Marathon vs Social Life

Finding time to train for a marathon is tough. I don’t know about you, but I am by no means running at Olympic speeds here, so when I have an 18 mile run on my docket, I need to portion out a solid half-day to knock it out. All of my long runs tend to fall on weekends which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because I don’t have to worry about it interfering with work, but a curse in that most of my family and closest friends live out of town. Since I am traveling almost every weekend, finding time to fit in my long runs has proven to be challenging.

You read A LOT about my social life on here, because I love doing fun things. If I don’t have plans, I tend to go stir crazy! Yet, I still need to run if I want to make it through my 26.2 in October without keeling over. Finding a balance between fun and serious training is difficult, but necessary.

Here some tips that I have implemented to ensure that I’m still training even on weekends where I am busy having fun:

Get a GPS Watch

I debated buying a GPS watch for years and years. I am SO glad that I finally have. A GPS watch is absolutely necessary for anyone who loves to both run and travel. I can literally run in any city now! I love that this watch tells me how far I’ve gone since I have to hit certain mile markers for each of my long runs. For example, I recently used this watch while at the beach. It’s so refreshing to run on the beach in the morning before it burns off. All I had to do was turn on my watch, run until I hit half of my distance, then turn around and run back to my hotel. Perfect!

Pack Your Running Shoes

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually a really helpful tip. If I bring my running shoes with me, I am more likely to go for a run (instead of having that last cocktail) just because I went through the effort to pack them in the first place. I hate wasting space in my bag, so I better use them if I brought them. Simple, but effective!

Plan Ahead

I love to be spontaneous. Really, I do! But, training for a marathon makes that tough. Making last minute plans is something I’m willing to give up (until October) for my own sanity. These days, I need to have my days planned out far in advance to make sure I fit everything in. I generally try to not make plans to go out the night before a long run, drinking + no sleep + 16 miles on the schedule = not happening. I can’t do it all!

Fuel Correctly

(Source)

Everyone always talks about how important it is to fuel your body correctly the night before a big race, but what about fueling correctly the night before a long run? It is just as important to eat the right foods during training as it is on the big day, so I try to be very careful to eat well(-ish) before all runs. Have you ever eaten a huge burger and fries the night before a 12 mile morning run? No? Well, take my word for it…that thing will sit in your stomach like a pound of bricks and you will NOT be comfortable. Avoid greasy, heavy foods and alcohol before long runs. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.

Don’t Eat Back All Your Calories

In addition to my last point about fuel, it’s important to avoid eating back all the calories you just burned…PLUS some!. This is something I have always struggled with, and is a common issue for many marathon runners. The mentality becomes, “Well, I just ran 15 miles, so I can eat WHATEVER I WANT TODAY!” Not true. I love to go out to eat, especially when I’m traveling and visiting my friends in different cities. Running gives me an excuse to order the least healthy (but most delicious) thing on the menu. Try to resist!

Remember to Have FUN!

Don’t get so sucked into marathon training that you don’t have a social life at all. Go out with friends, travel, visit new places, try new foods, and enjoy life! When I’m visiting friends, I try to get them in on the action too. Even if they are only willing to run 3 miles with me, that’s better than nothing. It’s always more fun to run with friends than by yourself! And you know what, enjoy that occasional margarita and don’t feel bad about it. Chances are…you’ve earned it!

How do YOU balance fitness goals with your social life?

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10 Comments

  1. good tips… I am only training for a half, but these will help me. I need help with the eating back the calories… especially on weekends.

    Reply
    • Yeah, that’s definitely the hardest part for me too. Good luck with your half training! What race are you doing?

      Reply
      • The Magic City Half… its in Birmingham and is a culmination of some type of fitness weekend. It claims to be relatively flat with the disclaimer “well, as flat as possible in Birmingham.” I am not sure what that means.

  2. These are all so true! What GPS watch did you get? I live in hotels (literally) for my job and have found the single most thing to bring me joy is my Garmin 210. I LOVE looking back on where all I’ve run! It’s so much fun to see the different routes! Running while you travel is also great because it not only breaks the monotony but challenges your body just by being on another course. I do have to disagree with the suggestion to hold off on the drinking – I swear, a few drinks the night before a big run is the key to success for me! lol.

    Reply
    • I have the Garmin Forerunner 410. There was a Groupon deal, so I got it for half the price. I loooove it!

      I think it’s okay to have like 1-2 beers before a run (for the carbs, obviously haha), but anything more than that and I’ll probably be feeling a bit sluggish the next morning!

      Reply
  3. these are real good tips.as for friends and family; train while they sleep, or are doing other things. i have been known to take a kid to the movie, take off running from the parking lot, return in time to “pick them up”. if my wife and i want to have a sunday brunch? i run there ahead and clean up best i can in the car park (outside cafe is a must). BTW my new fueling tip, coconut water, it is like rocket fuel for the legs.

    Reply
    • Good tips! I try to walk everywhere I go (when I can), but it’s been so hot and I don’t enjoy sweating in public places. haha! I agree, coconut water = THE BEST! Some people can’t stand the flavor, but I love it!

      Reply
  4. I tend to knock out the long run Saturday morning. That way, I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing both Friday and Saturday nights to run (the logic being that going out Friday night might mean a residual hangover Sunday morning). But it gets tough in the spring when I line up races pretty much every weekend, many times out of state.

    In that case, it’s a matter of finding time on weeknights to see friends and even taking lunch breaks with them if possible. Or, best case scenario, convince them to run those out-of-state races with you. Two birds, meet one stone.

    Reply
    • I 100% agree about knocking the run out on Saturday morning. That way I can do what I want (within reason) on Saturday night. I like the idea of lunch with people, but all of my friends live out of town. Most of them can’t drive 2+ hours for lunch!

      I’m sure your training schedule is much more grueling than mine. I don’t know how you do it – very inspirational!

      Reply
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