“I like you because you join in on my weirdness.”
Last week, I was chatting with a friend and coworker who was preparing for her first 5k – shoutout to Holly who has now run her first 5k! As we were talking, she recalled something I told her awhile back about running a lot and training for a race – reaching the point where you’re hungry all the time. She laughed and told me I was right, she had reached that point.
First, I thought it was a good reminder that, in the running world, there’s always someone who understands what you’re going through. No matter how gross, borderline embarrassing or weird you think it is, you’re not the only one.
Second, it got me thinking about all those other things that happen to you when you run a lot, especially when you’re in the midst of training for a race, or just work out and lift a ton. From the increased appetite to feeling like an old fogey, these six things, to a normal person, probably seem weird. But to those of us who know, they’re totally normal.
All the Food and Good Food
On the one hand, you’ll become an eating machine.
A bottomless pit. An appetite rivaled only by NFL linemen and teenage boys entering their first growth spurt. You will subconsciously find yourself eyeing up the food of everyone who has the unfortunate circumstance of eating near you. Whether you say it to yourself or out loud, “You gonna finish that?” will cross your mind.
On the upside, you’ll get more conscious about what you’re eating.
You’ll plan ahead with good snacks and likely make better choices overall, knowing everything that goes into your body is fuel for your next workout.
Exhaustion and Energy
On the one hand, you’ll find yourself getting tired early.
I used to love getting ready at 9:30 to go out for a Saturday night on the town. Now, I secretly look forward to wearing sweats all weekend and crawling into bed at 9:30.
On the upside, you’ll have more energy throughout the day.
You may find yourself becoming more of a morning person, wanting to be productive on weekends, having better focus at work, enjoying a daily walk with your dogs, and especially, looking forward to a workout vs. sluggishly dreading it.
Sore and Strong
On the one hand, you’ll feel sore a lot.
More often than not, you’ll feel soreness somewhere in your body. When you get really entrenched in a fitness routine, whether hard lifting or training for a long race, you’ll notice simple tasks don’t come easily.
My husband, for example, lifts heavy and hard. There are days he struggles to put on socks and groans getting up off the couch. Then there’s me. When training for a big run or during race season, I have moments where bending down to put on shoes is taxing and the idea of going down stairs is horrifying.
On the upside, you’ll feel stronger.
And you’ll be stronger. From the simplest tasks like carrying a full load of groceries to your car, to helping a friend move and having no problem squatting down to pick up heavy boxes or lifting the couch.
Planning and Prioritizing
On the one hand, you’ll find yourself making decisions and plans based around a workout schedule.
I’ve passed up lunch dates, happy hours and nights out on the town because my training schedule was a priority. But I’ve never felt like I missed out on something, because those moments crossing the finish line make it all worth it.
On the upside, you’ll become a pro at prioritizing time and fitting more into your schedule than you ever thought possible.
Just as I’ve passed on fun things from time to time, I’ve also gotten really good at planning ahead and switching my long run or leg day. Sometimes that means getting up at 4:30 on Friday morning to knock out 10 miles before work. It’s all about making time to fit it all in.
Scheduled and Synched
On the one hand, you’ll become focused on, maybe obsessed with routine.
You’ll have a specific day you’ll do your long run, certain days earmarked for strength training and a planned rest day, all scheduled out to make sure everything’s covered.
On the upside, your body will start to recognize this routine and get really in-synch with your schedule. Find yourself hungrier and craving carbs on Fridays? Your body knows you do a long run every Saturday morning. When things really start firing on all cylinders, you’ll even notice your bowel movements are on point.
BTW, runners talk about and celebrate poop. We know there’s nothing better than a good one before a long run.
Hate and Love
On the one hand, you’ll have days where you hate running and working out, and do not want to do it.
There’s this misconception non-fitness folks have about fitness enthusiasts. They assume we love working out and running, and want to do it all the time. Like we’re lucky to have this magical desire to work out, and it requires no motivation or discipline whatsoever. While I will admit, this is sometimes true to a small degree, it’s not the whole story. You think I wouldn’t love to go home every night, put on sweats and park it in front of the couch for a Netflix binge? But…
On the upside, you’ll fall in love with the grind.
The days you hate running and working out are the exception, not the rule. Most of the time, you’ll enjoy it, look forward to it and know that it’s going to make you feel great.
What other totally normal things happen to you when you get deep into a training program? Things the outside world might think are weird? Comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.
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