Marathon FAQs

Ever find yourself cornered at a party or in the office answering a million questions from family/friends/co-workers about marathon training? Like you’re being interrogated, the questions come flying one after another.

I love to talk about running and probably could do so all day long so I normally don’t mind these questions. Most of the time they are coming from non-runners, which makes things interesting.

  1. How far is a marathon? Definitely #1 FAQ. I’m still amazed that people don’t know this. Isn’t this common knowledge?
  2. So how far is the marathon you are going to run next week? Umm, yep…still 26.2 miles. This question annoys me slightly. All marathons are 26.2 miles. And yes, I mean MILES.
  3. Do you run every day? Nope. Then I explain the concept of a rest day.
  4. What do you eat? A very open-ended question. Do you mean pre-run, post-run, all the time? People assume I’m a super healthy eater (ha ha) and I watch what I eat (ha ha ha). Then I explain my love for DQ Blizzards.
  5. So you lose weight training for a marathon? Everyone is looking for a magic weight-loss plan but it ain’t marathoning. I explain that I do lose some weight when my mileage is high (more on this in another post) but generally my weight stays the same because I eat
  6. Are you going to finish the marathon you’re running next week? Umm, yep…that’s the plan.
  7. How long will it take you? This is always funny. I’ve gotten the range of 3 hours to 6 hours. Which always leads to the follow-up question…
  8. Wait, you are going to run the ENTIRE time? In general, yes. I may take a few brief walk breaks.
  9. Running is bad for your knees. I love this one. If I’m sick of answering questions at this point I explain the concept of adaption and their eyes usually glaze over with boredom.

Got anything to add to the list? Which question do you answer the most from family/friends/co-workers?

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  1. says

    Haha, these are all so true!

    I also love when people ask me if I’m “going to win the race”. Then I have to explain that the winner will probably outpace me by 3-4 minutes per mile. And then I have to explain why that is very, very fast.

  2. Elizabeth says

    Here is a good story for ya:

    I was running my very first 10K – the Crescent City Classic. Now, as you are aware, I do not break land speed records. My mom, hubs and nugget were at the finish line waiting for me. Like some short ridiculous period of time after the start, some Kenyan comes streaking across the finish, right? I’m probably at mile 2. My mom, bless her heart, was all leaning over the barrier because surely I was on my way, right? Hubs finally went “Mrs. Carol – we have a wait – get comfy.”

    My personal favorte question “Aren’t you afraid out there by yourself of being kidnapped?” Well I wasn’t before now, dumbass.

    Frankly, I’m more afraid of your untethered dog, you tool.

  3. says

    LOLZ, great list. One time some girl at a party asked me how many marathons my knees had left in them, or something ridiculous like that, when I told her how many I’d run. Then I punched her. (kidding. ;))
    Also, someone once said to me, “My grandma runs marathons! Not the long ones like you do, but like the 5K kind.” Oh, OK! 5K marathons! Of course! Hehe.
    Katie recently posted…TGIF, B*tches!My Profile

  4. says

    Until I started running, I had no idea how long a marathon was. I knew it was freakin long, but that’s it. I’ve only dipped into half marathons, but the #1 question I get is definitely regarding distance.
    “So how long is a half marathon?”
    “13.1 miles”
    “Oh wow…so how long is a full?”
    “Double the half…26.2 miles.”
    “Wow… My friend ran a marathon before. I think it was 3 miles or something.”
    Lena @Fit on the Rocks recently posted…My Trainer, The SadistMy Profile

  5. Camille says

    Hilarious list and I am a non runner. I thought the milage was common knowledge too like how many in a dozen! I must say that I have learned a lot from your blog about the preparation process and physiology of it all.

  6. says

    LOL! I like…. “you have to PAY to do a race??” Always enjoy the condescending “running is bad for your knees” and the “eww, I hate to run”…. Thanksssssss for your opinion, then whyy did you ask about it in the first place?
    Holly @ recently posted…20 Miles!My Profile

  7. says

    I love this! When I was preparing for GORUCK, my friend at work asked me “so does everyone running the marathon have to do this?”. During GORUCK, we were asked several times if it was a marathon (yes, people normally carry other people during marathons). I’ve explained to my grandmother like ten times why I don’t lose tons of weight during marathon training since I’m running so much, and I think I just need to give up on that one. I love the “what do you eat?”. Umm….everything anyone would normally eat, then tons more.
    Alyssa recently posted…The sexiest I have ever beenMy Profile

  8. says

    haha, I LOVE this! So true. I also get the one: “So, are you going to win?” And then the follow-up, “What’s the point of doing it if you don’t win or place?” I want to smack those people, who are usually overweight and stuffing their faces with hotdogs or something. :)
    Kelly recently posted…what goes around…My Profile

  9. says

    Great list! I’ve definitely heard all of those before too. My favorite recent question was “How does Boston compare to New York?” I began saying, “Well New York has more turns but Boston has more hills.” Response: blank stare then, “Oh! I meant which is longer…”
    David recently posted…Dumb Ideas: The Brooklyn Bridge at LunchtimeMy Profile

  10. Eileen says

    Wow. Did not realize this was such a mean girl site (Sorry, David). When non-runners ask me about running (not that I’m an expert), I try to answer in a way that encourages them to get out on the road themselves or to participate in a future event – just like the more experienced runners helped me when I started running. Seems a bit unkind to make fun of their lack of knowledge. Seriously. We all started somewhere.

  11. says

    I’m a huge fan of the “What do you eat” question. I’ve never run a marathon, but I’ve done 3 halves in the past year (less, muhah) and have been running nearly every single day for the last 6. People always assume that runners have to carb-load. I like bread; I do not like stuffing my face with it…or with any single ingredient or food group for that matter (unless you count Haribo as a food group). DQ Blizzards are awesome though – except that there are zero establishments in NYC or anywhere nearby. Major pitfall of Manhattan.
    Stacy L. recently posted…Monday’s Run and Tuesday’s Tasks: On Skin, Savings and SunshineMy Profile

  12. says

    I get the “How long is this marathon question.” One question that really annoys me is the “are you still running all the crazy marathons” question. Why, yes. Yes I am…

  13. AmandaRunsNY says

    ugh, I hate the running is bad for your knees comment. In all my running time, my knees have never once been injured. Sure they hurt like crazy when I first started running, but they just needed to get used to things. When will people get over the knees and running thing?


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