How to Fit Marathon Training into Your Life

“How do you DO it?”

I’m only in week 3 of marathon training, but I have already heard that question a few times. How do I fit in all the workouts? How do I go running for hours at a time? How do I go running after a long day at work?

Well, there’s a reason Nike’s slogan has done so well. As an athlete, you just…DO it.

The truth is, I don’t always have time to fit in every workout. So I have to make time. There may only be 24 hours in the day, but there’s a way to make them count. Here’s how I do it.

It’s not always easy, and it takes a lot of planning and sacrifice. But, if you’re a runner, you know it’s worth it. //

Chores: Luckily, my husband-to-be is supportive of my goal to run the marathon, so he doesn’t give me too much flack when I say I’ll clean the bathroom after I finish my run and…don’t. Having his support & help takes some of the pressure off. I also have super exciting laundry parties while I watch my couple hours of recorded shows on the weekend. I do most of my cleaning on Saturday after my long run, when I am all sweaty and gross anyway. That way I want to shower, but have to clean up first—then I can clean myself up! (Oh, and take care of that shower cleaning at the same time.)

Cooking: On Sunday, I do lots of food prep for the week. I try to map out the meals we’ll have during the week & go grocery shopping for everything at once. I plan to cook extra on nights I have spare time (rest days, or easy run days) so that we can eat leftovers on the following days when I have longer workouts taking up my evenings. There’s nothing worse than coming home hungry after a 6-mile run at 7:30 with nothing to eat for dinner! Cook extra at every meal, freeze leftovers for later, cut up all your fruits and veggies for the week so you have them ready for snacks & healthy side dishes. Oh, and, the crock pot is your friend!

Working late: I’ve now had to turn my extra evening hours into extra morning hours. It sucks getting up so early some mornings, but getting into work an hour or two before everyone else means I’m super productive with no distractions, versus trying to work at the end of the day when you’re still apt to be distracted by other stragglers, emails, or are simple mentally checked out for the day. (Not to mention thinking about dinner.)

Social life: I do miss out on the weekend partying with friends, but on the other hand, I have to admit I’m glad I don’t have to deal with the hangovers and couple extra pounds around the tummy. I now run or bike with friends and my running club, which means we talk about anything & everything as we slog through the miles. We usually grab coffee afterwards on Saturday mornings, head to the farmer’s market while we chat & grab a treat, or sometimes even grab dinner after a workout during the week. So I still get lots of socializing in, while checking another workout off the list. Win, win!

Those crazy long runs that can last for hours: Since I’m training for a marathon, the long run is the most important piece of my training, and I mold my week’s training, work & social plans around that. I have to make it my first priority. I usually aim to run it on the weekend, when I have so much more free time. I put in the miles with my running club and my training buddy, Liz, so it’s more fun and sociable. I get it in first thing in the morning, so even if I need a post-run nap, I’m still back up and moving before noon. If I can check off that long run on Saturday morning, that leaves Saturday night to go have some fun with friends still.

It’s not always easy, and it takes a lot of planning and sacrifice. But, if you’re a runner, you know it’s worth it. Every time I put in a couple miles and come home to take those shoes off, I smile that I’m that many miles closer to running 26.2 miles, and I’m that many miles stronger than I was yesterday…physically and mentally. And that makes life sweeter all around.

Do you have any tips on how to fit in training with a busy schedule? Do you have to sacrifice anything, or have you found a perfect balance? Any other tips? I’d love to have ‘em as my mileage is only going to increase from here on out!


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