Running a marathon is no mean feat, whatever your motivation may be. Whether it’s to raise money for charity, ‘get in shape’ or simply for the personal challenge, you’ll find the training intense and life-changing. Onlookers may think you are going slightly mad – training all hours of the day, treating your body as a temple and talking about nothing but doing both these things but, if you’ve run a marathon before, you will empathise. Here are ten golden nuggets of knowledge that you’ll only be party to if you’ve crossed that finish line…
1. You will sustain chafe related injuries
There was a time that you were embarrassed and self concious about the very unglamorous chafing injuries you sustained from long runs. Now you discuss all your chafe-related ailments with your friends and compare anti-chafing powders with fellow runners.
2. Listening to music while running becomes intensely irritating
Despite investing in the state of the art MP3, specially designed runners’ earphones and genius running case, the novelty of running in time with the beat gets intensely irritating after a while. You learn that running with your own thoughts is the way forward.
3. You know your protein bars from your power balls
The supermarket aisle showcasing rows and rows of protein bars in shiny packaging, power balls, isotonic drinks, energy sweets and gels is your new playground.
4. Running a marathon does not mean you will lose weight
Among carb loading and muscle building, you know that training for a marathon is not the way to drop a dress size. You smile knowingly as beginners explain that they wanted to run a marathon to ‘get in shape’.
5. You expect illnesses, and lots of them
Intense training regimes actually weaken your immune system. Coughs, colds and flu are a weekly occurance.
6. Being a socialite and training for a 26.2 mile run don’t mix
The odd cocktail, post-work glass of wine and occasional cigarette will destroy your training programme. Instead, you take to socialising with fellow runners, seeking out healthy smoothie bars and feasting on frozen yoghurt.
7. You accept that you will never have perfectly preened feet
After an abundance of bulging blisters, blackened toenails and several spouts of athletes foot, it’s safe to say that you won’t be flaunting your feet in toe-revealing sandals this summer.
8. You know the pain of climbing the stairs will be unbearable
Your strict training plan does not factor in climbing stairs and when you find yourself at the bottom of a flight, you desperately search for a lift.
9. You know that food becomes fuel
After the initial excitement as you marvel at the amount of calories you’re burning each day, feasting on pizza and chips, you realise that you cannot live off ready meals and perform well on a run. Whole grains and complex carbohydrates are key.
10. You know never to wear brand new running gear on the big day
They may be battered and decrepit, but those trusty old running shoes that you’ve trained in are the ones to run the marathon in. A 26.2 mile run is not the time to trial run a new sports bra or break in a new pair of shoes.