Things I wish I knew before signing up to 26.2
I’ve been feeling a little under the weather and after all the ‘totes emosh’ Marathon posting I’ve been doing, I decided to lighten the mood. For all of those people out there thinking should I or shouldn’t I? Here are some things you should really know before signing up for a marathon.
1. If your feet are your best asset then walk away now. You will probably lose a toenail (or two), and the ones that survive will blacken up in mourning! Blisters will turn up in places you didn’t know blisters could go. You can do your best to cover it up with polish and plasters for a while! Eventually though you just have to embrace it, and become the weird footed friend in your crew, hey at least you’ve got a ‘thing’!
2. Rest means rest… retiling your bathroom before that half marathon or clocking up 15,000 steps before your Sunday Runday, are not good things! On rest days you will almost always feel like not resting. Seriously you give yourself the hardest time if you miss a long run, but a rest day, oh no that’s fine… It is not fine. This is the time your body needs to recover, you get very few of them in marathon training so don’t convince yourself they are not important. They are everything, use them wisely!
3. You will argue with yourself 50%+ of the time you try to leave the house to go for a run. Raining, snowing, windy, too hot, too cold, you felt a pain, you didn’t feel a pain, you’re lucky sock is in the washer!! Whatever the reason, expect to have this debate, often! And then get your ass out the door any way and social media-fy the best run of your life! By the time that next run comes around (tomorrow), you will most probably have forgotten how good it felt,how worthwhile it was, and start this whole charade again.
4. You will become a total running bore. All you really will have to talk about is running because that’s all you will be doing. You will be trading those crazy nights out for early nights in, and your excuse will sadly always be the same “sorry I have to run in the morning”! Your people will listen on, nod and smile, but nobody really cares or probably understands what you’re talking about from your PB to your PR to your ITB. Find some other runners, and go and bore each other, trust me they love it!
5. Something will go wrong. It may be that dreaded missed long run, or an injury, or managing bathroom breaks on the go! Whatever it is you will totally overreact because that’s your new normal. Listen to the professionals if its injury, or plan based. And well if its embarrassment based then just remember that there is always someone more embarrassing than you out there, probably!
6. You will buy everything. You may be training through the seasons for me it was winter and spring. I needed all the wet weather gear, the wind proofing, the trail running gear, the socks, the shoes, the high vis! Running is free has never been a bigger lie than when you’re training for a race. Buying a new outfit just to push yourself out the door to run another 18 miles is a perfectly legitimate reason.
7. You will be way too emotional about almost everything. Get the tissues ready, but also just warn all your people that whatever happens over the next 16 weeks is beyond your control. Crying whilst running is perfectly acceptable! And as already mentioned over reaction is about to get a whole new meaning, you’ve been warned.
8. You will never be crazier than you are in the taper! I’m thinking about writing a whole post on taper crazies because they just warrant that! The taper is the period between your final long run (20+ miles) and your marathon, usually about 3 weeks out. In this time you will be convinced of every injury under the sun, you will be highly irritable/emotional, extremely hungry, convinced you have not run enough and try to sneak in extra runs, and quite frankly not be able to work or function like a normal adult.
9. You will get the post marathon blues. When you’re cursing the marathon at about mile 21, you could never imagine that in just a few short days you will be so sad for it to be over! These blues are very real, you’ve just done something incredible and now all that time, effort and energy is done. You cross that line on a massive high no matter what your time or condition, so its natural that the only way to go is down! Why an earth would you miss something that pushed you to the edge of your ability and soaked up so much of your life for so long?
10. You will totally love it. There is no doubt in my mind that it will completely change your life in one way or another, be prepared to fall madly in love with this crazy little thing called running and quickly be signing yourself up for marathons left right and centre… How do I know this? I’ve just signed up for marathon number two…
Now let’s just see if I can follow my own advice.