Why Training for a Marathon Sucks

Yesterday I wrote about what was awesome about training for a marathon. There’s also quite a few things that suck, just in case I happened to scare you into wanting to run one.

Time. This is, hands-down, what sucks the most. If you think just working out is a big time commitment (and it is), think about training for a marathon. As it is, a long run can take you up to four hours or more. That’s bad enough!

But if you are traveling to where you’re running (as I’ve done to avoid running alone), then factor in travel time. Then add in stretching and showering time. I think I probably stretch for close to a half-hour after a long run. Mostly because I’m so tired. I’ll stretch a leg and then lay there on the floor for 30 seconds or so before stretching the next leg.

If you’re taking a bath in Epsom salt or an ice bath, factor in that time. When I did my second 20-miler, from the time I left my apartment, traveled, ran, showered and stretched, it took me eight hours. Then I took an hour-and-a-half nap.

You’re lame. The actual time you’re running/stretching/recovering is bad enough, but running hungover just once will show you how badly it sucks. Your stomach hurts, you’re gasping for air and the sweat is pouring out of you like a geyser. It’s not worth it, so you don’t go out with friends the night before. Because, let’s be honest, while maybe we don’t need alcohol to have fun, if everyone else is drinking, it’s not as fun to be the one with the water or nursing one beer.

Ugly feet. I’m the kinda girl who insists on having perfectly pedicured toes about 90 percent of the year, so this one is hard! I have blisters both on the tops and bottoms of my feet and in between my toes. A few toenails are hanging on for dear life. Meghann told me not to get a pedicure until after the marathon, so my calluses are equally super-sexy.

Heels. The corollary to ugly feet is no heels. You know how sometimes your knees or ankles hurt after a long day in heels? Try running a kajillion miles and then putting on a pair of heels. No thanks. (Truth be told, I don’t wear heels super-often anyway, but still…)

Money. While no doubt I’m saving some money by drinking less, it’s not like I get to sock it away. Whoever said running was a cheap sport never trained for a marathon. At a minimum, you’ll need new shoes and some Gus to get you through your long runs.

Along the way, I’ve also picked up some new running clothes, The Stick, insoles to help my knees and god knows what else I can’t remember. This is in addition to the Garmin I got for Christmas last year and the foam roller I bought last year. While I know I don’t need all of this, it’s hard not to fall prey sometimes to something that seems like it will make running easier in some way.

Chafing. When I was heavier, I was victim to chub rub all summer. I’d get nasty chafing on my inner thighs because they were rubbing up against each other. Even though my legs are in awesome shape, when you’re running and sweating for hours, it’s hard to avoid chafing where skin is coming into contact with more skin. (See also: underarm chafing. Ow.)

Diet. It may be no coincidence that I started having stomach issues again after I started running really long distances. I’ve totally simplified my diet so that my stomach feels settled when I run, and so that I have the right fuel to run.

With all of that said, is it still worth it? Oh. Hell. Yeah.

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