1. A happier liver. While I haven't given up booze for the marathon I have cut down on my gin consumption a lot. I do all my training in the morning so a night on the gin followed up a 15 mile run isn't an appealing combination.
2. No hangovers. Related to the above. No weekend time is wasted feeling hungover, trying to piece together the goings on of the previous night from bar receipts and Uber emails or feeling paranoid about did I say blah, do blah and ohemgee do all my friends hate me now?
3. A happier wallet. When half my weekend is spent wearing running gear, there's less time and need for shopping. My running isn't yet at a level where I can shop on my phone while running. Thank goodness.
4. A whole new "sportswear" section of my wardrobe. I now have trainers in every shade of pink and purple known to (wo)man, a lot of running leggings and actually get excited about having a rummage in the hell that is a Sports Direct store for new gear.
5. That post-run glow. No amount of make-up and skincare can replicate the rosy glow that a long run gives. I read horror stories about running causing acne and wrinkles but my skin has been looking good (maybe also in part to the first point, too).
6. Food, glorious food. Sadly marathon running does not allow you to become a regular at McDonalds and still lose weight but a weekly slice of cake now doesn't trigger quite the same carb-related guilt as it once did. I have also re-discovered bagels and they are so good that I may have to sign up to another marathon so that I can continue eating them.
7. Abs. Yes, they are teeny tiny baby abs and they only make themselves visible in the morning but I now have abs without doing a single sit-up. Running works your whole body and burns fat but no I have not turned into a "eww gross muscle-y" man and nor have I ruined my knees. Ignore advice from anyone whose running experience consists of running for the bus.
8. JOMO (joy of missing out). Yes there have been nights out where I've felt envious of my cocktail drinking friends but there has been far more JOMO where I've not felt guilty about not going to an event where I'll be stuck talking about the scintillating subjects of is "how work going" or "do I have a boyfriend yet" or having to listen to someone paid goodness knows how many times the national average wage moan about their lack of bonus.
9. Extreme Netflix-ing. Practically a counter-sport to running, a good Netflix session is the ultimate preparation the night before a long run.
10. Unlikely friendships. When you tell people you are running a marathon, the people you least expect to even own a pair of trainers will tell you their story of running one too. N'awww.
11. Time flying by. Adult life can feel like groundhog day without end of terms and exams to add a bit of variety. Add in a scary challenge at the end of April to your diary and time literally skips past.
12. That superwoman feeling. I don't spend every minute of every run feeling awesome but the feeling when you realise you've finished an 18-miler or run further from home then you ever have done is pretty hard to beat. Don't trip on my invisible cape, please.
Have you ran a marathon? Or is your sanity intact?