You can listen to this post as a podcast at https://anchor.fm/alex-masidlover/episodes/Marathon-Training-Time-Management-e187dtm
The topic of this post is time; therefore I’m going to do my best to keep it short. Marathon training takes a lot of time. Certainly if you want a pleasant marathon training experience with minimal injuries and a marathon itself, that doesn’t leave you crawling across the line, then you need to put in plenty of training hours.
Those training hours are going to be a mix of strength, flexibility and running. You’re also going to have to dedicate time to recovery. I would not like to try and put a number on the amount of hours you’re going to spend training for marathon; because quite frankly it’s a terrifying number… But I do have some tips and tricks.
My first tip is to realise that if you’re spending time in the car; it’s wasted time. Personally, I like to avoid spending time in cars at all costs. If I can get somewhere by running or cycling, or walking then that’s what I do. Very often, a short journey will only take you five minutes longer by walking, even less, by cycling. If it’s a long journey, you can consider splitting it with another mode of transport – The tram, train or bus could get you part way there or if you’re travelling with someone else, and they’re a generous sort, then get them to abandon you part way through the journey and finish it on foot or leave before them and arrange for them to meet you part way there and take you the rest of the way. Make sure that every time you’re about to get in the car, you think “could I do this journey in another way? (that get’s me a workout in)”
Another tip which is particularly useful for things like flexibility work and yoga is that you don’t actually need to find time for an hour of yoga or even half an hour of yoga for it to be productive; if you can slot 10 minutes into your day and find a routine that works for you, then you can get a decent amount of flexibility work done with little impact on your week.
Most strength training routines require recovery between sets, which has a danger of becoming wasted time. Personally, I like to use that one or two minute recovery between sets to do something useful… This does require you your strength training work to be done in a location where you can do something useful; so my workout space is my shed, which is 10 steps from the kitchen – so I can prep vegetables and cook in between strength sets.
If you’re a parent then you may find yourself ferrying your child to an activity and waiting there scrolling aimlessly through social media – well, that’s more time that you can make use of; if the activity allows you to leave, then you can get a short run done (or a long run with some activities). If you can’t leave, and you have a high embarrassment threshold then you can do some body weight strength work or some flexibility exercises.
I think that about covers the ‘low hanging fruit’, i.e., the time that you can make use of with limited (negative) impact on your lifestyle – and so to bed… bringing your bedtime earlier means that you get more sleep (which is when your body recovers) and means you feel fresher in the mornings – which allows you to start getting ready for the inevitable… Early morning runs; at some point in training, unless you don’t work, have no dependents, or both, you will find that there simply aren’t enough hours in the week to get in all the training. At this point you have two choices, you can start dropping workouts and risk injury, making marathon day harder or both, or you can start getting up earlier and getting a run in before your day’s responsibilities start. I suppose strictly speaking you have more than two options, but I wouldn’t advocate either having your children adopted or giving up work just to train for a marathon.
If you read my post on beating training fatigue, then you’ll know that one of my strategies is to get the workouts in my diary with specific times of day set aside, I can’t recommend this enough as a technique for keeping on top of getting all your workouts in, if you simply have a plan that has 2 workouts to do on a particular day and you don’t plan when you’re going to do them in that day, there’s a real risk that it will simply end up too late in the day and you’ll miss them.
So, by now you’re probably feeling extremely stressed and panicked about how you’re going to get all this training in; well, try not to panic – go back and read my training fatigue post if you need to – if you do have to cut the odd workout short or miss the odd workout its really not going to be the end of the world. I will have an upcoming post about how to deal with missed sessions, but in the meantime try and use the early stages of marathon training when the volumes are lower to practice these time management techniques and start building more workouts into your routine.
And with that I’ll leave you to get back to training.