February - the shortest month on the calendar, even if it is a day longer than usual this year! Training for those spring marathons is well underway and race day is getting closer. Most marathon plans consist of around 16 weeks training, where you'll typically run three to five times a week. It can all seem a little overwhelming and a question I'm often asked is ‘How do you manage to fit it all in?’

Here are my top tips for how to fit marathon training into a busy working week and still maintain some sort of social life...

Be realistic 

Pick a training plan that best fits around your lifestyle by working out how many days you can realistically train (any more is a bonus). If you work long hours / have childcare to factor in then a plan that requires 6 days a week may not be the best one for you.

Take it one week at a time 

I tend to look at that week’s training plan and prioritise my time. If I’m busy on a certain evening then I’ll make that a rest day and shuffle the run days around.

Try and be consistent 

The ‘odd’ extra rest day won’t harm, but if you regularly miss training then you’re going to struggle. Marathon day is a deadline that doesn’t move and you don’t want to feel underprepared. If you don’t have time to do the full planned workout that day – try and at least do something…. which leads to my next tip…

Have 2 plans 

During previous training I’ve followed an intermediate/advanced plan and but I also had a copy of the beginners plan. I used the beginners plan as a ‘bare minimum’ guide. So on REALLY busy days / weeks, I’ve switched to that one – it’s still something and something is better than nothing!

Break it up 

If I have 8 miles planned on a Wednesday evening and I know I won’t have time to fit it in – I split it up. Do 2 or 3 miles in the morning and the remaining mileage in the evening. It takes up less time on a night and I’ve still run the miles.

Get up early 

We all have the same amount of hours in the day. Getting up earlier gives you extra time to get things done - and there’s less distractions as everyone else is still in bed.

Run commute 

Running to work may not an option for everyone (I can’t run 70 miles a day) but when I had no car I was getting the train and running 5k to and from the station every day.


Utilise your lunch break by squeezing in a few midday miles. It all adds up and it’s better for you than sitting at your desk online shopping. I promise!

If you really want it you’ll find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse!
written by


Senior Creative from Yorkshire

Age group: 40-44
Club: Pocklington Runners

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