Life adjustments while marathon training

I am linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What, and Mar at Mar on the Run for this week’s Friday Five, which is a theme of my choice. I took the opportunity of today’s Friday Five to reflect back on the 6 months leading up to my marathon training.


I completed my first marathon on April 3rd (recap here). Many people say training for a marathon takes over your life, and while it was a big part of my life, I refused to let it take over. I made it a priority, but without going overboard, as it was about the experience and the finish line. So here are 5 choices I made that allowed a great experience without having to give up too much  :

  1. I picked a training plan that was compatible with my life. I used the Jeff Galloway run/walk training plan that requires a minimum of 3 runs a week (for ”older runners”), 4 maximum. I travel for work but this allowed me to plan 2 or 3 weekday runs around my travel.

2. Get up early and run before work. I am generally a morning person but NEVER ever exercised before work. I quickly figured out that if I absolutely wanted to get my run in, I needed to get up and get out immediately. This meant a lot of runs, alone in the dark in the winter months, but it was worth it.


3. I gave up my PTA volunteer activity. This required me to be out 2 to 3 nights a month and it was a lot of work. While I loved it, I wanted to be sure I wasn’t overtired, overtaxed and wanted to have the ”mental availability” to dedicate to my marathon experience.

4. I cut back on my alcohol consumption. I don’t drink much  to begin with, but if I did go out or was around alcohol, I would have only one glass.


5. I ALWAYS did a dynamic warm up, and stretched and foam rolled much more often. I was worried about injury so dynamic warm ups and consistent stretching were a regular part of my runs. My shins and glutes tend to get tight so I knew where I had to focus.


These adjustments were completely manageable. While I was a bit obsessed with my marathon, I never felt that it was taking over my life, nor that it was imposing on my family’s life. I wanted to live ”normally’ while training and I did.

And I celebrated with several glasses of champagne once it was over !


Good luck to Wendy running Big Sur this weekend and to Pam  running London !

How have you adjusted your life while training for something or working towards a goal ?

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Comments: 20

  1. Coco April 22, 2016 at 12:51 pm Reply

    This is really great insight. I think it’s the long runs that intimidate me, but I could always cut back on housework. 😉
    Coco recently posted…What I’ve Learned From Fifteen Years Of RunningMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France April 22, 2016 at 8:39 pm Reply

      My long runs were every other weekend or every 3rd weekend, so very manageable.

  2. MCM Mama Runs April 22, 2016 at 1:24 pm Reply

    I wish I could embrace the early morning runs. Luckily I work from home, so I can often squeeze them in during the work day.
    MCM Mama Runs recently posted…Five Ways Runners Can Celebrate Earth DayMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France April 22, 2016 at 8:38 pm Reply

      You are lucky to have that flexibility to run during the day. I can at lunchtime but by that time my head is filled with work things and I have a hard time enjoying my run.

  3. Meranda@Fairytalesandfitness April 22, 2016 at 1:52 pm Reply

    Marathon training certainly did take over my life for a few months but to be honest I never stayed out late, drank alcohol or had any major commitments after work so it really wasn’t a big deal. I was just WAY more exhausted then usual!!!

    • Karen - Fit in France April 22, 2016 at 8:37 pm Reply

      I definitely slept better but wasn’t necessarily tired. However, I had to watch my food intake….

  4. Deborah @ Confessions of a mother April 22, 2016 at 2:27 pm Reply

    Ah I need to do more of #3! I have completely over committed lately
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother recently posted…The Fit Foodie Race Weekend is Coming-Run with me GiveawayMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France April 22, 2016 at 8:36 pm Reply

      I felt so liberated saying no !

  5. chaitali April 22, 2016 at 2:48 pm Reply

    This is great that you were able to maintain balance while training for your first marathon! The fear of it taking over my life is one of the reasons I’m hesitating.
    chaitali recently posted…Friday Five – PhotosMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France April 22, 2016 at 8:35 pm Reply

      It is all about setting limits, and that is up to you. But I wasn’t training for a marathon with a major time goal. I think things would be a bit different if I were.

  6. Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy April 22, 2016 at 3:27 pm Reply

    Sometimes I have to move my long runs around, like I did last week, for a variety of reasons. I’m very lucky that I’m able to do that!
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…5 Tips to start training your dog (or cat!)My Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France April 22, 2016 at 8:34 pm Reply

      I definitely need the flexibility. But also because I hate to run in crappy weather so I need options.

  7. Ana April 22, 2016 at 5:54 pm Reply

    Yes! this is all on point! One can’t let marathon take over your life! but can still obsesses about it.

    I gave up alcohol for the last two months, or so. And I’ve been craving wine so bad!

    Giving up on PTA events is always a slippery slope! my son has been asking why haven’t I been to help out in his classroom, but we have all of May for that!
    Ana recently posted…Friday Five – My Five Gettysburg Marathon GoalsMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France April 22, 2016 at 8:32 pm Reply

      I am sure you are looking forward to that glass of wine ! I didn’t want to cut it out completely….but I did think about it !

  8. Christine @ Two Runners Travel April 22, 2016 at 8:56 pm Reply

    Such a smart plan! I think balancing non-work commitments is really important. I’m really involved with a local nonprofit and that can be a huge time-suck. I usually take a step back during marathon training for my sanity!

    • Karen - Fit in France April 24, 2016 at 8:47 am Reply

      Sending you positive vibes this weekend for your race !

  9. Marcia April 22, 2016 at 10:42 pm Reply

    Those are great adjustments. I agree with you that running doesn’t have to dominate one’s life. I suspect those that run high mileage may find this more challenging.
    Marcia recently posted…5 Things to Love About TriathlonMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France April 24, 2016 at 8:46 am Reply

      I agree with you.

  10. Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC April 24, 2016 at 1:46 am Reply

    #5 is huge and probably helped you stay injury free 🙂
    Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC recently posted…Five Best Things About Work TravelMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France April 24, 2016 at 8:45 am Reply

      Yes, but so boring !

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