Life is moving at a crazy, fast pace lately (how I wish I could say the same for my running lol.) I’ve found myself juggling corporate work, race organizing, blogging, and motherhood along with Osaka Marathon training. It’s definitely a challenge, but, like anything in life, if you want something bad enough, you’ll try to make it work. And, with proper time management and commitment to the tasks at hand, I’ll tell you that it’s quite manageable…even fun if you’re cray like me! Should you find yourself in the same predicament in the future (or now!), here are my top 5 tips for training for a marathon while you’re busy with the rest of your life:
1+ PLAN AHEAD. If you run 3 or 4 times a week, plot that into your schedule at the start of the week. There will be times that work or family obligations will get in the way of your training (or worse, your longest run!) but that’s absolutely no excuse for missing the workout. While it’s early, plan to move your run a day earlier or later. No excuses, people!
2+ CHOOSE A PROGRAM THAT SUITS YOUR LIFESTYLE. There are tons of marathon programs to choose from: Higdon, Galloway, Hanson’s, and FIRST among others. Programs will vary not just in their intensity, but also in the number of days you run. FIRST will have you running 3x a week, while Hanson’s can have you running up to 6x per week. Just like running shoes, there’s no perfect running program out there, just the perfect program that works for you. So, choose one that will fit your lifestyle and allow you to enjoy marathon training without sacrificing work or family time.
3+ TRAIN WISELY. Make sure every single workout counts. We’re busy guys, so there’s no time for chit chat nor junk miles. If you only run 3x a week, use the two weekday runs for intervals and tempo and run long on the weekend. That’s bare minimum to get you to the finish line strong and happy.
4+ BE FLEXIBLE. Be prepared for any changes in your schedule and allow yourself to adjust accordingly. Your program isn’t set in stone so there will be times when you can modify it without hurting your training.
5+ RECOVER WELL. With everything that’s happening in your life, you’re either tired from training, tired from work, or tired from caring for your kids. My point is: whatever it is you’re dealing with, you are tired. Period. Make sure you recover well from training by eating a good mix of carbs and protein within 30 minutes after a hard or long run. Low fat chocolate mix is a great recovery drink too. I cannot over emphasise the importance of good nutrition. Eat clean, healthy meals to keep your energy levels steady throughout the day. When you’re exhausted from work or family duties, take a 15 break in the middle of the day to clear your mind. Lastly, make sure you get a good night’s sleep to give yourself energy to face another day. You can do it!