Marathon Training Hacks for Busy People

Fit your training into a hectic schedule & perform well on race day

I get it. Life can be incredibly hectic sometimes. It can be tough to juggle an overloaded schedule with your marathon training. You always start out with good intentions, get your running schedule, plan out each day with high aspirations of doing 100% of your training exactly how it is mapped out, but then something inevitably happens. You have to work late on a big project, the kids have extracurricular activities, you get sick, you wake up physically or mentally exhausted from the things life throws at you, you’re struggling with an injury, the list could go on and on and on.

Know that this happens to all of us! Instead of beating yourself up and worrying that you haven’t followed your plan to a “T”, learn these tips to maximize the quality of your training.

Juggling Your Weekly Runs Is Ok!

Prior to the week starting, sit down and take a look at your upcoming running plan. See if there are any conflicts with your life schedule that can’t be moved. Plan your running schedule based on upcoming responsibilities for that week.

Some days you may wake up and your body and mind are not in the right place to do a specific workout. Save the quality training for another day when you feel better and have more energy. You’ll gain more benefits from the intense workout if you are able to give it your all. You can juggle an easier run with the harder workout, and save the harder workout when you are more rested and focused.

Focus on Quality Over Quantity

You won’t dramatically improve beyond a certain point doing the same run at the same pace on each outing. The key to improvement is to focus on the quality of your workouts, not the quantity.

If you find that you can’t do as many training days as originally planned, you can eliminate the waste and cut out the junk miles. When you can only get out a couple days a week, make sure to incorporate those things that help you with your endurance, speed or race-specific preparation. That could be intervals, hills, technical trails, long runs, tempo runs or any other condition that you plan on seeing in the race. These types of runs are particularly difficult to do alone. It is best to schedule it ahead, work with a coach or find an accountability partner that will hold you to it.

Don’t beat yourself up over cutting your training back. Remember it is important that you make time to recover. Listen to your body and what it is telling you. Incorporating more rest days can be mentally challenging, but remember that growth occurs when you rest after a workout. Recovery can be just as beneficial as your training.

Putting Your Needs First Isn’t Selfish

When you are riding in an airplane, one of the first things they tell you is to put the oxygen mask on first before you can help others. This translates to every day life as well. It’s hard to fill others up when your cup is empty. You’ve got to take care of yourself first so you are able to give your best to others. Your running is important to you. It makes you feel good, clears your mind, pushes you toward your goals and provides a great outlet for your physical and mental wellbeing. If you struggle with finding the time to train, I encourage you to sit down and evaluate how you are spending your minutes, hours, and days. How many times do you endlessly scroll your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed a day? Do you watch tv? Those are easy areas to cut. Look for those time wasters in your day and eliminate them. This will help you be more intentional with your training and get you more time on your feet.

You can get creative with your time to get the opportunity to get your runs in. One option is to wake up earlier or stay up later. I had clients in Texas who would wake up at 3am in the summertime to beat the 100-degree humid heat. I had others who would do their long run to their kid’s soccer game or band performance. If there’s a will, there’s a way.

Decide what is important to you, and think about why this particular goal has purpose and meaning in your life. Find out what you need to do to accomplish your goal and how much total training volume you’ll need to reach what you’ve set out to do.

It is still possible to get in quality workouts, even when life gets in the way.

How is your training going? Are you struggling to find the time to train? I would love to hear from you — your wins, your insights, time hacks that have helped you or anything on your mind. You can connect with me at

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