Similar to the dedication and commitment needed to obtain recruitment objectives, I found myself striving for another challenge and then signed up to run my second marathon.
Having completed one the year before, I had an idea of what I was up against in terms of time commitment for training and had learned a few things about fitting training in to an already busy life. This time, I was prepared with a number of strategies that helped me get through it and have a much better time training for and actually running the race the second time around.
- Follow a training plan. I had sourced a training plan the first time I ran the marathon, but the second time around I stuck to it much more closely. Knowing the impact of the different types of workouts required made me stick to the program more diligently.
- Join a training group. Finding a group to run with helped me tremendously. Not only did it make tough training runs more fun, but it also gave me some consistency. The group met on specific days and I hated missing those group runs. I was much less likely to skip a workout or move it to another day knowing that the group was getting together for a run.
- Plan ahead. Having the training plan written out and posted on the wall helped to plan out my week not only in terms of the training I needed to do, but also in how to organize the other things I needed to accomplish in the week. Likewise, planning ahead for the week in terms of things like meal prep, recovery days and other appointments really helped to make sure I was able to get it all done and not fall off track. It was also important to make sure I had a gym bag packed ahead of time with all the gear I needed if I was running during lunch or after work. These little things went a long way to make sure I wasn’t able to bail on a workout.
- Have a backup plan. Let’s be honest, no matter how well you plan ahead, life has a way of throwing curve balls, so it’s important to be flexible and have a backup plan. If I wasn’t able to make a run due to bad weather for example, I had to find an alternative activity like running on a treadmill, taking a spin class or having a yoga session to make up for it. If I wasn’t able to get a run in during the evening due to an unexpected appointment or commitment, I would run during my lunch hour the next day.
- Keep track. In addition to keeping a calendar to schedule my workouts and other commitments, I also tracked the workouts that were completed and kept a tally of the weekly mileage I was putting in. This helped to highlight if I was missing workouts and got me back on track.
- Stay on top of things. Housework and day to day chores was something that often got away from me while I was training but staying on top of it and doing small amounts as I went about my day helped to keep things in check. It was also important to stay on top of schedules to make sure nothing fell by the wayside. Keeping my calendar up to date and setting reminders helped a lot.
- Ask for help. Training with the group was superbly helpful in that everyone was willing to offer advice and suggestion if I was struggling with anything. I also found it necessary to ask my spouse for help with taking care of the day to day household chores and errands. If you don’t ask, you’re left on your own, but I was pleased to see how friends and family were so willing to help me when I needed it most.
- Be realistic about the amount of time you have to train. We can’t all be elite athletes so it’s important to realize that as someone who works full-time and has other commitments, it can be challenging to fit it all in. Training for a marathon is a serious time commitment, not just in the running itself, but also the need to make time for cross-training, meal prep and recovery. Be realistic about the time you have to train and find activities that fit appropriately in that timeframe.
- Don’t take it too seriously. At the end of the day, it’s supposed to be fun. For me, the goal was just to finish and get the free t-shirt, and I did!
During my first marathon I had some low points, but I was much more prepared and in a better place mentally the second time around. It made the training and the race itself a much more pleasant experience!
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Every goal needs a strategy on how to most effectively accomplish it. Like in recruitment, you need to stay focused on the end result and the steps needed in order to reach that end goal. After reaching each objective, it is also important to keep striving for that next challenge.
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What are your own objectives this year? How can you be better prepared than last year?
At the end of the day, it’s important to have a plan, be prepared if things don’t go as planned, reach out to friends and family, and stay positive!