When you start training for a marathon or any long-distance race, a lot of things change. Suddenly, running becomes a lot more intensive. I don’t want to say serious, but there is a certain level of dedication and commitment that has to be a part of it if you actually want to do it. If you don’t, trust me, you won’t.
That’s just the nature of the running game. Winging it doesn’t really work unless you like being doubled over and heaving on the pavement.
Training for a marathon can take anywhere from 16 to 20 weeks—sometimes more, depending on where you are in your fitness journey and what kind of race you’re training for—and that process brings with it a lot of changes. Your body will change, your schedule will change, your diet will change. Your perspective just might get an overhaul, too.
It’s hard—especially that first time. But for me, these are the most eye-opening, incredible, and “worth it” changes about training for a marathon.
3 Eye-Opening Changes You’ll Experience Through Marathon Training
1) Your body will prove that it can handle way more than you thought.
The human body can take a real beating. The thing about training for a marathon is that short of an injury, it demands consistency. You have to run every day and often several times a day. You’ll be sore, tired, groggy, in a bad mood...and you’ll find yourself getting up and running anyway. Once you form that habit and you’ve committed yourself to this path, you’re going to do it.
And man, does it feel good to be in a terrible mood and to push yourself to get up and run anyway. It feels so good to get through it and make yourself do it and get to the end. To start instilling that kind of discipline and mastery over your body feels like such a victory. And it is!
Not only can you handle it, but you can be the one to make yourself do it. That feeling is incredibly empowering.
2) You will have more of everything.
Running a lot gives your body a great deal of several things, all at once. One, you get an appetite. If you thought you knew hunger before, you’re going to find out that you didn’t. Post-run cravings for food, electrolytes, potassium, and just plain ol’ H2O are real. Be prepared to turn into a bottomless pit! Your body is going to crave fuel for every run: so make sure you’re treating your body well.
It’s time to cut back on the alcohol and load up on veggies, fruit, good carbs, and protein.
What else are you going to have more of? Sleep. Running a lot, as you might imagine, makes a person incredibly tired. It’s a great cure for insomnia, let me tell you. Regular exercise is great for regulating your sleep, and wearing yourself out through marathon training will put you out like a light every night.
And lastly, you’re going to have energy. During your waking hours, regular exercise energizes both your mind and your body. Runs will make you tired, sure, and you will crash, but before that point, you will find energy you didn’t know you had.
3) You can put time management on your resume.
As an entrepreneur and professional, running marathons isn’t something that really fits into my schedule all the time. Most professionals likely don’t pick up the whole running thing because they feel like they don’t have time for it. And it’s true: it takes time. That’s why you have to make time. Marathon training is a masterclass in time management. You will get up at the crack of dawn (and earlier) to run. You’ll squeeze in a few extra miles during a lunch break. You’ll skip Happy Hour.
You will be busy, but you’ll learn how to make it work because you know it matters. And busy people know how to fit in what matters to them.
What marathon training does—and completing a marathon does—is it unlocks your potential. We are capable of incredible things. Not just in body, but in mind. How many of us are guilty of holding ourselves back?
Anyone is capable of running a marathon. It might take you a little longer to get there than someone else, and you might have to run it differently than the person next to you, but you are capable. And if running isn’t for you? Trust me, there are still things your body can achieve that you haven’t unlocked yet.
All you have to do is start.