Marathon training starts today.
Yes, I look like an old hag because I just got out of the shower,
no make up, air dried hair. Au naturel baby!
What? Who says you can’t kick off training with a nice frosted toasted oat cereal with sugary marshmallows? There are six new spiral marshmallow moons, you know. My kids get mad when I pick out all the marshmallows while they are at school. Oh, well!
I am really excited about this training cycle (for the Denver Colfax Marathon on May 19). At least it is not a menstrual cycle! Seriously, though, I have my plans laid out for a manageable training plan that hopefully will not beat me up and leave me injured and crying on the couch eating Lucky Charms with beer instead of milk.
Here’s what I know: marathon training is a huge time suck. I know tons of people who like running marathons, but have changed to running only half marathons only because the time commitment is so much less. It is obviously the long runs that are the real time stealers. Even if I go out and run for three hours first thing on a Sunday morning before the kids get up, I am usually toast for the rest of the day and not much good to anyone. Basically, I want to sleep and have people rub my feet and bring me donuts and stuff.
What I have found is that if you are going to work, be a mom, be a wife, be a friend, train for a marathon, blog, and have time left over to put on deodorant, get to the grocery store, wipe well and sleep a few hours per night, you need to be super organized (duh! Okay, I never said I was a rocket scientist) Fortunately, organization is my thing. The more I have to do, the more I get done. It’s just the way I am wired (like a frenetic freak).
Even with being organized, there are times when you simply cannot get it all done. There will be times when you are tired and cannot accomplish one more thing on the list. There are times when the list needs to be flushed down the toilet because your daughter wants to play Monopoly and that is more important than those last 50 crunches (except now that the iron playing piece is gone, I feel so lost.)
RIP Iron. Hello cat
That said, here are some time management ideas to help you survive marathon training:
1. Write It Down. All Of It. On Sunday, I create a list for the week. In pencil. Nothing fancy, no charts, no timelines. Just jotting down the things I need to accomplish for each day of the week. This includes scheduling in workouts, appointments, times to write, errands, a nap, everything. At the end of the day, if those things are done, it is good enough and I can rest. When you work for yourself and when you are a mom, your work is never done, so it is up to YOU to clock out at the end of the day, to create those boundaries (okay, moms can’t clock out, but you know what I mean).
This step is really important because it lets you know how you have to get creative throughout the week in order to fit in your work outs. For me, I have a lot of early morning appointments this week, and since I mostly work out in the morning, I know I’m going to be getting up ultra early to fit in my workouts.
2. Plan Your Meals. Also I Sunday, I create a list of meals for the week. The tip here is to not spend a ton of time on the planning. It should take about 15 minutes to think up the meals and to make a grocery list (and my list is always in order of how I walk through the store. Saves so many extra trips back to aisle #3 because you forgot the tomato paste).
The list does not have to be perfect and it does not have to include every single stinking healthy food on the planet. I pull out my book of recipe favorites, I look online and I think of what some of our staple meals are around here. I did this yesterday in no time flat, and here’s what’s on the menu (I just have four meals here – we will probably go out or have a make-it-yourself night once):
Tonight’s dinner – 3 Bean Chili (maybe should have cut up that onion smaller)
3. Lay It All Out. The night before –lay out your clothes. Set the coffee pot. Check the weather. This may sound stupid, but if you have to get up at 5am to fit your workouts, there is piece of mind in having your workout clothes laid out and ready for you to slap on. And, who doesn’t want coffee hot and ready when they come downstairs?
4. Make Everyone Pitch In. A lot. (note: this doesn’t apply just during marathon training). My kids have a lot of chores. It doesn’t break any child labor laws (I don’t think). We believe our kids need to pull a lot of weight around here, because let’s face it – they live here rent free and their lives are pretty awesome. They do their own laundry (start to finish), change their sheets, clean their bathrooms, plus other stuff. I can’t tell you how much less work it is for us that they take care of these things. Every month I create a chore calendar HERE and hang it in their faces. That way, there is no question who has to do what, or when. They know the expectation and they make it happen (not that I don't have to nag sometimes, I do – but it’s worth it).
5. Cut It Out. Unless you are wonder woman (I am not), some stuff simply has to go during marathon training. I might say “no” to a few extra coffee dates or social things. I might say “no” to doing extra volunteering at my kid’s school or to taking on that ultra messy case at work (I can turn down work since I am a contractor – I know it’s a luxury).
6. Keep Them Informed. It’s only fair to keep your family and friends apprised of your plans. Let them know you might be a bit more tired, sometimes less available, maybe even a bit more stressed. Just clueing people in will remove a bit of pressure you have on yourself to be everything to everybody.
7. Remember - It’s Your Fault. You did this to yourself. It is your choice to train for a marathon, no one is forcing you. Keep some perspective and realize this is a privilege – something you get to do. Basically, suck it up buttercup and don’t waste time and energy bitching about how busy you are. Let the stuff go that you can and stay on top of the rest.
No matter what, there will be days that are completely overwhelming. But, my best advice is to stay on top of things and to PLAN AHEAD. You’re less likely to be thrown off that way.
What’s your best time management tip while training?
What was your favorite Monopoly piece growing up? The dog. I had to always be the dog.
Do you have a quick weekday night recipe to share? See above.
Do your kids have a lot of chores? Like what? Did you have a lot growing up? We had a fair amount of chores, but nothing drastic. I had to change my sheets and mow the lawn. I remember those chores the most because I hated them. Still do.