Top ten ways you know you’re marathon training

Many of us will have wrapped up marathon season — hopefully successfully — by the time this article is published. But as we work through our recovery phases, I’m sure many of you will be able to relate to my column this month.

There are certain things I associate with training for marathons, and it’s starting to come back to me as I tackle my second one after a bit of a comeback.

From the fall of 2007 through the spring of 2010, I notching six consecutive marathon seasons before getting injured. My injury (okay, injuries plural — a stress fracture and a strained hamstring) forced me to step back from the marathon.

Last fall, I ran another. It was a bit of test run, as I documented in earlier columns — and it went well enough that I have one on the books for this spring.

Now, I’m starting to remember the “the trial of miles; miles of trials,” as they say in John Parker’s “Once a Runner.”

And of all the things I associate with marathoning, here’s my current compendium of the top ten ways you know you’re training for a marathon … Jay Leno style.

10. Co-workers look at you strangely when you answer their questions about how far you’re running a week/that day/this weekend. With the exception of when I worked in a running retail store, this happens to me often. Anything over four or five miles can get you a look of wonderment. Explaining to newer, primarily recreational runners that your eight mile run will take about an hour doesn’t seem to help.

9. When life gives you lemons, sometimes you have to run a double. I try to keep my marathon training in single runs as much as possible — but sometimes that doesn’t work out. Life doesn’t always follow a convenient schedule, and sometimes your run just doesn’t happen. Four weeks out from my marathon, I missed an easy run. The next morning, I was on the treadmill before work to sneak in a few miles, then did my normal afternoon run. With a little shuffling around of miles, I was able to hit my weekly goal — likely unnecessary but it was my last big week before tapering, so mentally it was worth it.

8. Your Garmin is your the watch you wear most often. It used to be you could spot a runner anywhere because we all wore our Timex Ironman watches with everything, including suits. Now that I rely on my Garmin, I’m mostly watch-less during the day. Some of the newer Garmins are making it almost possible to wear one non-stop, minus all the charging. As soon as they come out with a silver and mother-of-pearl edition, I’ll be set.

7. Your miracle worker of choice has had their hands on you way more often than your spouse. Physical therapy, chiropractic visits, active release, graston, massage — whatever you rely on, you’ve been there often. For me, it’s my massage therapist. Once, I was taking an ice bath after a hard run and trying to text her to schedule an appointment — then I dropped my phone in the tub and destroyed it. I can count on her to find trouble spots before they become real trouble, and she always has a good story.

6. You buy BodyGlide more often than deodorant. This winter I’ve been using it as lip balm, too. That may sound weird, but it works really well.

5. Something on you is chafed all the time, and you’re almost always windburned, sunburned or just dried out from winter. In the summer, shorts cause chafing. In the winter, it’s the zipper pulls on my tights. I can’t win. And with the erratic weather we’ve had in Kentucky this spring, I’ve been sunburned one day and running in hail the next. Solution? More BodyGlide — hence why #7 is true.

4. Getting up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday seems almost logical. Almost. On the upside, when you start a long run in the dark, it’s almost like part before sunrise never happened. And you’re finished early … which leaves plenty of time for a nap.

3. Where do gels fall on the food pyramid? Does raspberry Hammer gel count as a serving of fruit?

2. After your long run, you considered drinking pickle/olive juice from the jar in your fridge. And then you did it. When I did this recently, I accepted that I needed to get hydrated — so I drove to the grocery and spent $20 on beverages. I came home with coconut water, electrolyte-enhanced water, Powerade, sparkling water and smoothies. It was like grocery shopping while hungry — I didn’t even recognize some of the items when I put them in the fridge. I should’ve just drank the pickle juice.

1. Suddenly, you went from “just keep at it for X more weeks” to “Holy cow, I only have X weeks left!” As I write this, I’m three weeks from running the Carmel Marathon — so here’s hoping everyone had a successful spring racing season. Here’s hoping I have a good experience to write about next month!

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