10 things you’ll only know if you’re a marathon runner

From marathon novices to veterans, there are some things that everyone will go through as both bodies and minds are pushed to their limits. So let’s Go Big Together. It’s all worth it for those humble brags.

1. Your feet are no longer fit for public appearances

Who needs toenails anyway? They just get in the way. One of the effects of long distance running is you may have to say goodbye to one or two, you can probably say goodbye to open-toed shoes and manicures while you’re at it. Oh, and don’t forget the blisters (you’ll never forget the blisters). When you’re racking up the miles, your feet may not be supermodel material, but they will get tougher and stronger with every step.

2. Teamwork helps you go the distance

Two marathon runners during an event

The effects of long distance running can take its toll, 26.2 miles in your stride is a lot easier when you have someone running with you. And if you don’t have a running buddy when you turn up at the starting line, it’s easy to make one along the way. Then you can support each other through the rough patches (and listen to each other complain about how this was the worst idea you’ve ever had).

3. You need to get off on the right foot

It may be a race against the clock, but you know that the most important thing is to pace yourself. The first mile is the hardest and sets the stage for the next 20 or so. Music is usually a good way to keep things steady (that’s why we created our very own Buxton Spotify Marathon playlist here), take your mind off the pain and all the miles still to cover. If you want to take the Bee Gees with you, go for it (no one’s going to judge you, honest)

4.Drink up or get bogged down

Marathon runner with Buxton Water in his hand

Hydration is important for any exercise, but especially in a marathon when you’re active for such a long time. It’s really easy to become dehydrated, so make sure to keep taking swigs of water throughout the run – just grab a bottle of Buxton at the water stations (don’t forget the water stations etiquette list we’ve put together here). You may need to relieve yourself enough times to rival a Labrador, but your body will thank you for it.

5. Graceful running is not a thing

Marathon Runners running on a road in fancy dress

Forget looking graceful, that’s for ballet dancers. You’re a marathon runner. So what if half the water in your bottle misses your mouth? Or your energy gel dribbles down your t-shirt. Remember, mud stains are now your badge of honour and if your mouth doubles as a flycatcher, so be it. You’ve got other things to worry about (like getting your jelly legs across that finish line).

6.There’s always something to look at

We’re not talking about the landscapes. When you take up running, you quickly learn that multicoloured is the new black. The louder the print, the better and there’s no such thing as ‘too much neon’. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as chafing, even with the best gear. So make sure you stock up on the Vaseline. And make sure you’ve got a dry change of clothes waiting for you at the finish line because you’re more than likely to get drenched – this is the UK after all.

7. Energy gels won’t win any culinary awards

When you need to recharge mid-run, they’ll do the job. Energy gels are easy to carry and you can knock one back without breaking your stride.

8. The ‘wall’ is real (and it’s a real pain)

The effects of long distance running have set in and your legs feel like concrete. Your lungs are burning. You feel like you're going nowhere. This is when the urge to quit comes into play, but it’s also the defining moment of any long-distance run. It’s both an obstacle and an opportunity. So, the more you train and prepare, the less intimidating it’ll seem. 

9. Social life? What social life?

Committing to a run or marathon means that your training and preparation quickly takes over any free time. You become the ‘Cinderella’ of your mates – always dashing off early and ditching uncomfortable footwear at all costs. But the sacrifice doesn’t feel so bad when you’re up bright and early, pounding the pavement the next morning, one step closer to your goal.

10. You wish you lived in a bungalow

If you thought nothing was more painful than the last couple of miles, just wait until you climb a flight of stairs the next day (or three). The effects of long distance running will begin and your entire body will hate you, but you’ll feel on top of the world knowing that you’ve pushed yourself to the very edge.

When you finally make your way across that finish line, you’ll find yourself walking taller (once the pain has subsided) and wearing your battle scars with pride. Because you know your body is capable of much more than you thought possible, you marathon hero, you.

Read more articles and tips on Marathon training here.

Marathon runner gesturing to the crowd

Water contributes to the maintenance of normal physical and cognitive function and normal regulation of body temperature. At least 2L of water, from all sources, should be consumed per day, as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle