Marathons+Moderation: Guest Post #10

by ashleyd on July 27, 2011

Hi guys! I’m Theodora, and I blog over at Losing Weight in the City about how I maintain my 50-pound weight loss without sacrificing any of my fun, single girl in NYC lifestyle. I’ve loved reading Ashley’s Marathons and Moderations series and am happy to contribute to it.

While I usually like to approach everything in moderation, including moderation, training for a marathon makes this difficult.

I mean, seriously. Try going out for a night of drinks the night before you’re going to run 20 miles. Or after you’ve run 20 miles. Neither are particularly fun.

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This picture was obviously not taken before or after 20 miles.

But as a single girl living in NYC, my social life (and alcohol) are things I refuse to give up during marathon training. But in order to not die while running, some moderation and making your training social is definitely needed. Here’s how I do it.

Happy Hour. Happy hour is my best friend during marathon training. If I don’t have a run planned for the next morning (and sometimes even if I do), you can usually find me at happy hour. It is much easier to recover from a drink or two and run six miles than it is to recover from a drink or two and run twenty. Plus, I can still get into bed early after happy hour and get plenty of sleep.

Sunday Funday. Really, finding different times to be social is the secret to my not going crazy during marathon training. If I’ve stayed in on Friday night and Saturday night because of my running schedule, I’m usually raring to go on Sundays. Sunday brunch or a Sunday Funday is a great way to feel like I’m not missing out on fun just because I don’t want to go out on a Friday or Saturday night.

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Train with Friends. I don’t know if I would have been able to get through training for the Chicago Marathon last year without Ashley. We did most of our long runs together, chatting for hours and hours as we covered miles and miles. It helped me to think of marathon training as something fun and social, rather than something taking me away from my social life.

Don’t Miss Important Events. Unless you’re getting paid to run, it’s really not worth skipping important events to work in a long run. You can move around your schedule and find time to get your run in. I promise. Missing something important to get your run in will just make you resent running. I know it’s not always fun, but nursing a drink, or even (gasp!) drinking water beats missing out.

Embrace Step-Back Weeks. When you’re running 18 or 20 miles, a step-back week with a long run of 13 miles scheduled seems like a short run. (Because marathon training is crazy.) So, while I still don’t advocate going out and getting drunk the night before a 13-miler, go ahead and embrace it. Stay out a little later. Enjoy yourself.

One Glass is Probably Okay. This totally depends on the person, but I’ve found that, for me, I can handle a glass of wine the night before a long run without becoming too dehydrated. In fact, the night before my first 15-miler, I was way too nervous and one little glass of wine totally took the edge off.

Overdoing It Once in a While Won’t Hurt. A week before my marathon, I had a very late night. While I probably *shouldn’t* have done that so close to the marathon, I don’t think it hurt me much in the long run.

Plan Something Fun for After the Marathon. Or lots of something funs. Ashley and I got to know Fun Theodora and Fun Ashley very well once we finished our marathons. For me, crossing the finish line was well worth the months of sacrifice, but having lots of Fun Ashley and Fun Theodora nights after our marathons made us appreciate our free nights (as weird as they were at first) more than we ever had before.

So, while it does take quite a bit of sacrifice to train for and run a marathon, I think it’s totally possible to achieve moderation and keep an active social life.

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