Adapting Training to Life

Sunday has always been a long run day, except Sunday before last when there were gale force winds and miserable weather. That long run was moved to Monday, which is usually a cross training day, except for three weeks this semester when cross training was moved to Wednesday to coincide with our group hikes at school.

Kung Fu class is usually on Tuesday, preceded by an easy run in the morning, unless class is moved to Friday. This Tuesday, there was a run in the morning, a trip to the bank, the post office, grocery store, and a lunch meeting to discuss a summer work project before going to Kung Fu.

On the way home, I promise Sifu I’ll be thinking about Kung Fu….and, I do until I remember there’s a test on Wednesday…..what were those three ways to cross a river with a group? Can I describe map bearings versus magnetic bearings and identify South using my analog watch? How far apart was it to space the members of the group when in the lightning position? All the while I’m watching the road, my mind is tying a trucker’s hitch knot.

When there’s a hike on Wednesday, the first medium-long run is moved to Thursday, which moves the second short run to Friday (instead of a rest day which was moved to Monday) followed by housework, unless Kung Fu wasn’t on Tuesday, then it’s off to Kung Fu Friday afternoon, followed by a nap.

Saturday is the second medium-long run of the week, which at week 14 is 10 miles with the second 20-mile run on Sunday, except in this semester because our backpacking trip starts on Friday with 21 miles of hiking, which moved the second 20-mile run to earlier in the week so the taper can begin next Monday.


If your marathon training also includes a full-time job, volunteer work and/or a spouse and children, I don’t know how you do it all! Only you know how to best organize your daily schedule but, there are some rules to follow when organizing, or re-organizing your training to fit into that daily schedule.

  • Always follow the easy/hard rule. Don’t run long runs on consecutive days or hard interval training followed by a long run. It’s ok to move runs around during the week but stay within the guidelines of the original program when it comes to scheduling.
  • Don’t skip the rest day(s). If your program calls for 2 rest days/week, don’t slip in a run to make-up for lost miles. If you were to run 5 miles and only had time for 3 on Tuesday, let it go. Rest is just as important as the running.
  • The training calendar is not written in concrete. Things come up. Life happens. It was clear 14 weeks ago our group backpacking trip would interfere with the second 20-mile run on my schedule. I wrote about it, contemplated it and finally devised a schedule that would accommodate it. By moving the 20-mile run from Sunday to Wednesday, I could keep 3/4 of the runs for the week and use the backpacking trip as a substitute for the remaining mileage…..the only risk being that the effort would be 3 days early – a risk I thought was mitigated by reduced mileage for the week in favor of easier hiking. Then it snowed all winter and even though classroom time was supposed to be over by now, we had class this Wednesday. The 20-mile run had to be moved. If you’re willing to hire a coach, this is a good time to do so. A coach is experienced in making these decisions and comes from a purely clinical position – as opposed to your guilt-ridden position. If you learn to stay within the guidelines of your program and listen to your body, however, it is possible to adapt your training to life when necessary.
  • No more than one stressor at a time. Don’t do “all out” hill repeats in the middle of a long run. If there’s severe wind, consider that a stressor and don’t run fast. If you don’t feel good, that’s a stressor. Distance, speed, weather and injuries are all stressors and should never be combined.

Come to think of it, ‘only one stressor at a time’ is a good rule to follow all day long.


Related: How to Write Your Own Training Plan

4 thoughts on “Adapting Training to Life

  1. Great tips! I agree with you and try to schedule my runs so I don’t go too hard too often. And yes, as much as I’d rather stick with the plan, sometimes there’s no choice but to move things around a little.. gotta keep it smart.


    1. That’s the hard part isn’t it? When your head says keep it smart and your body says, oh don’t worry just go run!! Haha Thanks so much for reading. Have a great weekend!


  2. Wise advice- I neglected to change my running routine after I added interval sessions. Ended up pushing it too hard after speed training and wondered why I was getting injured. Enjoyed your blog.


    1. Oh gosh. You know we’ve all been there (some more than others maybe and I’m speaking of myself!). I love talking to runners because we all can relate. We’re all so aggressive with our training and yet so anxious to learn too. Thanks so much for reading.


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