Alia Gray is a professional runner living and training in Boulder, CO with Roots Running Project, under the guidance of legendary coach, Joe Vigil. She was 10th at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials and is running in the Chicago Marathon come October 2016. Alia boasts Personal Best's of 31:59 in the 10km and 2:35 in the Marathon.
You know the drill: you find some new excitement for sport, maybe sign up for a 5k road race and set your sights on a new PR. The first couple days, maybe weeks of training go well, but inevitably life somehow gets in the way and throws a wrench in what could have otherwise been a great training block. Work deadlines seem to tighten, errands stack up on themselves and suddenly your time to train becomes a distant memory.
It is way too easy to let this happen while trying to juggle the “real world.”
The trick? Planning.
Whether you have a coach, training group or choose to self-coach, a long-term training plan helps to stay on track. When you’re planning your workouts on a day-to-day basis, it’s too easy to throw training by the wayside when something else pops up.
Chart out a plan and do your best to make it work with your time constraints. Of course, there will always be situations that call for a little creative finagling, but if you can see a greater whole than just daily training, you’ll better understand the importance of each workout and plan. And, be less likely to ditch the plan in the first moment of difficulty.
When you’re training and working, we know you’re busy. And, all those miles add up to a serious appetite. Cut down on some of the mid-week chaos by planning food and meals ahead. Make dinners that you can stretch over several nights. Stuff granola bars and other snacks in your car, desk, and other convenient places you can turn to when hunger strikes. Get to know your crock pot -- the magical contraption that allows you to throw raw ingredients in during a 15 minute morning rush and come home to a fully cooked meal.
This stuff sounds simple and straightforward, but it really does help take some of the thought process out of the busy week. Take some time during the weekend to plan how you’re going to eat on a tight schedule throughout the week.
Rest is your best friend. And for many, this aspect may be the most difficult part. You know how to run hard and work hard, but when it comes to slowing down, you falter. Rest is what you need to let all of your hard work sink in and actually reap the benefits.
Try to sneak away for the occasional nap, especially on harder workout and mileage days. Even if you can swing lying down for 30 minutes to close your eyes mid-day, you’ll notice a difference. The power nap is indeed powerful! And, no matter how luring the screen of your cell phone can be at night, give yourself some extra ZZZ’s by putting it down when you get in bed instead of scrolling through your Instagram feed one more time.
Figuring out the training, work and life balance obviously takes some individualization for everyone’s own personal constraints. With some on-the-go tweaking and planning ahead, you’ll figure out your own routine and time hacks that work well for you.