Evaluate Your Runs1 of 8
At the start of each week, identify your most important runs. Every run should have a purpose, but some deserve a little more attention.
If this is your first marathon, prioritize your long run by choosing a time slot when you know you'll be able to get the miles in. For example, if the kids have a soccer tournament all weekend, a weekday morning or Sunday evening might make more sense for your long run.
If you're training to run a PR, make sure to schedule tempo runs and speed work. Ideally, you'll cross every run off your list, but if you run out of time, it's better to skip an easy three-miler than an important long run.
Get Creative With Your Training2 of 8
If early morning is the only time you have to run, set out your gear the night before and program the coffee pot. If you have access to a gym or shower during the day, lunchtime is a great opportunity to fit in shorter runs.
If you live within running distance to your office, consider the run commute. Fitting in your miles either before or after work is a great way to de-stress and avoid rush hour traffic.
Get in Your Miles3 of 8
If the thought of long training runs leaves you overwhelmed (18 miles, 20 miles, oh my!), consider signing up for a local race—the longer, the better.
For example, by running a two- to three-mile warm-up, a half marathon at an easy pace and a two- to three-mile cool-down, you'll easily reach your mileage goal. Most races start early, so you'll be finished with plenty of the day ahead of you—a great strategy for procrastinators.
Be Realistic4 of 8
Follow the 80 percent rule. Even the most well-intentioned runners will have to miss a workout or shorten a run here or there. As long as you're completing at least 80 percent of your training plan, you should be fine on race day.
Cut Back on Cross-Training5 of 8
While rest days and cross-training should definitely still have a place in your preparation, marathon training is not the time to sign up for a 30-day hot yoga challenge or take up rock climbing.
You only have so many hours in the day and so many days in the week, so make sure the majority of your exercise time is spent on running. It's OK to cross-train on non-running days, but the point is to save (most of) your energy for marathon-specific workouts.
Sleep on It6 of 8
When your to-do list is a mile long and you still need to squeeze in a run, it's tempting to burn the candle at both ends, but try not to skimp on sleep.
Getting enough sleep will help reduce your risk of injury and keep you on top of your game when it comes to work and family obligations. Occasionally a few extra Z's need to trump a morning run, but try not to stress about it.
Support Team7 of 8
Don't be afraid to ask your family and friends (and maybe even your boss if he or she is understanding) for support.
This race is important to you, and hopefully your loved ones will do everything they can to help you cross the finish line. You might have to pass on a few social events, but once race day arrives, you'll have plenty to celebrate.