How to Balance Marathon Training With Life

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Spring marathon training season is upon us, and many of you have likely set your goals, picked your plans, and are now getting mentally prepared for 12 to 20 weeks of building up mileage, fitting in tough workouts, and punching out weekend long runs. Whether you are seeking your first marathon finish or are a veteran of the 26.2-mile distance, the process is long and involved—but the rewards can be great.

This early in the season is a good time to look at ways to boost your training, especially if you are repeating a program that you've completed before. The idea should be to make your training as effective and efficient as possible while improving your odds of getting to the starting line (never something we can take for granted), and meeting or exceeding your goals.

In that spirit, here are seven ways you can boost your training and, ultimately, race performance this season. This of course assumes that:

  • You have built a solid base—weekly mileage should be at least 60 percent of your anticipated peak, as should your long run distance
  • You have done the necessary strength and mobility work to prepare for the season
  • Your goal is to do more than "just finish"

More: Top 10 Marathon Tips

Align the Support You Need in Advance

Marathon training is a sacrifice, not only for you but also for those around you—family, friends, coworkers, etc. It takes time and energy that you could be spending on other priorities. With the physical demands already high, you can't afford any additional emotional demands without suffering some performance issues. So it's important to take steps to gain the support of those around you as you pursue your ambitions. You do so by taking these steps:

  • Communicate your goals and plans openly, and be receptive to feedback or concerns
  • Be flexible in your training to meet other commitments
  • Avoid obsession with your training, both in the pursuit and discussion of it
  • Show equivalent or greater support for others in the pursuits of their passions