Marathon Training Weeks 10 and 11 - The Time Involved In Training for 26.2 Miles
October 7, 2016
(I think those week numbers are right.)
The most consistently difficult thing about marathon training, that I've found, is the time that it takes. Even having dropped back to only running four days a week, I'm logging somewhere on the order of 7-8 hours weekly. That's not even taking into account warming up, cooling off, the extra time it takes to get out of bed the day after running 18 miles, meal planning, meal prepping, and the list goes on.
Any kind of exercise is a commitment, but I underestimated - or never put much thought into - just how much time it takes to train a body to run 26.2 miles.
Particularly having set the goal to run a marathon this year, the reality of what marathon training meant has been a serious learning curve in terms of my approach to running. It's like I've said before, the jump between running 4 miles and 8 miles is often a lot easier to make than the jump from 8 miles to 12 and so on. The geometric (exponential?) increase in difficulty per mile wasn't something I ever considered. Some of the other realities, such as hydration needs, hit me a little less subtly than the time aspect, but it becomes more and more obvious when I need to start runs around 6:00am to not kill half of my day out on the road.
Marathon training is a grind, there's not way around it.
I still enjoy running and find it very meditative, particularly on my long run days, but it's less of a fun choice and more of just what I do now. I don't have to ask whether or not I'm running and when, I'm asking how do I fit these runs and the appropriate rest periods into my schedule? This kind of back and forth has happened to me before (and I know that because I remember writing this blog post). With that hindsight, I can answer the question I posed about this time a year ago and say that this is a cyclical feeling and that I'll more than likely reconnect with the joy of running in the near future. That probably means after I torture my body through a marathon, though.
Perhaps mistakenly, I've already started looking ahead to what my running and fitness goals will be after I get through my first marathon. One of the things I'm looking forward to most is to not be running for 2+ hours at a time every weekend. I love long runs for the solitude, meditative aspect, and the physical test that it poses for the body. However, at least for a while, it will be nice to have my long runs take like an hour when I start into working on speed again.
Any passion, fitness-related or not, takes time and commitment. When that passion turns into more of a grind, what's your approach to making it through and bringing back the spark?