As George W. Bush would say (or maybe he said it), training for a marathon is HARD WORK!
In the mid to late 1990s I was regularly running marathons in the 2:35 to 2:40 range, with a personal best of 2 hours, 35 minutes in the Los Angeles Marathon.
Back then, things were a lot less complicated for me. Single, young, healthy, good looking (OK, maybe that's a stretch) and plenty of time to train. And probably most importantly, plenty of time to recuperate from hard training.
Today I'm 44, turning 45 in less than a month. Married, with 3 boys, stay-at-home wife, trying to make ends meet. Waking up early to train. Staying up late (after kids' bedtime) to catch up with life and blog.
Why is it that any time I start feeling GOOD about my training, something happens that interferes with it!? I know I'm not alone on this. It takes a lot of work to train for the marathon and to maneuver around all the obstacles in its path.
Injuries and illness of course are the typical issues we face. Yes, we rest, we ice, we medicate, we get over it and come back. But the everyday aspects of LIFE are what present a constant challenge in our training.
Like this Father's Day weekend. I had planned to sleep late, train long, nap and relax. But (slap, slap), come on, let's get real. I've got 2 young boys who want to spend time with me. We went camping and had a blast, but I came outta that experience with a stiff neck, 4 hours sleep and boy am I tired.
But life and training must go on. As we drive back home I'm placing toothpicks between my eyelids to keep them open, look in the rear view mirror and see my 3 and 6 year olds pleasantly snoozing away. I smile at how cute they look and remember how I used to be able to do that. Then I can't help but visualize a squirt gun being reloaded under water. These guys will be raring to go, just as I'm ever so needing a good nap.
What a week...mom calls to tell me she drove herself to the emergency room with chest pains, a very close relative diagnosed with terminal cancer, a sore left big toe, flat tire, big work deadline, broken sprinklers, 3 birthday parties, getting over a cold, the list goes on.
Yes, LIFE happens. This is why I've revised my race goals. I am targeting a sub-3 hour marathon in December. As much as I really want to regain my younger glory days of hard training and fast racing, I'm keeping my goals aligned with my life's circumstances.
I will do my best and I will keep plugging away with my training (it has been 2 months now since I started). But I will keep things in perspective.
Keep it real, keep it fun. You're not earning a living from marathoning, so don't make it a job. Do make running a habit, but allow for some unplanned "down time" in your training to reflect the realities of your daily life!