Making time for Marathon Training

As I’ve discussed at least once a month, my life can get a little crazy. Oh wait, that’s basically ever person alive, right? Add training for a race into this equation and I know I’m also not alone when people in your life question regularly ask “how do you find time?” or “I just don’t have the time to do something like that”.
There are times when I question it myself. You’re running or cross-training 5-6 days a week. You have should watch what you’re eating, and are often eating every 2-3 hours. You’re either in bed and up early, or cranky because you’re always tired. You have to arrange your schedule around your training, or you end up feeling guilty or resentment because you missed something.
I’m making this sound fabulous, aren’t I? Back in June, the Wall Street Journal shared secrets to getting extra hours in the day from triathletes, and it got me thinking. Just how does one begin to think about training for an endurance event while managing life?
To start, you have to really want it. Being only partway into training for a race mentally (I’ll argue it could be almost a spiritual commitment) will leave you willing to part ways with training when things get tough. Toeing the line for a marathon without being well trained isn’t just a bad idea, it could be unhealthy. This time around, I’m raising money for Girls on the Run Chicago, which keeps me focused on my bigger goal: helping girls become strong, confident, powerful women.
You have to be committed. You have to be willing to run when it’s raining, or snowing. There will be days when you just don’t feel like running, or training, and yet you’ll have to slog it out. Not every run will feel great, and there will brother days where you have to hold yourself back from running longer or harder than you’d like.

AlarmsYou have to make trade-offs. Inevitably, you will have to prioritize something against something else. Sometimes it’s as simple as drinking water at happy hour, other times it will be not attending an event, or saying no to friends because you have to run. Keeping your eye on your goal will help make this more bearable, but there will be days that you despise this goal because you realize you can’t do everything.
Figure out your thing. I’m a morning runner. It’s a rare day that I’ll get home from work, put on running clothes and get out the door. I know that if I don’t run in the morning, there’s a very good chance it won’t happen.

Perfect Sunrise RunSome friendly advice

I asked some other busy people who also do endurance races some of their secrets. They give good advice:

Back when I was training, I would do my long runs TO somewhere (leave clothes at a family gathering site, and run to it- leave clothes at work, etc). It took some planning, but it was efficient use of time.” – Nick M

Be willing to run at any time of the day just to get it in. I’m a morning runner, but if I only have someone to way the kids later in the day then I run later in the day. Flexibility.” Jen T

Wake up early (any 5 mile or under run gets done before work), and no drinking on weekends until after long run is done.” – Jillian H

It’s also super helpful to have already plotted out what key workouts need to get done for the week, so that even if things have to get moved around a bit, you’re on target by the end of the week.” – Meghan H

Training means sacrifices. But, if I want to meet my running goal, I know that it’s necessary and try to schedule my life around training.” – Justin S.

I schedule long runs (and all workouts) on my work calendar. And I keep the appointment. Usually just before or after work, though I did some lunchtime runs.” – Margie M

Have a real conversation with your spouse/partner/significant other about what your training schedule will look like. Ask for help on some of your household responsibilities and then allow them to train for something they want to and pitch in then.” – Heather M

I’ve got some smart friends… and realized just how many of my friends are runners or bikers!  I love it.

What advice do you have for making time to train?

What questions do you want answered about training?

Are you a morning, afternoon, or an evening runner?

5 thoughts on “Making time for Marathon Training

  1. JessRunsATL

    Huge fan of the morning run! One thing I’m going to try to incorporate this cycle is a mid-week date night where I’m not allowed to talk about running to my boyfriend. Need to learn how to turn my mind off from training!

  2. Great tips, thanks! It’s so hard to find time for training. I’ve learned to become a super early morning runner (I’m talking like 4 a.m. early). And I agree w/ Jillian – no drinking on the weekends until after the long run is done. 🙂

  3. MeganB

    I love this! It’s been awhile since I did any real training and I’m in the midst of training for a half marathon now. My husband works most weekends and although he has the flexibility to work early mornings or afternoon/evenings, I had to ask him to work late every Saturday in the next couple of months in order for me to be able to do my long run and him to be home with the kids. He’s the best and so supportive and never batted an eye lash about it. I always forget that the training isn’t just about me but it really involves my entire family because I like to be home early on Fridays, and my husband has to work a certain schedule on Saturday and my kids have to deal with my workouts otherwise. I’m really very thankful for their support!

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