The Marathon Diaries: How to Have a Social Life During Marathon Training

Let's face it—training for a marathon eats up a lot of your extracurricular time. This week, Annie tries to find a healthy balance between running and playtime.

Annie snapped a photo during her run in Wissahickon Valley Park

I got an email from my friend a few months ago with a link to an article from The Onion, the funniest fake-news website ever. After laughing about how annoying marathoners are with all their marathon-related talk, I realized something: I’m totally one of those annoying marathoners now.

The truth of the matter is, I can talk about running for hours and hours: my shoes (Asics Kayanos 18s—best stability shoe ever), my favorite Gu flavor (Caffeinated Peach Tea), how much water I drink (10 glasses)—the topics are endless! One of these days, my non-running friends are going to slap me. One of my most supportive friends, Anne, swears she won’t, but I don’t think she can take another Friday afternoon conversation about my route for my upcoming long run.

Recently, Anne joined me for a boot camp workout on one of my cross-training days. I was so excited to have her come alone because normally a fitness class like boot camp wouldn’t be her thing. It was great to have a buddy to suffer with during all those burpees, and I was glad to see that she seemed to be enjoying it as much as a person can enjoy burpees. On the way home, I mentioned that I was kind of surprised that she liked it so much. She said she was motivated by all the running and workouts I’ve been doing in the past months to prepare for the race, and it made her want to take her workouts more seriously. I still think she secretly wants to slap me, though.

I’m glad my friends enjoy working out with me because I feel like that’s the only way I get to spend quality time with them. Sometimes I wonder how often I utter the phrase, “Sorry, I can’t—I have to go running” in the average week. I’ve turned down happy hours, dinners out, weekend trips. I’m like a broken record of boring.

So I made a resolution: I decided that in order to keep my friends from deleting my number from their iPhones, I wouldn’t bail on any fun plans they had in order to rest up for my 16 mile run last Sunday. That’s how I found myself at brunch in Fairmount on Saturday morning. And then in Northern Liberties for a few drinks … and then in Center City for dinner. I didn’t mention that I had to go home and go to bed so I could run in the morning, and I did my best to not talk about running at all. When I finally made it home, I guzzled water and put myself to bed, secretly praying that my alarm would happen to not go off the next morning.

It did, and I hit snooze; I took my time getting ready to start my run. Luckily, the weather was cool enough that I could run later in the day. I decided to try Lincoln Drive and Forbidden Drive for the first time, so I set out on Kelly planning to do eight miles out and eight miles back. While my route was beautiful, the run definitely wasn’t ideal—I felt sluggish and a tad dehydrated. But staying out the night before didn’t completely ruin my day. It’s not something I would do every weekend before a run, but I realized that I don’t have to be a hermit until November 18th.

After my weekend of running and non-running excitement, I am definitely extra tired this week. Training can be inconvenient at times (like when you’d rather be out until 2 a.m. chowing down on some late-night pizza instead of going to bed early), but it’s also an awesome journey. I realize that sometimes I need to concentrate on creating a better life balance for myself. While I’m happy that balance is on my mind, I bet my poor non-running friends are even happier. How do you guys keep from driving your family and friends crazy with race talk and training schedules?

Forty-nine days until race day!

(Side note: Thanks to all of your suggestions from last week, I ran with my iPod on Kelly Drive, but turned it off when I hit Lincoln to see how running without music would go. I figured that such a new and beautiful environment would be the perfect place to try it. I was right! While I’ll probably still keep jamming out to music on most of my long runs, it’s nice to unplug for a little bit. I’ll definitely try it again!)


Annie Acri is an administrative assistant at the Drexel University College of Medicine and is working toward her master’s of communication degree. The 2012 Philadelphia Marathon will be her second marathon. Follow along every Tuesday as Annie posts about the ups and downs of training as she prepares for the big race on November 18th. Catch up on the series here.