What I learned training for a second marathon

mariacha's picture

The remarkable thing about my last marathon was that it completely destroyed all my expectations about running in a few hours.

Now that I'm just a week away from my second marathon, I thought it might be fun to leave a few notes about what I think I've learned this time around. We'll see how I come out on the other side.

My willpower can't survive 40+ miles a week

I had every intention of continuing on with my healthy habits during this marathon training -- things like skipping snacks and bringing my own lunch. But the my brain is a bucket of willpower, filled every night while I sleep and slowly emptied each time I have to do something good for me throughout the day. And it turns out running over 40 miles a week uses every last drop.

So! Bring on the cookies and fatty lunches and beer! I can't say no. If I ever run another marathon and want to stay on any kind of straight and narrow, I'm gonna need a bigger bucket.

It's possible to taste your own mouth

I love suger, but when I'm running, all I love is water. Sugar or sugarry electrolytes stick to my mouth coating it in the fake-sweet flavor. It's a weird experience I've only ever encountered while running OR actively vomiting. THAT'S NOT A PLEASANT ASSOCIATION!

This time I've figured out what to eat, and it's simple -- wheat thins and raisins.

They leave a taste in my mouth as well, but the taste is metalic, like I've licked a penny. And for whatever reason, that's a familiar flavor.

If you're an introvert, run alone!

Another no-brainer. I feel like in any given day I have about 15 minutes worth of good conversation in me. So training for the last marathon with groups of 4-6 strangers used up absolutely all of my social skills. And that was completely exhausting, and a real detriment during the actual event.

This time I said no training group, no friends, just me, my podcasts, and the open roads. And it was lovely!

I'm running, not competing

The turning point in this training was two-thirds of the way into my 18-mile run when my phone died. Straight up, no warning, just done. I had 6 more miles to go, no music, no map, no way of calling Taylor for help.

And that was also fine! It was an hour of running and walking when I needed to. It was completely free from pressure, like fate had taken over. "Whelp, there's no way this ends other than me getting to my front door, one way or another." And I did. I ran when I felt like it, I walked when I needed to. It was no big deal.

Finishing this marathon isn't about proving anything. I did that already. This one is about going out for a really long run, and not making a big stinking deal about it.

Beyond a blog post, of course.


If you're interested in following my progress during the marathon, I'll be broadcasting myself through Runkeeper next Sunday starting at 7am and ending around noon. You can watch twitter for a link.

Blog Category: