Marathon training is challenging, but it can be even more challenging if you’ve got young kids. The good news: it’s not impossible! Today’s post comes from TheRunnerDad, a husband and father of two, as well as a former Team in Training participant. To all the moms and dads out there, this is a must read!
Training for a Marathon: Finding the Time
Your kids are screaming. You have looming deadlines at work. The small projects around the house are constantly taunting you. Your daily schedule barely allows time for breathing, let alone running. And now your best friend is on the phone saying they want you to run a marathon with them? They have to be joking right? How could you possibly fit marathon training in when you can barely fit everything else in?
It might seem like an impossible task, but as a father of two boys under three I can tell you that not only is fitting in training possible, it is really not that hard. Not only is it not hard, but running will become one of the top things on your schedule that you actually look forward to each day. With a little bit of tweaking and a small amount of focused dedication, you can make training for a marathon an enjoyable, and attainable, experience.
Make Training a Priority
Let’s be honest. If you are not making training a priority, you are not going to make time for it. Think about all the things you do during the day that are not a priority and yet you still make time for…an hour of TV here, a trip to Starbucks there. Cut even one or two of the things out, and boom…you have time for your newly prioritized marathon training.
Give Yourself a Reason
Simply saying to yourself “this is a priority” does not always do the trick, as I am sure you have realized (as evidenced by that squeaky door that still has not been fixed). You need a good reason. Set training dates with your friend so you are accountable. Run for a charitable cause like Team in Training. Set up a rewards system, where for every X number of runs you treat yourself to something you enjoy. Find what works for you and stick with it.
Wake Up Early
This one is tough for a lot of people, including me. However, getting up an hour earlier each day will allow you to get your run in without interfering with everything else on your schedule. On weekends, I get up as early as 5 am to get my long run in and get home before my family even finishes with breakfast. Running in the morning saves time, and leaves you feeling energized for the rest of the day.
Learn To Love Your Jogging Stroller
I love my jogging stroller. As soon as my first son was old enough, I had him running with me and he loved it. Now that my second son is old enough I am running with both of them in a double jogging stroller…and it is amazing. Not only does it provide a really good workout (pushing 60+ lbs will really work your legs and arms), it allows you to combine two of your priorities into one: running and spending time with your family. It is a great bonding experience, and really leaves a positive impression on your children on the benefits and joys of running.
Make Running Your Getaway
We have so much stress in our lives that it is important to make time for ourselves, if only for a few miles a few times a week. Running can be that time. Simply lace up, head out the door, and leave all your stresses and worries behind. For those few miles, you are free to think on whatever you want, or nothing at all. Listen to music or listen to the world around you. You will return from each run feeling clearer and happier than when you set out, and you will be a better parent and spouse because of it.
So what are you waiting for? Call that friend back right now and tell them that you are ready to sign up. The journey you are about to embark on will be a wild, crazy, and rewarding time. Enjoy!
Matt is a 30 something year old runner, father to two sons, and husband from New Jersey. He runs TheRunnerDad.com, a website dedicated to the good, bad, and ugly of running, parenting, and all the life in between. He has run multiple Team in Training events as both a participant and mentor, raising thousands of dollars for cancer research. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.