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How To Be A Competitive Marathon Athlete

How To Be A Competitive Marathon Athlete

How To Be A Competitive Marathon Athlete While Staying Close To Your Family


The Boston Marathon, a whole year training and I’m just leaving. The family are too young to travel to support me and as I go my oldest comes running out demanding my attention. Talk about tugging at the heartstrings! It’s certainly enough to disrupt the most vigorous mental training. To keep your family close and to succeed in your training goals is no mean feat. I’ve learned there are some simple disciplines that if put in place can really help manage the conflicts that a punishing regime can cause.



Be truthful, exactly how important is your marathon to you? This is where everything starts from. You need to decide where you see your marathon fitting into the bigger picture. With a family a whole bunch of other priorities hit your life with a wallop so make sure you think about how this impacts things before it becomes an issue. Once you’re clear you can start to plan for action rather than reaction.


Talk About It

Keeping your partner on-side is key to a balanced running training program. I’ve learned over the years that a supportive wife or husband is the golden ticket to balancing family and marathon. Discuss your personal goals with your partner and running coach. Make sure you get across the point that family comes first. Keep them in the loop, through communication. Give them time to mull things over in their own way, they’ll understand you and will want to find the way through any problems.


Pace Yourself When Making a Decision

This really comes out of the last point. Allow yourself and those around you ample time to think situations through. Allow yourself to put aside emotion and think more analytically about conflicts. Gut reaction can often be the wrong thing to do. If you can’t resolve it yourself that probably tells you what the correct thing to do is. You need to distinguish between want and need and that can often take time.


Get It In Early

This can be a difficult one but the nub of it is, extend your day rather than cram more into the same time. It’s not going to work for every marathon trainer but if your body can respond it will solve so many of the conflicts caused by your training routine. It’s also great to get the work done early so the rest of the day is yours. It’s got to be worth a go.


Keep Them Involved

Definitely a “some of the time” rather than “all of the time solution” but if nothing else, make sure you take them to half marathons and other competitions that are part of your routine. That way they’ll feel part of what’s going on. Why not encourage them to keep scrapbooks of your program so they get to experience something positive as a result?


Focus On The Now

This is a really strong mental discipline. In essence, when you’re with family, think family and when you’re at work, think work and when you’re training, think training. It’s a really good way of making sure you squeeze very bit of benefit out the time you do dedicate to your marathon. Avoid letting yourself think family issues when you’re on a long run. It’s too easy to allow yourself get distracted. Go for quality time.


Give yourself a break

Sounds obvious but it’s easily overlooked. If you’re planning a race then try to find a race that’s in a great location so you can take the family with you and once you’ve done the work you can settle down to some quality family time. It’s not always possible with an event like the marathon but if you take the idea to heart there are lots of situations you can apply it to.


Find ways to keep them involved

Find as many ways for them to take part as you possibly can. OK, not always possible with the Marathon but take ideas such as getting them to run the first, last or a particular part of your training run with you. They’ll love it and you’ll love having them along for the ride.


A Salad bar for Success

You knew it wasn’t going to be easy when you set out and you were right. If you’re struggling with the demands on your time then these ideas may help. No one single idea will work and some of them may not apply to you in the least but if you treat this as a salad bar of ideas then a bit of this, some of that and a little more of the other will make a difference and help to cut out those conflicts we all feel.