As week 4 of marathon training commences, thus the mileage steadily increases, now seems like the perfect time to talk about marathon training vs. life/work/family/social commitments etc.
Here are four things that I implement, or at least try to implement, to help ease the maranoia.
This is stating the obvious, but it’s arguably the most important point.
On weekdays I wake up between 4:30am – 6am (dependent on my schedule for that day), partly because running first thing is my absolute favourite, and partly because often that’s my only available time slot to run.
I must admit that the early morning runs are more appealing over summer, and sometimes I genuinely resort to slapping myself around the face to force myself to get out of bed. Slapping aside, I know that running always sets a productive and positive tone for the rest of the day, and that alone is all the motivation I need to just get on with it.
2. Meal planning (not meal prep)
I rarely (i.e. never) meal prep, and I know I knowwww I should. Obviously if you do meal prep then that’s great – but personally, spending a couple of hours on a Sunday to prep my food for the week just doesn’t appeal to me, and there are other things I would rather be doing with that time.
However, I do roughly plan out my meals for the week. I’m a ravenous beast after long runs (to be honest I’m a ravenous beast most of the time) so I find this ever so helpful.
This is something I will be able to do as of March (currently there’s not a shower in the office, so it would be a little unfair to subject my colleagues to the smell of my sweaty self all day!)
I used to run commute for part of the journey when I was working in Central London and it was a GAME CHANGER; raising my energy levels before work, saving some £££, and not being squished up against a commuter’s sweaty armpit on the tube are all huge pros.
4. Don’t be afraid to say no
I am terrible at this and often find myself committing to a million different things because I don’t want to hurt or disappoint anyone. As a consequence, I sometimes end up cutting a long run short, or not being able to focus on a session as in the back of my mind all I’m thinking is “I only have 20 minutes to get to XXX location as soon as this is over”.
Of course, this can and should be applied to all areas of life, not just running. However, I find it particularly challenging when marathon training to juggle all the things that I feel I should be doing.
Sometimes it’s okay to put yourself first and say no – taking care of yourself is NOT selfish.
I want to conclude this post by emphasising the fact that I know I have it easy compared to some. I have friends who have three kids, high pressured jobs (some work multiple jobs) and various other commitments – yet they still make the time to fit in a 20-mile run on a Sunday morning. These people are my inspiration, and if they can do it, I absolutely can do it.
How do you balance marathon training with life? Do you have any tips?