Squeezing Training into Your Busy Life

The 2015 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon will be the first time my wife Ginny and I are both running the same marathon on the same day. That also means it will be the first time we will both be training for a marathon at the same time.

With two kids and jobs and all the rest of our lives wrapped around those training schedules, it means we face some challenges in getting it all done.

Maybe it’s a busy career, kids, a long commute or other responsibilities that fight for your time. Whatever the case, part of the challenge of training for a marathon is fitting it all in or deciding what needs to go away to make room for training.

So many kilometres to run, so little time

For Ginny and I, the timing seemed right this year for us to both train at the same time. Our girls are age 10 and 12 so they can hang out at home while either of us gets in a weeknight run, and they are quite helpful in handling a few of the household chores that frees up some additional minutes to run.

busierthanyouThe big challenge, of course, are the long Sunday morning runs that eat up hours and hours. The kids aren’t ready yet for being home for that long (and neither are we).

Right now, Ginny and I take turns running on Sunday mornings at our local Running Room. One week she goes to the store to run with the group, and then next week I go.

We’re very early in the training right now and the Sunday runs are pretty short. Running a solo 12km on Saturday on her weekend to run with the group isn’t all that tough. Once we get up into the runs that are 26km or more, it becomes more of a challenge.

We’re both fortunate to have some super running buddies who are willing to move a long run to Saturday, or wait until later in the day on Sunday to go out so many of our long runs won’t have to be done solo.

We are also blessed with some very supportive parents. My parents often take the kids for a few hours on Sunday so we can both run which is a great gift to both me and Ginny and really makes a difference in our training.

Adapting life to make time to run

It’s not always easy to manage training and that’s where you may have to be willing to make some sacrifices, or get creative to get it all in.

That could mean running very early in the morning or quite late at night. I’ve gone out at 5:00 a.m. for a 10km before work and also hit the streets at 9:00 p.m. when that was the only time I could get the run in. Those runs can be tough, but it’s important to remember that you committed to running the marathon and to use that to get ourselves out the door when we’d rather not.

Early morning run

Early morning run

I’ve also done things like getting my run in at lunchtime at work (thankfully we have a shower there we can use) and on a few occasions I’ve run the 13km to, or home from work because that was the only way to get the miles in.

Blend your training schedule with your life schedule

Whatever you do, make sure you have a schedule to follow and match it up with the schedule for the rest of your life each week. What events have you committed to that can’t move? Are there any runs that need to be moved around to ensure you get them in?

It’s far better to know on Monday that you need to move Thursday’s run to Friday morning and Sunday’s run to the afternoon than to try and make those adjustments on the fly.

Just do it

The most important thing in marathon training is to run the miles. Skipping runs leads to skipping more runs and that leads to trouble on race day. Give the training runs a high priority and do whatever it takes to fit them into your life. Sometimes that means moving runs around and other times it means moving life around to make room for running.

Good luck with the training!

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