It’s difficult to train for a half marathon with a busy schedule, but it’s not impossible. Check out these tips for making the most of your training.
Last Monday, I was officially back on duty for the school year, but today is the first official day of classes. Fall always brings a “busy season”, whether you’re in school, have children in school, are a teacher, or just get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everything around you. At the same time, there are so many wonderful fall races, you may find yourself committing to one before realizing how busy you really are.
I understand completely. When I ran my first half marathon, I moved and started a brand new career (not just a new job) weeks before my training cycle began. I made so many mistakes while training for that race that I wasn’t sure I’d ever attempt another one. After some time off from running and racing, I got the bug again and vowed to do a better job this time around. The first few weeks of my training have gone swimmingly, but I had the luxury of summer break and free time. Now that the fall semester smacking me in the face, it’s about to get CRAZY BUSY up in here, so I’m taking some of my own advice to heart in the hopes it might help you too!
How to Train for a Half Marathon With a Busy Schedule
ONE // Plan, Plan, Plan!
I like plans and calendars and knowing what the heck is going on. When following a training plan, you should have a good idea of the runs that are headed your way. However, I find there’s so much more to running than, well, running, so I like to plan my strength and mobility workouts as well. It’s not necessary to plan your workouts down to the last rep weeks in advance, but I highly recommend following a weekly split (i.e., upper body on Monday, total body on Tuesday, etc.) or planning your strength workouts weekly — whatever is best for you. Right now, I’m doing a combination of both. You can see an example of my training calendar here. It also works to your advantage to have a meal plan/prep strategy in place in case you find yourself stumbling in from a run very hungry. 🙂
TWO // Utilize Two-a-Days
So you’re expected to be running miles upon miles, lifting all the weights, and perfecting that pigeon pose! When are you supposed to be doing all of these things?! Good question. If you feel like you’re having trouble fitting things in, consider two-a-day workouts. Depending on your schedule this could mean running in the morning and strength in the afternoon, or vice versa. I’m a huge proponent for morning workouts, but I would be getting up at 3 a.m. to get in both strength and running, and that’s just not going to happen. Currently, I’m doing two-a-day workouts twice a week in which I do about 30 minutes of strength and mobility in the mornings and my maintenance runs in the afternoons.
THREE // Walmart Grocery Pickup!
We live in a time when there are so many neat and convenient things available to us. USE. THEM. I’ve been using Walmart Grocery Pickup intermittently for a few weeks now and have had no issues whatsoever. In my area, Walmart is also considerably less expensive than many other stores. Now that schedules are becoming more full, I’m going to be utilizing this service more often. It requires me to get my meal plan and grocery list in place a few days early, but I can deal with that if it means saving 60+ minutes roaming aisles in the grocery store. It all goes back to tip #1! TIP: If you’re new to Walmart Grocery Pickup, ask me how you can get $10 off!
FOUR // Take a Mid-Week Rest Day (Make Your Plan Work for You!)
If you feel like you’re going 90-to-nothing all week long and you’re about to hit a wall — STOP. There is no law that says you’re required to workout each day Monday through Friday and only rest on the weekends. Just because you’re training plan directs you to run on Tuesdays and Thursdays doesn’t mean you can’t run on Mondays and Wednesdays. One of the greatest things I’ve done is incorporate a rest day on a random Thursday. When Wednesday kicks my butt (which it does quite often), I can sleep soundly knowing I’ll be getting an extra hour the next morning. All this to say, make your plan work for you! There is no one-size-fits-all fitness plan and anything you follow should be adapted to fit you and your lifestyle.
Related: 5 Advantages of Morning Workouts
FIVE // Ask for Help & Be Flexible
When things become incredibly difficult (they likely will at some point), it’s ok to ask for help. There’s no shame in asking your significant other to pick the kids up or to cover dinner for the evening. In the same breath, it’s important to be flexible. There will be times when you may not be able to fit everything in and that’s ok! Showing up to the starting line healthy and uninjured is more important than fitting in every last bicep curl or doing a maintenance run when you’re sick.
Question: How do you prioritize training for a race or event with a busy schedule?