After six marathons, one runner learned some very important lessons.

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After crossing the finish line of my last marathon, I realized that I had just finished six marathons in two years. I never anticipated running multiple marathons within the space of 24 months, but as it turns out, there are a few things I didn’t quite anticipate regarding marathons. Here are 6 lessons I’ve learned after six marathons.

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  1. Marathons can be addictive. See above. The thing about the marathon that gets me is that it’s easy to think, “Oh wow, if I just pick up the pace a tiny bit (say 30 seconds per mile) then that’s a huge PR.” That’s how you end up running six marathons in two years. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  2. Your body can do incredible things. It still amazes me every time I cross a marathon finish line and I know that feeling of awe will never go away. It’s truly an accomplishment, testament and reminder of the strength we possess. Meaning, we (all runners—at whatever distance and pace) are all kinda badass.
  3. Take care of your body. That being said, you should treat your body right as it runs crazy distances! I’ve started getting massages from my physical therapist office after each marathon. I wait a few days and I’m gonna be honest it HURTS, but it makes my muscles feel better afterwards. I also make sure to take a few days (at least) of complete rest. My body deserves it.
  4. Running more = running faster. I’m going to say straight out that this is COMPLETELY my opinion. I know people who can get crazy fast while running lower mileage. I kind of wanted to be that person, but I am not. This past training season, I ran more mileage than I ever have and I set personal records in multiple distances (the 10k, the 10-miler and the marathon). I am confident that those PRs are in large part due to the fact that I ran more miles.
  5. Pick your poison when deciding when to train. Fall races = training through summer heat and spring races = training through winter snow and ice. I have done both and it’s absolutely a matter of personal preference. Personally, I’d rather train during the summer for a marathon than have to run 20 miles during a snow storm. But that’s just me.
  6. Running marathons does not give you carte blanche to eat ALL THE THINGS. Ah, yes. Many people think that I can just eat whatever I want because I run marathons. Sadly (SO very sadly) that is NOT true. In fact, if I eat a bunch of junk, it makes running much harder. And the fact is, it is extremely difficult to outrun a bad diet. Yes, I don’t sweat the occasional donut or two. But I don’t eat pepperoni pizza every day, no matter how much I’d like to!

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What have you learned from running races? Tweet @EatPrayRunDC and @WomensRunning and let us know!