Side Effects of Marathon Training

September 12, 2011 · 44 comments

One would think training for a marathon would make you look like this:

Okay, Kara, you’ve one-upped me again.

False. If you want to be cute, don’t train for a marathon. Just take my word for it.

You gain wait. You’re hungry all the time, and you’re stressing about fueling your body so you can run 26.2 miles without stopping (or passing out).

You think about food constantly. All the time. You dream about it. You talk about it. All. The. Time.

One of those may or may not be the rogue burgers we inhaled at 3:30 a.m. this weekend.
I don’t want to talk about it.

I mean, when you’re running 20 miles at one time, you automatically get to eat french fries with no guilt. It’s simple logic. Right? Right?!

And as a result, you’re gonna gain weight, and you’re gonna feel constantly bloated from all the fluids you’re forcing yourself to hydrate with.

Everywhere you go, there will be stretching involved.

Even on escalators. Like Buddy the Elf (see photo #2 above).

And even in the middle of the dance floor at the bar. I’ve already taught you what to do when people ask what you’re doing.

All your money is going to go towards new running shoes (I just ordered my third pair to add into the rotation), energy gels, sports massages, ice packs, and fuel belts. Just don’t expect any fluff in your bank account while training for a marathon.

And speaking of gu, you’ll be quickly accustomed to ripping open a packet of the stuff right when your watch beeps at mile 7, taking it down, and shoving it back into your fuel belt. Liquid calories are all the rage, haven’t you heard?


I was always a bigger fan of the Gu brand gels, but since you’re supposed to use the same type of gel in training as you will for the race, Clif gel is our new jam. Clif will be distributed during the Marine Corps marathon. Anastasia and I bought two boxes of Vanilla and Citrus to split.

Applying deodorant to your legs, under your sports bra, and anywhere fabric rubs becomes completely normal. I won’t provide a visual of such things. Just trust me on this one; it’s very necessary.

And you don’t want to know what happens to your toenails. Trust me on this one. Just have lots of dark nail polish handy, and do most of your training during Ugg boot season.

The icing of your legs becomes an activity you plan your day around.

Off days become your day of physical and mental freedom.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alaina Johnson September 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm

love love this! so true and so funny!
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2 Alicia White September 12, 2011 at 3:54 pm

this post made me NEVER EVER want to run a marathon! BUT I give u MAD PROPS! Enjoy those yummy yummy foods, u earn it after all that!


3 Dorsa @ Running Thoughts September 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm

haha this is too funny…

maybe I won’t run a half marathon.. I already have trouble saying no to French Fries
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4 Lindsey @ Happy or Hungry September 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Bahaha, I loved this post. Thanks for keeping it real!
Guess what I WON’T be doing?! I’ll stick to my 5k’s for now, thanks.
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5 Claire@Navigating North September 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I love this post! You go girl, for doing a marathon! I am training for a 10K (Ok…probably NOT a big deal to anyone but me)…and my appetite is wayyy up, like in a NOT good way! I think i have it mastered after one week of ravenous eating (hamburger, fried potato salad…I also don’t wanna talk about it, gross) and being SO THIRSTY! I also did hot yoga, so you are dead on with all of the stretching required haha. I don’t know what it is about running…but I’m HOOKED!
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6 Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans September 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm

This is so good! And so true!! My BF commented that all I wear is workout clothes these days- also true!!


7 Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries September 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I almost texted you yesterday because I have the grossest blisters on every.single.toe. I’m not running 20 miles a day, but I’m running more than usual. And my legs hurt. Wahhh.
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8 Marijke September 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm

This is all so TRUE!
I’m only training for a half marathon but this weekend the following things happened:
I ran 12 miles (for the first time in 6 months)
I lost a toenail (for the first time in 6 months)
I ate a McFlurry (for the first time in 6 months)

All in that order.
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9 Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health September 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Wow, somehow you make it sound completely entertaining ;). Seriously, props to you for training for a marathon! That is hardcore and totally sweet!
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10 Hannah September 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I am hungry ALL the time!! πŸ™‚ seriously.. dreaming about food! for my first marathon i lost weight intially but then gained it back..
I also just bough compression socks and a ton of other running gear! ugh so much stuff.. but so worth it!
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11 Brandi @ The Vitamin Bee September 12, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Haha all of this is so true! Esp the weight gain and the husky feet. My toes have just returned to normal after the damage of last years training. I only had 6 toenails at one point.
I also had/have to give up heels during peak training. My legs just hurt so bad!
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12 Hollie@lolzthatswims September 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I was just actually thinking about this the other day. When I’m training for something is when my body weighs the most. How in the world they keep so small baffles my mind. Great post Alyssa!


