9 Ways Running a Marathon Will Change Your Life

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For most runners, 26.2 miles is the longest distance they'll ever run, and that makes the race a BIG deal. From the day you click submit on the race registration page until the moment you cross the finish line, your life will change in big ways and small. If you're thinking about signing up for a marathon—or are already in the midst of training—read on to find out what (most) runners can expect.

A single-digit run will feel like nothing.

Once your training runs start creeping up in distance, your usual 3- or 5- or even 7-mile run will start to feel really short. After you've logged a few multi-hour runs, anything less than 60 minutes will feel like no big deal.

Your weekend nights are about to get more boring.

Most marathoners log their longest run on the weekend, so the night before becomes an almost sacred time. If you've ever tried logging miles after a late night (and too much greasy pizza), you know why. Instead of heading to the bars or checking out the hottest concert, you'll be settling into the couch with a bowl full of carbs.

You'll learn a new language.

Words like fast-finish long run, tempo, glycogen stores and tendonitis will become part of your everyday vocabulary.

Things that used to feel embarrassing or taboo will become topics of conversation.

If you never thought you'd be up for discussing bathroom habits or bleeding nipples (yikes), we don't blame you. But when you're in the middle of a 20-miler with a fellow runner, suddenly anything seems like fair game. 

Your post-run drink of choice will be worth its weight in gold.

Whether you dream of blue Gatorade, an icy cold beer or hot chocolate, you'll start thinking about it long before you reach the finish line.

You'll make some necessary sacrifices.

Sometimes you'll choose a track workout over happy hour or an extra hour of sleep. Maybe you'll start passing up on unnecessary social engagements or skipping weekend Netflix binges—whatever it is, running will take priority, at least for a few months.

Your grocery bill will increase.

Runners like to eat, but marathoners? They LOVE it. Whether you spend your cash on training foods like gels and sports drinks or you prefer to splurge on quality ingredients like organic produce, it's likely you'll be spending a bit more money on food.

You'll become a morning person.

Many runners find that working out at the beginning of the day is the easiest way to make sure it gets done, but even if you log most of your miles in the evening, you'll inevitably have to get ready for an early morning start on race day. Since most marathons begin in the early morning hours, it's a good idea to do at least some of your long runs around that time.

Data will be your new BFF.

If you own a GPS watch, we can almost guarantee you'll be spending time scrutinizing your post-run mile splits, elevation gains and average heart rate. Whether you get pumped about seeing your weekly mileage increase or your resting heart rate decrease, marathon training is the perfect time to pore over data.

READ THIS NEXT: What I Wish I Had Known Before My First Marathon

About the Author

Megan Harrington

Megan is a writer and RRCA certified running coach who lives and trains in rural upstate New York. She ran track and cross-country competitively in high school and college and now focuses on the half-marathon and marathon distance. When she's not running, Megan enjoys coaching fellow runners (www.runnerskitchen.com), snow-shoeing, hiking, and digging around in her garden.
Megan is a writer and RRCA certified running coach who lives and trains in rural upstate New York. She ran track and cross-country competitively in high school and college and now focuses on the half-marathon and marathon distance. When she's not running, Megan enjoys coaching fellow runners (www.runnerskitchen.com), snow-shoeing, hiking, and digging around in her garden.

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