The 10 Stages of Training for A Half or a Full Marathon

So you want to run a half or a full marathon...what's stopping you? Nerves? Afraid you can't do it? Worried you'll get hurt? Afraid you have to give up happy hour, your friends, and Netflix? I hear you, I impulsively signed up for my first marathon after going back and forth for almost a month. I woke up one morning, grabbed my laptop, quickly filled in my information and pressed yes before I could stop myself. Here is what you can expect while training for a marathon...

Stage 1: The Realization. 

There's two ways this can go down, you will either think, "What Have I Done?" or "Let's Do This."

Stage 2: The Game Plan.

Whether this is your first or hundredth race, a plan is essential. You map out all the runs, cross training, and rest days you will have for the next few months. Sure seeing how incredibly hard you have to work for the next few months is daunting but a good training plan is necessary to finish your race alive and smiling.

Stage 3: The Second Realization.

It all becomes real. You say goodbye to your family and friends and lace up for your first of many runs. Race day seems so far away, you have all the time in the world!

Stage 4: The Rockstar Phase.

You casually drop that you are training for a marathon into all of your conversations. You are grabbing a cup of coffee at work and your co-worker asks "How are you?" You respond, "Oh you know, I'm training for a marathon so I'm pretty great." You are going through security at the airport and a TSA agent asks you to take your shoes off. You say, "These shoes? I'm running a marathon in these shoes."

Stage 5: The "Why Didn't I Do This Sooner" Phase.

You are running like it's nobody's business. In the word's of Kanye West "harder, better, faster, stronger!" You are starting to notice the impressive muscles in your legs. Your pace is improving and your long runs are getting easier. You think, "Why didn't I do this sooner?" It's bliss.

Stage 6: The Isolation Phase.

The lack of social interaction begins to wear on you. You start feeling resentful that you can't go out with your friends to grab a drink. You forget what your significant other looks like. You become irritable when someone asks if you want to hang out you scream, "I CAN'T! I'M TRAINING FOR A MARATHON! GOSH!" 

Stage 7: The Doubt Phase.

This stage normally happens about 3/4 of the way in. "I'll never be ready!" But the lady (or man) doth protest too much! Patience is a virtue and no one said it was going to be easy. Your long runs make you sore and walking like the Tin Man becomes the norm. Yes, those long runs you have coming up seem really long. Yes, they are slightly intimidating. Now that you think about it, a half/full marathon seems a little ridiculous. You start to second guess everything you ever knew about running.

Stage 8: The Cloud 9 Phase

Yes you did just run 10 or 20 miles. Remember when that seemed impossible? Psh, you have this in the bag. In fact you should probably start training for the Olympics because you are basically an Olympian. Someone asks you how your weekend was and you respond, "Oh I ran like 20 miles so good. How about you?"

Stage 9: Paranoia.

Race day is around the corner. You start carrying around little bottles of hand sanitizer. You furiously wash your wands to avoid getting sick. Everything you eat is overcooked to ensure you don't get food poisoning. You start stretching like it's your job. You give up high heels and anything that could cause an injury. It's safety first from now until race day.

Stage 10: The Taper.

Taper: The true test of a runner. The closest thing to a mental breakdown any endurance athlete will encounter.

Suddenly you have nothing but time. Gone are the days of long runs after work. You feel like a sitting duck. You start to question whether you are ready or not.  How can you be ready if you're not out there running?! This taper is bogus! It's a trap! Patience young grasshopper, the taper is necessary. Trust your work.

And before you know it, it's RACE DAY!  You finally get to put all your hard work and training to the test. You've worked months for this. It's your time to shine. A few short hours later you'll have a new piece of hardware and it will all be over. Then you say to yourself, "When can I do it again?"

Happy training everyone. Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.