The next few weeks of my training schedule for the Marine Corps Marathon are going to be my highest mileage weeks of my short running career. This week alone, the first of the monster weeks, will eclipse my peak week of Big Sur training by 4 miles.
For someone as new to running as I am, this can be pretty terrifying. Looking at the weeks as a whole has me literally waking up in the middle of the night in a panic. But that’s the funny thing about marathon training, just when you think you’ve hit your limit and you can’t go any further, another week goes by and you are able to go further than you ever thought. At least that’s how I’ve chosen to look at it.
My midweek runs over the next few weeks will range between 8 and 10 miles, with one easy run in between. Most of these are workouts or marathon pace runs, which to me, makes them much more enjoyable.
I’ve found the only way to get through these monster mileage weeks is to break it down and face each day as it comes. Yes, you need to plan. And yes, you need to schedule the time to get them done. But if you stare down your schedule on Monday and think, “Oh my God, I have to run an 8 mile workout on Wednesday, a 10 mile MP run on Friday, and other runs and workouts in between, as well as work and have some semblance of a social life?!” you’re going to drive yourself crazy.
Instead, take it day by day and figure out a time for each day to get your run done. For example, this is what my week looks like this week (different paces though):
On Wednesday, I had an 8-mile run with 4x800m in between. I knew I couldn’t get the workout done during lunch, but I also knew I wanted to do the 800s on a track. So since I only had to do 4x800m (2 miles) I decided to split up the run- run 4 miles, easy at lunch and 4 miles (1 mile warm-up, 4x800m, 1 mile cool down) on the track after work. I’m still getting the benefit of the speedwork but not stressing out over setting aside a huge block of time.
I recently read a great blog post by Jason Fitzgerald on time management. He argues that if something is important enough you will set aside the time to get it done. You will not “make” the time, because you can’t just “make” time appear out of nowhere. But if it’s important, like eating, sleeping, working, spending time with family and friends, or in this case, training for a marathon, you will set aside the time to get it done.
So, how am I planning on fitting in these high mileage midweek runs in the coming weeks? Here are my tips for marathon training time management:
- Make it a priority – Training for Marine Corps is very important to me so I wil make it a priority and set aside the time to get my training done.
- Take it day-by-day – I will take it day-by-day but try to schedule my week to fit in my runs and workouts.
- Run doubles – If I have to, I will split up my higher mileage runs into a double. I’ll still reap the benefits of the workout and get the mileage in.
- Something is better than nothing – If I honestly can’t set aside enough time for a run, I will try to get whatever I can done. If it’s an 8-mile run but I only have time for 6 miles, I’ll run the 6 miles.
- Don’t sweat it – If I really had a hard day at work, or I’m feeling extremely tired or sore, and I have to miss a run, it’s not the end of the world. Giving your body enough time to rest and recover is almost as important as getting all of the training runs done. If your body is telling you it needs a break, it probably really needs a break.
I’m not going to lie, training for a marathon is a ginormous time commitment. You sacrifice some things like going out on a Saturday night so you can have the time to do your long run (not hungover) on Sunday morning. The monster training weeks come for everyone but if you plan them out right, they are totally doable. You just need to, in a sense, brace yourself and prepare for the runs. They will get done and you’ll be much more prepared for when race day comes.
Are you training for a maraton or half-marathon? How do you manage to fit in all of your runs with work and personal life? Share your comments below!