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The 8 emotional stages of marathon training

If you've ever run a marathon, this will all sound familiar. And if you haven't, here's what your next 12 weeks will look like

Today marks 10 weeks out from September, that’s right folks, it’s officially fall marathon training time. If you’re looking at a mid-September marathon, chances are you’re already training. And if your goal is October, then you’re just about to get started. Here’s what you can expect emotionally during your marathon build.

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Stage 1: I am going to run a marathon

Whether it’s your first marathon or your 30th, the decision to race 42.2K is certainly the first step. This stage is filled with excitement and anticipation.

Stage 2: This isn’t so bad

It’s not so bad–yet. Stage two is when a runner is in the beginning of their build and therefore also at much lower mileage than will be found on their training logs in the weeks to come. Enjoy this phase while it lasts–you’ll look back on this stage longingly in the coming weeks.

Stage 3: No sorry, I can’t come out tonight

This is when training is becoming not-so-easy and your bedtime is creeping up on you every night. At this point, 9 p.m. feels like 2 a.m. and you’re leaving your desk during the work day to take power naps in the washroom. So no, you’re not available to meet for drinks at 9:30.

Stage 4: Eat everything

The extreme fatigue stage is closely followed by the extreme hunger phase. In fact, this stage is kind of fun. As long as you’re not existing on McDonald’s alone, marathon training is a bit of a caloric hall pass. Enjoy an extra slice of cake as your mileage is building, because chances are you’re running it off tomorrow.

Stage 5: Why did I sign up for this

Stage five comes around week six of your build. This is when your mileage is peaking and your body and mind are becoming fatigued. Common thoughts associated with stage five are, “Do I really care about this race?”, “It was only $100 to enter…,” “Has running completely consumed me?”and “I can’t afford these grocery bills.”

Stage 6: Injury approaching

If you’re not taking care of yourself during your training, weeks six through nine can be rough. You may be running more than you ever have before, and if you’re not recovering properly, this is when your body starts ringing the alarm. If you’re feeling something that’s more than fatigue, be sure to take a few days to cross-train before that pain develops into anything serious.

Stage 7: The taper crazies

Ahh, the taper. A tough time for many as the mileage that was once causing you to question your very existence has down dropped down to what feels like nothing. Take this taper time to rest but also to have a little fun. Be crazy and go for brunch on a Saturday because you don’t have to run a billion kilometres, or better yet, take a day off. Live a little and let your training sink in.

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Stage 8: Sweet relief

Race day has arrived and you’ve accomplished something huge. Hopefully you hit your goal time, but even if you don’t, you can take comfort in the fact that you don’t have to wake up and run for at minimum two weeks. Happy celebration (read: sleeping punctuated by eating).