Training plans and toddlers

The pressure of the training plan is getting to me, a missed run one day due to deciding to stay in my warm bed rather than go out in the cold and dark inevitably means the guilt sets in and a double run day is planned for later in the week. Lunch plans during the week are dictated by threshold runs and weekend outings with the family revolve around long runs.

Following a training plan is a necessary evil I guess, we need that structure to keep the discipline and ensure we progress towards our targets. I’m staying committed to it and trying to hit all the sessions but is does feel a little unnatural to me. Maybe it’s my natural instinct to fight being a road runner? This weekend I should be doing my long run on the road, but I know it’s going to be a beautiful morning and I just can’t face doing almost 3 hours on the road, especially when sunrise looks like this.

Sunrise over the ridgeway

My heart and soul will always be on the trails and while I’m intrigued to see how I perform in a road marathon I shan’t be doing many road races of that you can be sure. You do have to adjust your training plan a little off road though as you rarely have an even consistent surface for doing sprints or threshold sessions on and at this time of year the mud slows you down so it’s effort not pace that is the focus.

The other challenge of marathon training for me is being a parent to 2 small children; sleep is rarely consistent and that’s with 2 children who are relatively good sleepers, but beyond that fitting in the runs can be a challenge. At a weekend I don’t always want to disappear for 3 hours on a long run, well I do, but I of course also want to spend time with my children and give my wife a break.

The logistics of it all can take some head scratching and is why last weekend I did my long run at 6am as it was the only slot where I could get out and run for that length of time. Which I don’t mind as I do love the mornings but you do have to think carefully about nutrition when running at that time. Then this weekend I was out in the midday sun which wouldn’t be my first choice of time slot for a long run on the roads but again that was the only slot that worked.

I have to run how far?!

I have to run how far?!

However you do need to be consistent in doing the planned runs, you can drop the pace a little on a run or miss your target threshold pace but miss a session altogether and you’ll get found out come race day. You can’t hide when running a marathon can you? You have to have done the miles if you want to do anything more than walk the distance. Which of course is what I keep reminding myself; I’m dreaming of a sub 3.30 marathon and that isn’t going to happen if I start lying in bed rather than running.

I’ve been visualising what it will be like to cross the finish line and beat my target time, I know it’ll feel amazing and be a huge achievement and for now at least that is getting me through the low periods.

I’d be curious to know how you deal with the inevitable roller coaster of feelings when training for a marathon. What got you through the tough times and any motivational tips you can share.

4 thoughts on “Training plans and toddlers

  • That’s quite a look!

    Guilt is never good, a missed run means you needed the rest.

    I think the time needed for runs etc is a huge commitment for you and your family. BUT, it is obviously part of who you are and what would you turn into without them? Good God, I try very hard to shoehorn my husband and his stress out to the golf course whenever I can.

    From what I see you have a lovely, supportive family and you are teaching your kids such a valuable lifestyle lesson.

    Says the couch potato!

    • Yep, any more than a few days without a run and I turn into a right grumpy bugger! This period of marathon training has been tough for balance though, not always easy fitting in a 2.5 hour run at the weekend.

  • I went out for a early morning cycle recently. 2 hours in the saddle and I’d not thought about nutrition at all, ran on empty. How do you do early morning nutrition? Breakfast half way round?

    • for the majority of my morning runs I don’t have anything other than water. Only really have some gels etc if doing more than 90 minutes. Takes a bit of getting used to but actually once your body does it’s surprising how much you can do on empty.
      I do try and eat just before going to bed though to ensure I have some food in my stomach.

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