The Commitment Of Marathon Training

You are on summer break from school. You only have your day job now, instead of your day job + school. Your kids aren’t babies anymore and they sleep through the night. Summertime! It’s time to party!! … Only it’s not. Because you signed up for a fall marathon.

Know what sounds like fun? Staying up late, eating good food, drinking, playing Xbox/Nintendo, going out with friends, late movies… relaxing. Instead, you pop a melatonin at 9pm and pray it works its magic as soon as possible so that you can wake up rested at 5am for your long run. But that’s not what happens. Ever. Instead you do a whole bunch of nothing, hang out with your spouse, and end up staying up past midnight. Only you weren’t exactly partying. Because, again, you have a long run in the morning, or you just finished a medium distance run and the last thing you want is beer and/or junk food. In other words, your summer is turning into one big extended holiday of deprivation and hard work. Hey, isn’t that what the school year is supposed to be? Turns out I am still in classes this summer. It’s called Marathon Training 101.

This 4x a week running is no joke. It’s a commitment. It takes a lot of time. One of the first things I hear from shorter distance runners is that they do not want to do marathons because of the time commitment it takes. And if you have to drive to your run routes, either for a team meetup or for the routes/gym you are using, then it REALLY takes up a lot of time. I am starting to feel like running is all that I do. And maybe that’s why this week, after doing this for a month now, I crashed and burned. It wasn’t planned but I started giving in to that summer fun plan. I started skipping class. My run class. And now I’m trying to make up this last week’s work to save my grade.

I think I’ll snap out of it. But it’s just reminding me what a victory it is to just get to the start line on a fall marathon. It means, in most cases, that you’ve worked your ass off all summer long, and partly into the fall, in order to complete this very long distance. I’m also reminded of why so many people are out of shape or overweight or obese in this country. It’s such a pain in the ass to fit running or working out into a busy life. Especially when, at the end of a work day, you just want to sit down and do something mindless…. like watch the World Cup. And eat popcorn. And drink beer. And enjoy the summer before the nightmare of school resumes. It’s easier to be fat and lazy. It’s certainly more enjoyable, in the short run.

But, on the other hand, it makes me proud that I’m doing all this training instead of giving in to the call of laziness and fatness like so many other people. That annoying phrase of “no pain, no gain” has been my very unoriginal mantra. I wish it was something more interesting like “sweat is fat crying” but that seems gross doesn’t it? No pain, no gain. Simple as that. You don’t just get handed a body like Lauren Fleshman’s. You have to work for it. Sigh.

It’s really hard. Training for a marathon is really hard.

The spouse reminded me, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Thanks babe. 🙂


Despair Inc. Poster


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