The pros and cons of training for a marathon

What have the four months of preparing body and mind for a marathon taught me? What has my personal journey – from a person who runs quite a lot to a person who runs quite a lot over slightly further distances – revealed to me, in wisdom, sacred insight and understanding? Loads, actually – and I’m here to share it with you.

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Long distances don’t seem quite as scary…

I remember when I thought 20k was a long, long way. Now it’s an easy taper weekend.

…But 20 miles is still 20 bloody miles

I’m not sure my body will ever get on board with that as a casual training jog. Ultra runners, I salute you.

Your metabolism increases…*

I won’t feel sick and too full after that second helping of sticky toffee pudding, because I’ve just been on a 16-mile run and my body needs every morsel of delicious sugary sauce it can get, goddamit.

…But not that much 

There are many, many easier ways to stay trim than by training for a marathon. And don’t make the mistake of thinking an extra long, gentle run equals a whole stuffed crust pizza. You burn less than you think.

 

Marathoners are generous with advice…

Honestly, one of my favourite things about training for London has been hearing everyone else’s recommendations and stories and dos and don’ts. I’ve barely used Google to do research because a) I’m lazy and b) I’m surrounded by living, breathing encyclopaedias of running experience.

…But it’s hard not to compare yourself 

“What was your time?” “How many 20-mile training runs did you do?” “Did you give up alcohol?” In the end, you have to remember that –  unless you’re an elite or racing your mate – you’re running your own race, not anyone else’s. What worked for them might not for you and vice versa. Try not to drown in other people’s achievements or failures.

You get used to getting up at the crack of dawn

…Which is a pro if you’re an early bird like me, I guess?

You get used to going to bed at the crack of dusk

Nothing good happens at parties after 10pm, right?

Everyone is super impressed…

“You’re running a marathon? Wow! I can barely run up the stairs!” It’s hard not to bask in a warm glow of smug when friends and acquaintances are so admiring of my athleticism and general awesomeness as a human (it’s widely known that training for tough sporting events makes you morally superior to others).

…But then you have to actually run the thing

And then everyone forever and ever will ask me how it went and how fast I did it and then compare me to their other, more impressive runner friends.

 

*This isn’t supported by actual scientific data, just my appetite.

If you’re visiting and feeling generous, please feel free to pop over to my donation page to give a few quid to the charity I’m running for. MS-UK do valuable work to support those who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease that’s sadly, far too common and not (yet!) curable. 

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