Why-The-Hell-Did-I-Sign-Up Phase of Marathon Training

There comes a point in my marathon training when I start to lose steam.  This phase is typically sandwiched between the “height” (feeling strong and happy) and “taper crazies” phases of marathon training.  I call it “Why-The-Hell-Did-I-Sign-Up Phase.”  I’m knee-deep in it now. This morning’s 13-miler was just awful.


When I first sign up for a race, my head is full of hopes and dreams.  I start having visions of weigh-loss and PRs.  And once the training starts, I get swept up in the excitement of increasing mileage and speed work.  I’m excited for every work-out, even cross training.  And for some reason, usually about a month before the big race, my attitude changes.

I start getting frustrated on long runs.  I start talking myself into lower mileage than planned because I get annoyed with the run.  I start thinking that I hate running.  I start wondering, why the hell did I decide to sign up for a marathon?  I don’t know why this happens and I never deal very well with this phase.

Does this happen to anyone else?

So I have come up with some ways I battle the next few weeks (until I enter into taper crazy – and that’s a whole other phase of insanity)

1.  Realize that this is ALL MENTAL.  In fact, I have come to realize that this phase for me is the most crucial part of my marathon training.  Every time I want to quit on a long run, I remind myself, “if I can tough it out through this phase, I am mentally ready for a marathon.”

2. Do NOT Run Alone.  I hardly ever run alone for safety reasons but when I’m in this phase, I always make sure I have a few running buddies that will help to push me or guilt me (which ever works best) into completing my runs.

3.  New Routes. This helps a little.  New scenery helps to distract from the mental fatigue.

4.  Stalk Elite Runners On Social Media.  I know it sounds crazy…  and a little creepy.  I love looking at elite runners pictures of their routes and read about their training.  They inspire me.  I especially love elite, Mom runners (Lauren Fleshman, Kara Goucher, you name them).  If they can do it, I can.

Anyone else have tips?  I have 20-22 miles next weekend so that will be my big test.  Run Safe. Run Happy!


One thought on “Why-The-Hell-Did-I-Sign-Up Phase of Marathon Training

  1. I think what you are experiencing is normal! I love your tips to help you cope. Especially stalking elite runners on social media. The newest issue of RW has a great article on Kara Goucher. And I will always run with you when you need a buddy 🙂

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