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Top 10 Signs Marathon Training Has Taken Over Your Life

If you’ve ever trained for a marathon, you’ll know that there’s so much more to it than the actual running part. While programs may claim that you can train for one without having it take over your life, my experience has been that that’s rarely the case. Because the time you devout to training is not just measured by the hours you spend running. So even though you may only be running 3 or 4 days per week, the entire structure of your week often becomes all about those runs. And it probably won’t be long before you’ve developed a bad case of the Marathon Crazies.

Now I know what you might be thinking – that will never happen to me! There’s no way I’ll let myself get sucked into those Marathon Crazies…I have so many other things in my life that are way more important! Well friend, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but letting your training take over your life is a lot easier than you may think. In fact, if you experience any of the symptoms below, chances are you’ve got it bad.

Top 10 Signs that Marathon Training Has Taken Over Your Life (i.e. symptoms of the Marathon Crazies)

10.) The passage of time is measured by training plan week number. And your life revolves around the weekends, not because you have extra time for fun things, but because that’s when you do your long runs.

snippet of Nat'l Training Plan

9.) You constantly smell like Icy Hot, and have stopped caring about this fact when you’re out in public.

8.) Everything that goes into your mouth becomes “fuel.” And I mean everything – from that morning bowl of oatmeal to that piece of cake you enjoy after dinner….because it’s all about the carbs, right? Or giving yourself a much-deserved treat after a particularly challenging run.

carrot cake

7.) You worry about getting enough sleep not because you want to feel rested and alert on the job, but because being tired could negatively affect the tempo run you have scheduled the next day.

6.) Your weekend nights start to look like this. Both the night before your long run so you can rest and fuel, and the night after so you can rest and re-fuel.

5.) You judge new music you hear on the radio based upon how good it would be to run to.

4.) You check the weather obsessively. At any given time, you know the projected forecast for the next 5 days, including sunrise and sunset, chance of precipitation, windchill factor, and whether there’s even a remote possibility that a winter storm can blow through, dumping extra snow before your run.


On the day leading up to your long run, you refresh the forecast every 15 minutes on the off-chance that things have changed since you last checked.

15 min forecast

3.) You arrange your long run around the warmest part of the day in the winter/coolest in the summer. You delay getting started because that 2 degree temperature change really does make a difference.

2.) Compression socks become your favorite fashion accessory.

compression socks.jpg

1.) Your training becomes relevant to any and all conversations without even trying. People talking about the weather? You comment on how awful/wonderful it is to run in this. Plans for the weekend? Running, of course. Co-workers excited about new clothes/shoes they got on sale? Wait till they hear about those new Nike running tights you found on clearance! And when you can no longer find anyone who will listen to your obsessive ramblings, you turn to your running friends, sending them email after email venting, asking for advice, and trying to get their thoughts about running in 50 mph gusting winds.

If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, chances are you’ve got a bad case of the Marathon Crazies. Unfortunately, the only known cure is running that marathon. But don’t worry – you’re not alone. Thousands of runners are hit by the crazies every year. And as long as your loved ones don’t get sick of you before your training plan ends, you should come out of the training cycle without any permanent damage*.


*Unless, of course, you catch the highly-contagious marathon bug, and choose to submit yourself to a never-ending cycle of marathon training. If that’s the case, well, you’re out of luck.

31 Responses to Top 10 Signs Marathon Training Has Taken Over Your Life

  1. Haha! I love this post! I am not in training for a marathon yet but I fond myself relating to this as I train for 1/2s. I am constantly thinking “running playlist” and even search the Billboard chart for ideas.
    Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans´s last post ..A Love Triangle

  2. Haha! This is great!
    Rach´s last post ..An Eccentric Experience

  3. I want that cake! That looks delicious. Belated congrats on your 20 miles! When we were kids, we used to LOVE leaving water bottles hidden on random streets that my Dad was going to run down while training for marathons. It was a super fun game and I’m sure he appreciated the hydration.
    Erin @ Big Girl Feats´s last post ..The Weight Is Over

  4. Oh my gosh that is so insightful – each and every one of those points is bang on!! and what about the inevitable post-marathon blues – it takes over your life, even after you’ve finished!
    Laurie @ These Happy Feet´s last post ..How not to run a half marathon

  5. I am a goner, I’ve been taken over by the marathon crazies for sure!

    And there is that cake again….you are just teasing me, LOL.

