What to Expect - Marathon Training

OK, so you read my last post on Deciding to Run a Marathon, and your heart and mind still said YES!  So you're in, you pick a marathon, and you're ready to train.  Yeah, that's right, the hard part... the training!

You mark out 20 weeks on your schedule and you put together a training plan.  And you're off!!!

What to expect...
Runs where you feel like you could go on forever.
Runs where you feel like you can't go one more step.
Chafing in corners that you didn't even know existed.
Toenails that decide to run away.
3 mile runs that feel impossible.
20 mile runs that feel liberating.
Days where you question what in the world you were thinking.
Days where you can "feel" that finish line and all that it means.
Friends that tell you you are crazy.
Friends that cheer you on and support you.
A new spot in your freezer just for ice packs.
A new smell following you around post-run that you finally realize is *you*.
Water bottles everywhere.
Ignored laundry piles and a sink full of dishes.
Napping at times only toddlers should be napping.
Times when you will, quite literally, eat everything nap stapled down.
Emergency potty-breaks mid-run.
A time when you are uber-motivated.
A time when you have absolutely no desire to get out and run.
Hot days, cold days, windy days, rainy days, snowy days... all days you need training.

Things to remember:
-You are defined by your best days, not by the bad ones.  And you will have bad days.  We all do.
-99.9% chance you will miss a run.  It is not the end of the world.  Your body will not suddenly become "untrained". 
-Get your rest when you can.  Your body will yearn for sleep... and when you can, yield to it!
-Ice is your friend.  Compression is your friend.  Baby your body.
-Listen to your body.  If something hurts (other than general soreness) or you're having reoccuring pain, pay attention and take care of the problem.  Many issues can be taken care of with a couple days of rest which is much less costly than getting yourself really injured and having to take weeks off.
-Don't be afraid to push yourself, but you shouldn't be pushing every single day.
-Trust your training, respect the schedule (within reason), and keep your eye on the finish line... which in this case, is getting to the starting line healthy, trained, and uninjured.

(I'm not sure why I felt compelled to write this little marathon series this week... but I did... so expect at least one more about the actual race.)