! thanks for the advice and these five things will definitely play a factor in when, where, and how i decide to go about tackling a full marathon. I will definitely be following along !

  17. I’ve only run a half-marathon so far, and yes – much to my surprise – I gained weight doing it! Glad I’m not the only one!

    My insane appetite is also why i prefer evening workouts over morning workouts. On a few occasions I attempted working out before work, but would always wind up being a hungry piggy all day!

  18. It stinks to train in FL for a fall marathon, but when we moved to the state it was august and I was just beginning to train for my 2nd marathon (which was in DC at the end of October). While the heat & humidity was a bitch, running in DC in October was a breeze. If you can take the heat & humidity in FL, you’ll be set for Savannah 🙂

  19. Pingback: The Taper Post | Eat:Watch:Run

  20. Pingback: The Post Marathon Post | Eat:Watch:Run

  21. Pingback: The Taper Post | | Eat: Watch: RunEat: Watch: Run

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s