The metaphor of running a marathon is used a lot in society. “Its a marathon, not a sprint!” they say. While the comparison to running a marathon is relevant to a lot of scenarios, the things you learn while training for a marathon are also super relevant to everyday life.
When you train for a marathon, everything from your heath, to your schedule, to your mental strength is pushed to the extreme. But these extremes teach us important lessons about ourselves that can be used in all aspects of our lives. I wanted to share some of the top things that I have learned while training that you can apply to your life as well!
- Sleep: I’ve really struggled with sleep lately and it has been one of the biggest challenges of my training. Whether you are training for a marathon or just going about life, your body and mind needs quality sleep every night to do its best.
- Prioritizing Exercise: When you are training for a marathon, you have to prioritize your workouts each week. If you start to miss too many, you’ll fall behind quickly! Each week, I overlap my training schedule with my work schedule to ensure I have a plan for when I can do each run, and I block the time. Sometimes I have to be flexible with when I can get in a run, but I still make it a priority. This is equally as important for your own workouts! You only have one body, so put it first!
- Rest and Recovery: When marathon training, your rest and recovery days are just as important as your workout days. When you exercise, you stress your bones and muscles. When you rest, they heal and get stronger. A lot of people think rest days are for wimps or people who just want to take it easy, but it’s actually a critical part of exercise.
- Yoga: I wasn’t always a huge fan of yoga, but have really gotten into it this year. I practice a few times a week to help with recovery and strengthen my body in a different way. It’s a great way to move a little on a rest day, and I’ve found myself becoming more flexible since I’ve started. I encourage everyone to try it as a part of their day!
- Hydration: When running, your water intake is a key to success. You want to hydrate enough for the conditions and your effort. Running has taught me to be more in tune with hydration, and that has translated into my day to day life. Pay attention to when you’re thirsty and drink up!
- Electrolytes: Electrolytes are also an important part of hydration. When you sweat, you lose electrolytes that are critical to your body’s function. During runs, I replace electrolytes with Nuun, which are little tablets you put in water. When you are sweating a lot, whether it’s through exercise or just a hot day, you may benefit from supplementing your electrolytes. I’ve also found them to help a lot if I get a random headache.
- Setting Goals and Having a Plan: Running a marathon is a major goal, but it also requires you to have a plan, usually a pretty detailed one! Like any major accomplishment in life, you have to break down the big goal into smaller steps. Sometimes that big goal seems impossible or so far away, but it’s the work day in and day out that lead you towards your goal. Training for a marathon is usually a 16 week commitment (or more) on top of years of running. There isn’t an immediate reward, but the end goal is always on the horizon!
- Listening to Your Body: When you put your body through the stress of marathon training, you have to tune into what it needs. Whether it’s nutrition, extra rest, stretching, a relaxing bath, or extra strength training, it’s important to notice and acknowledge what your body is asking of you. We become so busy with the hustle and bustle of life, that we often don’t take time to tune into what our body is telling us.
- Overcoming Bad Days: Training for a marathon is not always easy. You have really good days and you have really bad days. When I have a bad run, I try to learn from it. Maybe I didn’t sleep good the night before. Maybe I didn’t eat well or drink enough water. You also have to be able to put the bad behind you, and keep moving forward. Like any challenge in life, you become a lot stronger by not just giving up when it gets hard.