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Marathon training for real runners Part 2….what’s a real runner and do you have time?

Be prepared for lots of photos that have nothing to do with running...

Thanks so much to those of you who left me such nice comments.   I am happy at least a couple people want to read this!

I realized my term “real runner” may be confusing.  I define a real runner as someone who has a real life!   Jobs, kids, family demands, 4 hours of sleep a night, cellulite, bad eating habits under stress, exposure to kid germs, the list goes on and on.  There are a lot of good training plans out there, but I find I just piece meal things together knowing I will never, never hit a track for mile repeats when I run at 5am.   A real runner doesn’t always get a post run ice bath, enough stretching, and certainly not a nap after a long run.  It’s about doing the best you can with what you’ve got, which sometimes is just a little bit of time each day.

As a real runner who aspires to a marathon, the first thing to really think about is can make the time commitment.   I think in most cases yes.   As long as you can get up early before your family, you can probably manage the regular runs.  The long run takes a little more time and support from your family to happen.  You should plan on 2-3 runs that will need a 3-4 hour chunk of time.    But, you will have these planned out way in advance to arrange for any childcare and warn your family you will need this chunk of time.     I start my long run at 500 and am done around 800.  I don’t think getting home a little after 8am, and then dedicating the rest of the day to whatever my family needs is too much to ask for.   See it suddenly seems pretty manageable, doesn’t it?  Also, I think you need a bare minimum commitment of 3 runs a week. 4- 5 is ideal.  6 is awesome, but 3 will do it.  But you need to be consistent and get those 3, with one being long.  The other two need to be at least an hour-hour and 15 minutes.  I’ll get into the different types of runs I do later (and it’s not much of a list).   Just think about if you can make the commitment.  I think it’s pretty doable.  If your life is completely chaotic right now, it may seem like a lot.  So don’t worry about it.  Once again, you don’t have to do a marathon to have a race goal.  Some other things to figure into your time commitment are a little stretching after each run, and if there is anyway you can fit in one session a week of something that makes you stronger (I do yoga, but there are lots of options).  If you can’t it’s ok….there is some stuff you can do at home, and I’ll tell you what I do at some point, although this is the part that is the biggest challenge for me.

If the time commitment is a struggle due to family, all I can suggest is to plead with them how important this is to you.  And, get tough.  You will probably have to go run earlier in the morning or later at night than you really want to, you will probably need to go run in bad weather since you won’t have the ability to go later when weather may clear, and you’ll have to go run when you are really tired.    But it’s worth it.

Ok…hope that helps.  I’ll get into weekly run breakdown later.  Right now and I counting down until Jasper gets done with speech so I can go re-enter the worst traffic I’ve dealt with in a long time.  Dang SXSW festival.  I think we have about 100,000 more people in downtown Austin this week.

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3 thoughts on “Marathon training for real runners Part 2….what’s a real runner and do you have time?”

  1. great post…sometimes I feel like with a toddler and #2 on the way that I don’t have time to train for a marathon. But, if you manage your time and run early, it is manageable! I have only done one marathon but would love to take on one more and qualify for Boston.

  2. I like getting the long run in early, too, although I don’t get up quite that early. I like this series! Hope your traffic wasn’t too terrible.. sitting in traffic with a toddler is the worst.

  3. Clea: “I start my long run at 500 and am done around 800. I don’t think getting home a little after 8am, and then dedicating the rest of the day to whatever my family needs is too much to ask for. See it suddenly seems pretty manageable, doesn’t it?”

    Steph Thinks: Nope. It sure doesn’t. Although I’ve watched you do this kind of thing for years, I think it’s only fair to disclose that you also have a freakish ability to operate on VERY little sleep. Remember Reno? I think we got up at 4am, ran a marathon, goofed around all day, Go Gos concert that night, back to the hotel after midnight and you STILL couldn’t sleep :-). I tell myself this story over and over when I start feeling bad about not being able to balance things and still train for marathons like you manage to do. The one time recently that I did accomplish a long run at 5am, ran over 15 miles and then tried to keep up with my family all day, it didn’t feel managable at all. I felt like snappy zombie mommy, and not patient energetic mommy who can keep up with my kids at the bouncy gym. I’m still trying to figure out how to do all of this and STILL get a sufficient (read at least 6ish hours) of sleep. Hoping to figure it out by next fall. I’m thinking a possible marathon comeback next February :-).

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