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10 Unexpected Ways Your Life Changes During Marathon Training

Remember back before Christian Bale was the one-and-only Batman there was a guy named Val Kilmer who slipped on a skintight bat-suit to fight the not-very-scary villain Two-Face? Well, you’re about to become Two-Face. There’s regular you and marathon-training you.

Don’t worry, you won’t lose regular you (who was totally awesome before you started training), but get excited because marathon-training you is going to get much more powerful. Oh, and hungry. Here are a few ways marathon training totally changes your life for better and for worse, if even for the time being.

You’ll become an insatiable beast.

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Runger pains are real. Increasing your mileage makes your body scream two things: Feed me, and feed me more. Your simple oatmeal breakfast might extend into a double breakfast of pre-run and post-run fuel, which winds up running straight into lunch, and hey, what about your midday snack?

You’ll start having liquid dreams.

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Get your mind out of the gutter. We’re talking about coconut water and chocolate milk cravings. Midday Gatorade runs and walking around the office with a Camelbak practically strapped to your side will become your new norm. Your mileage may (and likely will) vary, but drinking alcohol might become more of a nuisance than an after-work habit. How many electrolytes are in that gin and tonic? Zero? Uhh…how much potassium in a PBR? None?! Water it is, then.

You’ll speak a new language.

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It’s called Runner-ese, and you won’t need to download DuoLingo. New nouns such as fartlek, glycogen, iliotibial band, and pronation will naturally find you. When you’re babbling on with your new vocabulary and find someone whose eyes don’t glaze over, then congratulations: you’ve discovered a fellow Runner-ese speaker. Go forth and conquer hill repeats together.

Your wardrobe will become very predictable.

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Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but getting dressed twice: once for a run, once for work, is somehow five times harder than choosing one outfit a day. So no one will judge you if your workday staples become as boring as 800-meter repeats. And speaking of clothes, you now have two options: invest in more running gear, or be prepared for your laundry basket to erupt faster than Krakatoa.

You’ll resemble a leopard.

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Except a little less cute. What are all of those spots? Chafing. Lots and lots of chafing. So stock up on body glide for your head, shoulders, knees, and toes—and thighs. Oh, and any bit of skin that comes into contact with your sports bra. Actually, just bathe in Vaseline, and follow that up with sunscreen. Although even the most vigorous applications won’t survive a three-hour run, so if you shun racer-backs, prepare yourself for that infamous farmer’s tan of dark forearms and very pale shoulders.

You’ll sleep like Rip Van Winkle.

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The whole “marathon exhaustion” thing is real, and not only will you yearn for some solid REM cycles, but your entire sleep schedule will also become much more regular. You’ll be too zonked to recall the meaning of the words “binge watch,” and insomnia will be a distant memory. You will also become an expert napper, so get ready to add that skill to your LinkedIn profile.

You’ll adopt two new careers: mathematician and cartographer.

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Marathon training will work muscles you never knew you had, like the entire left side of your brain. Calculating mile splits will become second nature. Plus, you’ll be adding up all your weekly mileage (careful not to increase by more than 10 percent each week, of course). It’s no AP Calculus, but you’ll be so tired it’ll feel like it. You’ll also brush up on your map-reading skills, making your mind swim with route markers, elevation changes, topographical nuances, and hill grades. Really sexy stuff.

You’ll suddenly become rich.

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No, marathon training doesn’t come with a stipend or a blank check. (Dreams!) But you will be too embarrassed to bare your feet at your favorite pedicure place, where all the apologies and tips in the world wouldn’t make up for the sight of your battered soles. (Plus, if you do go to the salon, you’ll just undo all that hard work after one long run.) Fewer pedicures equal more cash equals more money for Body Glide—see above).

You’ll turn into a time-management geek.

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There’s an old saying: If you want to get something done, give it to the busiest person you know. You’ll become highly proficient at squeezing in runs at dawn and lunch will basically turn into gobble-salad-at-desk time. And after work during when everyone’s sipping on crafted cocktails on sunset-lit patios? They’ll be drinking; you’ll be running. But that’s OK. You can always meet up with your friends later, like in four months after race day.

You’ll morph into Wonder Woman.

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Or whatever summer blockbuster superheroine you want to be. The cold hard fact is you might get injured during training…but you’ll probably also rebound. Remember, there’s a reason training lasts 16 to 20 weeks. That leaves plenty of time to up your mileage and, if necessary, recover from injury nuisances both big and small. There is one truth for everyone, though: you will learn to run while sore, cranky, sleepy, and whiny. And the other truth? You’ll probably love it.



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