Even Marathon Runners Hate Running

As I shuffled along the Lake Shore path during a long training run, I spotted a guy going the other direction wearing a t-shirt that said “Running Sucks.” I couldn’t have agreed more. I would have rather been eating waffles in bed, sipping a mimosa, and enjoying a lazy Saturday. But instead I was out here slogging away. I was 12 miles in, and I still had 8 miles to go.

Even though I had my credit card ready the minute registration opened last January so I could grab one of the 45,000 coveted spots, I knew this would happen. This isn’t my first marathon rodeo. There’s always one run (or two, or three, or probably many, many more) in the 18 weeks of training that isn’t very pleasant for whatever reason. Maybe I snuck one too many Oreos that week. Maybe I didn’t sleep well the night before. Maybe I just didn’t feel like running 20 miles on that particular day.

Even sometimes marathon runners hate running. That’s one thing that never ceases to surprise me. And I’m sure the “normals” — the folks who I don’t talk to about this silly thing I decided to do, to run 26.2 miles — would be shocked to hear me admit that yeah, sometimes running sucks. I don’t love it. And it doesn’t get easier, no matter how many marathons I train for and run.

But there is one thing that does get easier, and that’s avoiding excuses. I think that’s true with anything that becomes habit, like transitioning from a once-a-monther to a few-times-a-weeker at the gym. It doesn’t necessarily get any easier to head to the gym on days you don’t feel like it. It just means that every morning you pack workout clothes, because that’s what you habitually do.

It’s the same with running on the hard days. Lacing up my running shoes and run X miles today according to my training program is just what I have to do, and so I do it. And the great thing is that I can eat waffles and drink mimosas afterwards, and they will taste even more delicious than they would have had I skipped my run.

Betsy Mikel | betsymikel.com