7 Unexpected Things That Happened During Marathon Training

When I look back on marathon training, some strange/unexpected things happened that stick out in my mind, so I though I would share. I’m curious to see if they’re really all that strange.

I gained a little weight.

Back in January, when my runs were still semi-short, I went to get fitted for a bridesmaid dress. I was kind of in-between sizes and decided to go down a size, thinking I might lose weight through the training. Hah! While I didn’t gain a ton – maybe 5 pounds total – I did gain a little. I’m not sure if it was muscle or fat, but one thing is for sure…

… I didn’t feel bad about gaining weight because I was always hungry.
During the peak of my training, hunger pangs were a way of life. Some days, I was eating more than my husband, which was kind of weird. For example, one night, we had just eaten dinner and went to our friends’ house for “home group” (basically, we regularly meet up with some friends from church and spend time together as a community). Well, on this night our friends had a tray of apples, meant for a lot of people, and as we congregated around the table, I grazed. Lo and behold, when the night was over I had eaten almost half the tray. I didn’t realize quite how much I had eaten and I was actually pretty embarrassed because I hadn’t meant to hog the food so much. I was just starving the whole time. Needless to say, my constant state of hunger was just the way it was, and if I was going to gain a little weight because of it, then so be it.

My thighs got HUGE.
There’s nothing wrong with having large thighs, but a lot of my clothes didn’t fit right for awhile. Even though it was all muscle, I still felt a bit self conscious.

My mile times got slower.
I have a couple of ideas why this happened. I did have to take it very easy on my long runs to complete them. I also think changing shoes might have something to do with it – my Brooks shoes seem heavier than my adidas shoes. Nonetheless, I thought my shorter runs would have gotten faster, but they really didn’t… and my longer run mile times definitely got slower.

5 miles no longer seemed like a “long run.”
My coworkers would often ask me on my way out how long I would be running that evening. On average, I was running between 4-8 miles on every weeknight, so when I would reply “just 5 miles,” or something like that, I would often get the response “just 5 miles?” It actually helped me put things in perspective, and reminded me how far I had come. It is crazy to think that not even a year ago, I couldn’t even run 3 miles, and getting past 5 or 6 was a huge milestone.

I talked way too much about running.
It was on my mind a lot, and I am appreciative to my husband and all my friends who just sat and listened politely. Talking helped me clear my head.

I learned to accept where I was at, celebrate even small successes and be proud of them.
If I thought about where I could be compared to where I was currently all the time, I would have been constantly negative. I had my moments, but learning to remember how far I had come helped me achieve my goal. Ceasing in the comparison game and focusing on just doing my personal best made the whole process much, much better.

Most importantly, I think these things are definitely a testament to the physical strength that you acquire during training, and the toll it can take on your body. However, this is what the training is for. The fact that anyone experiences these things are signs that you’re focusing and working hard. If you experience the same things I did, I hope you know that you’re not alone! Love yourself no matter what (see what I did there?)!

An unexpected thing that’s happened after training is that I’ve taken it so easy getting back into running. I love to run, but I’ve enjoyed the break. I’ve been cross training a lot more, which I missed; I got to take a walk with Chris the other night and he snapped this photo (I love exploring the city, walking or running). I’m planning my next race and will share when I decide which one I want to do.

What was the most unexpected thing that happened to you during training for a race?

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