How Marathon Training Has Changed Me
Saturday, August 02, 2014
I started training for my first marathon 5 weeks ago. Since I knew nothing about training for a race 42.2km in length, I researched a bunch of different training plans and settled with one that I thought would work best for me. The plan is 18 weeks long, with 6 days of running and 1 day off. It is this plan that has changed my life for the better.
One of my major problems has been compulsive exercise. As recent as June, I would work-out 2-3x a day despite the fact that I was no longer training for a sport that required that level of commitment. This put me at about 12-20 hours per week of exercise. Mostly I worked out to punish myself for slipping up with my diet or binge eating. Sometimes, I would go for runs in the middle of night because I couldn't sleep with the nagging voice telling me that I had not done enough. I remember running at 2am this June and a car slowed down beside me on an unlit street and started following me. Nothing happened, but I was terrified and knew that I should not be so reckless.
However, this training plan has me working out only once a day. I complete anywhere between 4-6 hours (so far) or exercise per week. This has changed my life for the better. Gone are the nights where I binged out of control. I am getting enough sleep. I have more energy. Although my iron and hemoglobin levels are still low, they are finally within the lower portion of the normal range. I feel confident and actually am happy with my appearance. I have lost 9lbs, making me only 6lbs away from my pre-injury/normal weight. I have also lost this weight without dieting. Don't get me wrong, I am still making healthy choices. However I also treat myself daily to foods such as ice cream or homemade baked goods. I have started new hobbies, such as SUP boarding.
Best of all, I am happy. I can't remember the last time I felt happy for this long. I smile without having to force the muscles on my face to contract. I laugh. In these past 5 weeks I have become the person that I always knew I was, but could not seem to be.