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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Marathon Training with a Baby

Marathon training demands time. Lots of time! You need to find time to do your weekly mileage. You need time for speed work, tempo runs, cross-training, stretching and a large block of time on Sunday for a long-run. And you need also time to rest and recover. Your life changes pretty quickly when you have a new addition to your family.  This little bundle of joy quickly imposes a non-negotiable constrain on your discretionary time. You simply don’t have any. Your nights are interrupted. You go to bed in the evening hoping for six hours of sleep. You might get it, but in two three-hour blocks. You get up and go through your morning ritual making an extra-strong coffee for yourself and your partner who is even more tired and more sleep deprived. So, is it possible, or rather, how is it possible to reconcile this systemic fatigue and lack of time with the demands of marathon training? I pondered this quandary after Jasper was born in January. 

My solution: running to and from work! We live a block from a paved path along the canal that takes me to my office downtown. It’s a 5K run one way and by Friday evening this “commuting” contributes 50 kilometers to my weekly mileage. It’s a pretty decent volume. Once a week I drop by my gym after work and do a quick 10K interval workout on a treadmill. Saturday is my day off. It’s a day when Helen goes for her run and I look after Jasper. After five consecutive days of running my legs need to rest and get ready for a long run on Sunday. Long-run is a bread-and-butter of marathon training. You simply have to incorporate it into your schedule.  And it takes time because it’s “long”. Very often your significant other may have different plans for Sunday morning. Cuddling in bed. Going to church. Family walk in a park. All these are reasonable requests for spending quality time together. And you would love to partake, but deep down you know you should join your buddies at the local running club and be on the road.  It helps if your partner is a runner. A runner gets it. No need to have a “serious talk” explaining why subjecting yourself to exhaustion for several hours often in the freezing temperatures or pouring rain makes you a happier person. In either case, do something nice for your partner during the week to earn a pass. 

Sunday run takes me along the canal to the gym downtown. I do 75% of my planned long-run mileage at the race pace on a treadmill, sort of incorporating a tempo run into my long run routine. It's another solution to work around the scarcity of time. Running back home I often reflect on my training progress and how fortunate I am to get this time off from my parental duties. It is such a generous gift from Helen. Thanks Honey! Couldn't to it without your support.

Run Strong ... and if necessary incorporate running to work as part of your training!

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