13 Karla September 12, 2011 at 6:47 pm

well geee you make me ever so excited to train for my first one this spring! haha. I will NOT gain weight. I can’t… haha. You are gonna rock it–I’m so excited for you =)
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14 Sarah OUaL September 12, 2011 at 7:14 pm

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CLIF GEL WHAT?!!!! Must go find right now.
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15 Kristen @ notsodomesticated September 12, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Good for you for telling it like it is!

I’m training for a half right now, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do a full. A half is way more manageable. But even with the half, I totally agree that you’re hungry all the time, and I think I’ve gained a couple of pounds! πŸ˜‰
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16 alyssa - fashion fitness foodie September 12, 2011 at 8:23 pm

same thing for a half marathon?? please say no πŸ™‚

ps you look like a model in your side picture!
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17 Allie {a teaspoon of LIFE} September 12, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Haha. I only did a half. But I remember how my life revolved around putting appropriate things in my mouth at appropriate times, and trying to stop myself from eating everything I could fit into my pie hole. Boo.
Go you! I’ll never do it again, but I’ll gladly watch you, feel your pain, and cheer you on πŸ™‚


18 Alexa @ Simple Eats September 12, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Seriously, this sounds like a second job. More power to you, girl!
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19 Georgia @ Trying Something New September 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm

This post is hilarious! And it really hits close to home. I’m currently training for a 5K (which isn’t nearly as impressive as a marathon, but still!) and my roommate is training for a 10K. The gu’s are a part of our balanced diet, and every other night we massage and ice our legs while watching TV. Hilarity ensues, of course. Keep up the great work!
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20 julie September 13, 2011 at 12:42 am

i want to run a marathon just so i can stick one of those 26.2 stickers on my car. but i am just not going to ever do that hahahaha i’ll leave that up to amazing people like you. in the mean time maybe i’ll just buy one of those stickers and put it on my car anyway haha
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21 Julia @ The Coffee Crazed Teacher September 13, 2011 at 1:04 am

You are too much! This post had me literally laughing out loud.

Sounds like a blast, man I need to jump on board πŸ™‚ But really, you gain weight? You are gorgeous even with black and blue toe nails, I am sure of it!


22 Julia @ The Coffee Crazed Teacher September 13, 2011 at 1:05 am

I am with you on that one!
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23 LeeAnn September 13, 2011 at 2:24 am

I’m training for my first marathon (less than a month away!) and I completely love this post!! I want to eat! I am hoping my jeans fit once I am DONE training!


24 sara @ the foodie diaries September 13, 2011 at 2:56 am

I’ve never trained for a marathon (or even ran in a race) so I don’t know what you’re going through, BUT I can relate to Buddy the Elf (what’s your favorite color?? πŸ˜‰ ) hahahaha
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25 Claire @ let's go on a living spree September 13, 2011 at 3:10 am

You are so right!!! Like a huge bubble. That’s what I feel like, especially the week before the race. Your muscles hold on to so much fluid and every week you have to carb-load (well every week once you get up to the longer runs). I hate the feeling. But I love the feeling that running gives me, like euphoria. Totally addicting. I’m an addict πŸ˜‰
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26 Claire @ let's go on a living spree September 13, 2011 at 3:13 am

Oh, and if you wanna use GUs during the race, just pin them at the top of your waistband right under your tank top (so they don’t flop around). I love GUs so I typically carry them myself. I usually have a back pocket in my tights or shorts to put two of them and just have to pin one to my waistband.

Have you tried the Jet Blackberry GU? It’s like fresh blackberries, no joke! Amazeballs πŸ™‚
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27 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun September 13, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Awesome post!!!! And you both look so cute in that ice bath together. Makes me want to hop in with you and join the fun times. I would love to have a blog running body to train with! Especially the both of you. πŸ˜‰
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28 Lauren September 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm

I’m not training for a full, but I’m constantly stretching everywhere and spend way too much time thinking about eating! Ah, the life of a runner πŸ™‚
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29 Shannon@ Hungry Gazelle September 13, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Oh my gosh, I totally pulled the Buddy the Elf move on an escalator in Vegas right before my wedding and totally broke my face. Well, it wasn’t actually “broken”, but it could have been. And since it’s my story, I just say that I broke my face right before my wedding in a totally non-booze non-escalator related way. Then everyone is super impressed when they see my pictures! Voila!
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30 Sami September 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm

dudeee i know what you mean…and it’s like delayed hunger, too. so sometimes after a long run, i’m not that hungry, but by the morning, i could eat like 1093248209358 bowls of oatmeal.
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31 Caroline September 15, 2011 at 11:28 pm

I can completely relate!! I’m training for my first marathon and I have my twenty mile run tomorrow – ah! I’m probably my heaviest weight I’ve ever been right now too. Totally not fair. haha
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