How to train for your first marathon. Getting the life/work/run balance sorted

We are in countdown mode, here in Delhi, to the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon this Sunday.

I, for one, am trying not to get too freaked out by the horrific pollution and dangerously toxic air in this city…

Even though I sort of know what I am supposed to do this week – taper, rest, focus, practise my pre-race drill – I do wonder sometimes how everyone else handles the demands of running, in the larger context of Life with a capital L.

There are articles galore online advising you to eat this on the Thursday before a big race, do that on the Friday before a big race, and so on and so forth, but how does one actually implement all this in the real world?

How do you eat the same thing on Thursday as you plan to eat on Saturday, without irritating your family? “What, we just ate this 2 days ago…”

How do you go to bed super early when you have a family, already cribbing to glory about how boring and dull you have become because of running?

How do you get up 4 hours before race time to eat, go to the loo, and everything else you are supposed to do, without waking a grumpy spouse?

Seriously friends and fellow runners out there, I’m not trying to crib. Just wonder how everyone else does it?

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I’m super lucky, in that I work from home and have adult children, so there’s no commuting and/or school run to contend with.  No homework, school projects, PTA meetings and all the other “stuff” around parenthood that occupied so many of my younger years.

Working from home means that I am fortunate enough to be able to run in the middle of the day if I so choose, avoiding darkness and early morning pollution, with only my husband’s muttered “obsessive…” to accompany me out of the front door.

But how can one fit in ever-increasing long runs as you prepare for a marathon, especially in the winter here, where it’s dark (& oh so polluted) in the mornings? Plus drive the children to school? Plus go to the office and do a full day’s work?

I am, quite simply, full of admiration for how people manage to multi-task.

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Living and running in India brings with it an unusual perspective, which probably sounds weird to Western readers, but one of the things one has to contend with here is social life.

Indians are very social.

No two ways about it.

Every occasion is celebrated en famille. Birthdays, anniversaries, festivals, are all reason for a big dinner with family and friends, and declining such invitations on the grounds of having to run the next day, quickly earns one the tag of being unreasonable, anti-social, boring, obsessive, trying to avoid my family…

If I had a rupee for each time people have said (oh so kindly) “Nah, yaar, just come.  We will serve dinner early, promise”…well, yes, I’d be quite well off.  Everyone means well, they really and truly do, but how do you explain that NO, actually, 10.30pm is not early for dinner, and NO, I cannot go to bed late and then get up at dawn to train, and NO, I can’t have a drink if I have to get up at dawn, and NO, I can’t just skip running, because actually it will impact my training for that big looming marathon day.

I’m speaking from a position of privilege.

As I said earlier, I work from home & my children are adults, so I have more freedom than most.

But HOW do you all juggle things?

I am lost for words of praise for you all.

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One comment

  • Christine Pemberton, while reading i though you are writing about me, 🙂 . During my visit to bib collection for ADHM i went to CoachRavinder Singh and shared that i am actually in Panic Mode rgt now, so apart from many tips he gave me, he said “Sonea Sleep Well”….. That was it……….., i was in panic mode again. So i came home i “Called Conference” of family members, i had to tell them that “I need to sleep Early”, can we have early dinner? Can we sleep early? Can we switch off TV early? and trust me i was hard nut to crack, options like shifting to another room got maximum voting (my husband casted vote 100 times for this 😉 ) but maximum revolt was for switching off TV, family is ready to watch TV even in mute mode, but switching off!!!!!! NO WAY. Some how negotiated pheewwwwwww.

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