9 Things No One Tells You About Training for a Marathon

Dorothy Beal
Written by

Exhausted runner

Running is hard.

Seasoned veterans will tell you that the difficulty and the subsequent feeling of accomplishment is what keeps them coming back for more. When I decided to get off the couch and train for a marathon, all I could focus on was how difficult it felt and how impossible 26.2 miles seemed. Looking back, I wish someone would’ve told me the following things that can and likely will happen when you train for a marathon. It would have made the experience less stressful knowing that I wasn't alone in the emotions and physical changes.

Fear will replace excitement

Making the decision to run a marathon is a big deal. Regardless of whether you’re one-and-done or planning to run multiple marathons, it's something that less than one percent of the population has done—and that, in and of itself, makes the commitment to train exhilarating. Once it fully clicks that you frequently drive less than 26.2 miles a day, that excitement may be replaced with fear. This emotion is normal and will hopefully wane! Warning: For some, the fear might not wear off until you cross the finish line. 

Not everyone will be supportive

When you make a big decision in your life, you want your friends and family in your corner. Of course, not everyone in your life is always going to be supportive. Maybe it's a friend who would prefer that you join them at the bar on Friday night instead of heading to bed early for your long run the next day. Perhaps it's that nagging negative aunt that tells you how you’re harming your body and ruining your knees. Find the motivation from within to keep going when others are suggesting you should stop.

Digestive issues are common

Step away from WebMD! You do not have some mystery illness that has suddenly entered your life just when you wanted to run farther than you have ever run before.

Your body is having a lot of firsts during the marathon training process and it may take time for it to adjust to everything that is happening. Fuel your body with nutrient dense foods and steer clear of anything processed. You may find that foods you formerly tolerated with ease don't agree with you when you have a long run the next day. This isn't just you, digestive issues plague many runners.