Many of my readers often ask me, “Cristin,” they say, “How can you train for a marathon when you have a small humanoid whose sole purpose is not to play with their toys but instead find the means to get into important documentation, dirt, or whatever the cat just threw up?”
Marathon training, like rearing children, is hard work. And if you want to do something as ridiculous as train for a marathon with an under one then I’m here to tell you…
I’m attempting it right now.
I was giddy with delight at my acceptance into the 2012 London Marathon, and I knew that there was no way I was going to be able to run it. My son was due in late February/ early March and the marathon was in April. In order to achieve the goal of completion I would have to bounce from baby-producing mode into marathon mode in too short of time.
So, I medically deferred.
For those unaware you can do this for London and instead run the next year’s marathon. But, you can only do this ONCE. Crap out again and you end up back in the pool of the unknown, awaiting word if you will ever get accepted again.
Anyone, even those with oodles of money and support, will tell you that having a baby changes your entire life. You go from a pretty flexible and do-whatever existence to BST – Baby Standard Time. Baby Standard Time is standard only for baby, and not for the rest of the world. You want to go shopping but baby decides it is nap time. You want to sleep, but baby has decided to host a rave in their crib with Blue Dog and Pooh Bear. You want to eat but the baby produces the most amazing nappy display ever… so now you don’t want to eat.
So, how does marathon training fit in when you’re running BST?
I’ve identified three things that you must do in order to reach your goal:
1. Make a Plan to Finish
“What?” you say, “Isn’t that the goal of a marathon? Finishing it?”
Yes, indeed, you are correct. The goal of any race is to finish. But, when you’ve got a bitty you need to be realistic. Do everything you can to follow a plan and put in the mileage, but now is not the time to focus on achieving a PR.
2. Accept You Have to Sacrifice
Even if you are marathon training without a little person you know you have to sacrifice to achieve. You’re going to have to go on long mileage runs. You’re going to have to spend your lunch hours on runs instead of mindlessly surfing the net. You’re going to have to commit to run commuting, bike commuting, or working in your miles and training into areas that used to be reserved for reading on the bus. You’re going to have to think up active activities to involve the bitty and tick another goal off your list. Accept it, but…
3. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
This marathon is for you AND for your little one. I imagine in my head being in his socks. The colours of the race, the ample supply of bananas, and the pretty medal Mommy lets me wear. I imagine him being proud of his healthy Mom, who does lots of fun active things rather than a Mom who sits around being boring.
In short, I don’t view my decision to run a marathon as some anti-Mommy activity, but something I’m doing to encourage our family to have a healthy lifestyle.
In these next few weeks I plan to explore these three and tell you how I’m getting on. I’m also fundraising again, so, in lieu of the usual flood of requests to give me money for my sage advice you can donate here.