It’s not easy. Balancing a full time job, a social life (well kinda social), being an “adult”, and also training for a marathon. It’s a lot of work just finding the hours to fit in training runs, speed work, and don’t get me started on long runs. Distance running is a time consuming sport and takes more than just lacing up your sneakers to be successful. Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to getting ready for a marathon while also living the rest of your life with the real world.
1. Schedule your runs WAY ahead of time
When you live a busy life, you need to keep everything planned and on a schedule. This includes your marathon training. I like to start backwards, start at the day of your race and plan your training run in descending mileage from race day until the day you plan on starting your training. This way you make sure that you get in all of your miles before race day without running out of time toward the end of your training plan.
2. Find a training plan
This is super important. Finding a pre-made plan that fits your goal will help you stay consistent, train properly, and be well prepared for whichever race comes your way. There are plenty of free training plans online (these particular Jeff Galloway plans are a personal favorite) that can help you reach your next goal and fit your schedule.
3. Get a planner!
This sounds silly, but it is so helpful to actually have your training plan written down. This lets you see your plan broken our by week and plan your runs around your busy schedule. Keep all of your events in one place so you can see when you have time for those longer runs and when you need to lighten up your training schedule.
4. Be practical when planning runs
Be smart about what you plan for yourself. Are you really going to get up at the crack of dawn on a Friday morning to squeeze in a long run? No. Place your long runs on the weekend when you have time to properly prep and recover. Keep the work week for your speed work and maintenance runs that don’t take up as much time. Know when you get tired, and plan the most exhausting work days as rest days.
5. Schedule in makeup days
No one’s life is perfect, which means no one’s training plan is going to run perfectly either. Schedule in a few extra days into your schedule for those runs you had to skip. More importantly, don’t get down on yourself if you have to skip an important training run. It happens. Life happens. One skipped run won’t derail your entire training, you just have to get back on track as soon as you can and pick back up where you left off.
Those are just some of the most useful tips that I have used for training for a marathon while working full time. It’s not the easiest of tasks, but it makes the end so much more worth it. Good luck out there and happy training!