Marathon Training-A Balancing Act

 

               Family, Work and Running

Let’s face it, most of us are not, and will never be professional runners. We have family and careers outside of running. That doesn’t mean we don’t have big goals and that we don’t take our training seriously.  Getting in workouts and recovery would definitely be so much easier if “adulting” didn’t get in the way.  Training for endurance events can be time consuming and drain our energy for other daily activities.

As a teacher, coach, wife and mother I am already extremely busy.  I am so super lucky to have an amazingly supportive and flexible husband.  It is largely thanks to him, that I am able to balance chasing my goals and taking care of my other commitments.  Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to find balance

  • Communication– Discussing your plans and time commitments help make daily training easier for your family. Before I sign up for a race, I discuss it with my husband so that he is aware of what I am committing too. Races can take time, energy and resources from my family so it is important to me that my husband supports my decision.Planning ahead is a huge help in avoiding time and commitment conflicts.
  • Prioritize- Running is a priority for me. I don’t take missing a workout lightly.  However, family and work must trump training.  I will not put running before the needs of my family or my job.  Luckily, I rarely need to give up one for the other.
  • Flexibility- Getting up at stupid o’clock in the morning or hitting the gym later than I would like are important to making sure my family’s needs are met before my training. Getting up at 4:30 am is not my idea of fun, but sometimes it’s what works best for us.   This also means running a long run alone instead of joining a group run so that my family can have an opportunity to do what makes them happy. I try not to
  • Consistency-I try not to vary my training times too much, so that we can have consistency at home. Have rest days on the same days really helps us plan ahead. Getting my workout in before my daughter wakes up, or before I get home from work helps her a lot with transitions.
  • Quality vs. Quantity- If you don’t have as much time to train as you may like, focus on quality over quantity. Goal specific workouts will have much more of an impact on your fitness levels.  Days that you are pressed for time can be shorter runs or recovery days and day when you have a bit more time can be spent on quality sessions that stress specific systems.
  • Giving back- I am always looking for ways to give back to my family. Spending quality mommy daughter days with my kiddo when time allows and I try to give my husband priority when timing conflicts arrive.

I look forward to the day when my daughter can join me for part of a run, or ride along on her bike.  I am excited to get to go for a run with my husband while we are in Boston, since we never get to with the kiddo.  The biggest factor for our family is an understanding.  My husband may think I am a bit off my rocker, because I enjoying all this running but he also understand how much it means to me.  For me, I understand how much time and energy it takes for me to train and that the impact is felt not just by me, but my family.  I am so thankful for them.  Finding the right balance may look different for each family, but I think the above factors are important factors for finding that balance for all families.

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3 thoughts on “Marathon Training-A Balancing Act

  1. You pretty much summed it all up right there. During the week I usually squeeze an hour of running (or weights) the instant I get off work (4:00ish) and try to get home as close to 5:00 as possible, when my wife and 9 month old daughter get home. She still goes to bed super early (6:00ish) so I need to be around as much as possible until then. Every now and then, however, I still get up at 4:30am and run by myself in the dark in order to get the training in. I love running by myself in the dark but sure hate getting out of bed!

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  2. I run right after work or track practice and sometimes on my lunch/plan if we have a meet or are busy all night. Occasionally I can get a few miles in at practice but not many. On weekends I only run when my kids are napping, so I can only do my long runs in the afternoon, which kind of stinks, but it’s my only time. It’s nice in the winter because it’s warmer then, but in the summer it’s brutal! Oh well, I’ll take a run anyway I can get it! 😀

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