When I trained for half marathon’s in the past, I really only ever did two runs a week: one short one through the week, and a longer one on the weekend. Totally doable. While not recommended, I could still go out on a Saturday night and manage my long run Sunday morning. I would gradually increase the long run by two kilometres each week eventually reaching 18K. I had to plan for the long runs, but it was reasonably easy to carve out 2 hours on a weekend to do this.
This time, I’m running at least three times a week, sometimes four, and the distances are increasing rapidly. Two weeks ago, I hadn’t run more than 10K in over a month. My long run this past weekend was 19K! The rate at which we’re ramping up our distance is kind of overwhelming and it’s even harder to find the time to run when every summer weekend is jam-packed with plans.
Even though I still have two months to go until the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, here’s what I’ve learned so far.
You can’t do it all. Once you’ve made marathon training a priority, you have to say no to things. Fun things. I have started to decline fun social engagements – drinks after work, weekends at the cottage, Sunday morning brunches – so I can stick to my training schedule. I am no longer just finding time to run. I have to make time to run. I have self proclaimed FOMO (fear of missing out), so saying no to fun events is painful for me. Putting on my shoes and heading out for a long run when I know everyone is sleeping in or lounging in the sun with a summery drink in hand is a real test of my willpower. But, once I get going, I remember why I’m doing this in the first place and I know the end goal will be worth it.
Everyone plans their week. You put meetings and social engagements and tasks in your calendar and somehow, things get done no matter how daunting it seems on Monday. I have started putting my runs in my calendar like appointments. Once they are in there, it’s a lot harder to bail on them or double-book myself. If you find a conflict, adjust your schedule. Also, try running in the mornings while everyone else is asleep. You’ll feel like a total rockstar after you’ve cranked out a 20K run and everyone else you know hasn’t even brushed their teeth yet.
Trust the process
I keep worrying that I won’t be ready on race day. It’s a completely useless waste of emotion. If I’ve prioritized, planned and got all my long runs in, I just need to trust the process. If I follow the plan, I’ll be ready. That’s all there is to it.
Do you have any tips for aspiring marathoners like me?