  6. This is so true, Lauren!! Numbers 10, 8, 7, 6, 4 and 1 are especially true for me. This post reminded me of how much of time I spend THINKING about marathon training, aside from the actual training, and how consuming that is! Everything from thinking about what and when I eat to the weather to what time I need to go to bed and wake up gets analyzed! And it never stops – once one run is over, its onto thinking about the next one. I have a love/hate relationship with this lifestyle, for sure. It’s not hard to see how elite athletes do this as a full-time job!
    SO glad you were able to do your 20 miler!! I hope your butt felt okay :)
    Also, you are totally making me want carrot cake! Can I put in a (very) early birthday request? It’s in November…

    • I hear you on the love/hate relationship. But the craziest thing of all is – when it all comes down to it, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  7. I love this post! Pretty much sums up my behavior when training for the Amica in October, and how I’m getting now training for Providence Rhode Races! Oh, and I get to meet you on Sunday:) I’m meeting up with you and Becky at the Expo pre-race. Looking forward to it!

  8. Hilarious post Lauren! I definitely get the marathon crazies and probably drive my non runner friends nuts

  9. Love this post- too too funny. I think my weekends will always revolve around running no matter what… I love it too much : )
    Lizzy´s last post ..Foxboro 5K &amp Weekly Recap

  10. Laughing out loud! We ARE the marathon crazies. This is a vicious cycle that I will never break free from. Although it’s not so bad when one of your best friends suffers from the same symptoms. Two marathon crazies are better than one! And we NEED to make some carrot cake soon.
    Becky´s last post ..Wind- Weather- and 20 Miles

  11. Cute post. I ran a marathon several years ago and totally went through all of this! Well not the compression socks, but the rest of it!
    Lee´s last post ..Kitchen Sink Curry

  12. I definitely have the marathon crazies!! Never ends, but I think I’m okay with that.

    I need more compression socks…
    Susan´s last post ..Runniversary to City Bakery

  13. Haha, I love this post! Everything is so, so true. It makes me sad that I’m injured, as I should be experiencing these symptoms right now! Carrot cake is the best post-run fuel I can think of :)

    • Oh no! Sorry to hear you’re injured. I find that I never want to run so much as when I’m unable to because of an injury. You’d think it would make me stop complaining about running when I’m healthy…

  14. Hahahaha, every single one of these is true. Ahhh, only the things training folks understand…

  15. oh man, I’m definitely a marathon crazy for life! add to my list: plans all vacation time around marathon training schedule and shows up for social occasions wearing at least one article of athletic clothing and my running shoes (protecting my feet trumps fashion obviously.)
    Emily´s last post ..Presidents Day Spring Cling

    • haha yes! I may or may not have convinced my parents to go out to DC for a mini vacation to celebrate my mom’s birthday…annnnd to run the National Marathon (she’s doing the half). Perfect family vaca :)

  16. LOL yessss to all of the above! Weather checking, compression socks, FUEL! Gotta love marathon training :)
    Aron´s last post ..Rest days

  17. I’m not even training for a marathon, but these tips still apply! If I hear a good song, I write it down asap because it would be awesome for my one of many running playlists. I check the weather obsessively to plan runs because I’m lucky if I get a warm day or a warm hour in a day!
    Lauren´s last post ..Decisions- Decisions

  18. I hope you wore your compression socks with flats out in public. It’s definitely a hot look and it may catch on!!

  19. so very true. Everything gets measured in how many weeks until the marathon or gets scheduled around when I plan to do my long run! I am overly obsessive about the weather and my GU gels that I plan to inhale over the course of the run. LOL

  20. I’m going through that right now, but I’m only on week seven and my mileage is only like 30 miles per week! yipes. I have to post a link to this, it’s too great.
    Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards)´s last post ..Marathon Training Emotional Phase Two- Apathy Plus- a Green Giveaway!

  21. So true, so true :)
    Brittney´s last post ..What Do You Think

  22. Hahahaha, I just found this and it is cracking me up. Especially #1. If people knew how many emails my running friends sent around every single day about our previous run, next run, training, fueling, rest, clothing, weather, etc they would be shocked :)

  23. Just found your blog today (love it!), and was looking at some of your past posts. This one had me laughing so hard, because it’s pretty much me exactly (like every marathoner in training), and I’m only training for a half!! Yikes, I can only imagine how I’d be training for a full.

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