You know you’re training for a marathon when …

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You tell anyone you meet that you’re training for a marathon.

When getting my blood pressure and heartbeat measured at the doctor a few weeks ago, I casually bragged, “I’m sure they’re great; I’m training for a marathon.” I was overjoyed when my doctor confirmed that I had the heart of a runner. And it’s not just my doctor I’ll tell. I’ll tell the cashier at the grocery store, the Starbucks barista, and the sales associates at REI and Dicks (which I frequent all too often).

When you’re training for a marathon, you’re proud of what you’re doing. So I say keep on tooting your horn!

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The details of your morning run become small talk for conversations throughout the day.

Recently, I had dinner with a longtime friend from high school. When the conversation lagged and fell back on me, I quickly brought up the details of my grueling 9-mile run in the humid summer weather.

Even when you know that your friends don’t care about running nearly as much as you do, you can’t help yourself. Plus, what else have you done that day besides run, think about running, or do some other form of exercise to complement your running?!

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You have no problem saying no to late-night weekend plans.

My mom texted me about a party happening at a nearby winery — something I would normally love to attend — but it was scheduled the night before my half-marathon. Since I didn’t want to drink at all the week before the race, I had to say no. Plus, I had to leave my apartment by 5 a.m. to get to the race, so there was no late night for me! Even on non-race weekends, I say no to late plans on Fridays because of my long run the next morning. Keep in mind, I just turned 21! Still, I’d rather enjoy the victory of finishing my first marathon strong than enjoy bar hopping on the weekends.

As your miles increase, running becomes your social life. Your non-runner friends will never fully understand, but they’ll admire your dedication. Go for a post-run breakfast date with them instead!

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You do laundry way more than once a week.

Hand washing my hats, cell phone sleeve, hydration backpack, and handheld water bottle carrier is just the start. Add in the sweat-soaked sport bras, tank tops, shorts and socks, and I’m always drowning in laundry. I’m usually hand washing every other day and running loads of laundry every three days. Summer means stink, and I refuse to let sweaty clothes sit for too long!

Training for a marathon means running four to six days a week, and all of that workout gear adds up fast. If you let stinky laundry sit, the smells can become ingrained in your clothes. If you let too much laundry accumulate, you’ll suddenly be out of running shorts!

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You get annoyed by your growling stomach — it’s never ending!

I eat a balanced breakfast every morning, plus a pre-run snack before breakfast. Still, my stomach is a monster by 10 a.m. I try to ignore the hunger, but it’s no use; I’m stuck eating lunch or a large snack way before an acceptable lunchtime. Dinnertime is no better, and I refuse to make dinner plans any later than 6:30 p.m., fearing the monster will return. When I run errands, I have to remember to bring along a snack because I can’t go long without food.

Running can make you hungrier than you’ve ever been. It’s difficult to strike a balance between overeating and not eating enough. Ensure that your main meals are well-rounded and filling; be sure to keep tons of healthy snacks on hand to quell your angry stomach throughout the day.

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You know every trail, park and path within a 20-minute drive.

I’ve explored all the nearby running trails, and I always know where each run will take place. Prior to training, there was still much I had yet to explore, but now I’ve seen it all. I’m an expert on how far one needs to run for an out-and-back or where’s the best place for a loop of a certain distance. I like to run at a different spot every day of the week to keep things from getting boring. I have 18 weeks to get through, after all!

Your friends won’t need Google Maps if you’re around. You know what streets go where and the best parks and paths in town. If a friend needs a suggestion for a day spent outside, you have the answer!

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You know a stretch for every muscle in your body.

I had no idea what an IT Band, sciatica nerve or piriformis were prior to running. I also had no idea what a pigeon pose, figure four stretch or foam roller were before sustaining running injuries. I’m sure glad that I learned. Now my stretches and foam roller help me stay injury free.

You know what parts of your body are prone to injury, and you’ve learned how to stretch and massage those areas in order to keep them loose and functioning well. You’re basically a part-time physical therapist. Any time you come across a stretch or muscle you don’t know, look it and up and learn! Always be open to learning more about how to keep your runner’s body healthy!

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You will stretch anywhere, and I mean anywhere.

Coming home from Phoenix a few weeks ago, I had an early flight. I barely had enough time to get a run and shower in before driving to the airport, and I definitely didn’t have time to stretch. Instead, I stretched at the terminal. People were staring, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from sitting through a five-hour flight feeling stiff and uncomfortable.

When you’re sore and just waiting around — for public transit, in line, etc. —  you stretch. It’s part of being a runner. If people can’t see the definition in your legs and know what’s happening, that’s on them. You’re training for a marathon; what are they doing with their lives? Don’t be embarrassed to use your time wisely!

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You already have a spot on your bumper for the 26.2 magnet.

My 13.1 magnet just isn’t enough anymore! Plus, it needs to really read “13.1 x 5.” I can’t wait for it to have a new friend.

Don’t let anyone make fun of the magnet once you get it! You deserve to be proud of your accomplishments! Plus, it’s better than having stick figures of every family member and pet.

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You’re sore and tired but also ridiculously happy because you’re doing what you love most!

* * *

And I’ll leave you with a quote I came across. It’s for when the sore and tired start to trump the happiness.

A marathon is more than 26.2 miles — it’s the hundreds of miles you log in the months beforehand. The last few miles are just the victory lap.

So keep on chugging along even on the hardest days; you’ll get to your victory lap. Training for a marathon will change your life, making you a stronger, more determined person.

Anything else to add? Comment below!







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