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Marathon Training and Relationships- How not to ruin both!

Sep 16, 2015 | Lifestyle, Race Recaps, Running | 7 comments

Boating on the lake serpentine

Marathon training can take a real toll on relationships with your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband, as well as with friends and family. Some will support you wholeheartedly, some will look at you like you’re crazy whilst others may not fully understand what it is or why you’re doing it. While training for 5 marathons, I’ve come across all sorts of responses to my training, some great, some horrid.

I know it’s not just something I struggle with, as I get a lot of questions about this. I have made no secret of the fact that for the past year I have been on a marathon ban, ordered by my boyfriend, Tom. Things are actually much better this training cycle, partly because he’s away during the week so doesn’t get disturbed by my daily 6am alarm. I also think, after training for his own marathon in April, he has learned to understand more about running and training, and has more empathy towards me. Not to mention that he’s already talking about running a faster time at the London Marathon next year if he gets in- he finally understands the drive to run marathons and improve on your time!

Tom marathon 9

When it comes to successfully maintaining relationships and friendships throughout training, it’s all about balance.

Get up early and complete your workout before everyone else wakes up. For me this is especially key during weekends so that Saturday and Sunday aren’t consumed with my long run, similarly on holiday I often get my workout in before breakfast.

Include your friends or partner in some of your workouts, whether it’s a fitness class that they might enjoy or a recovery run- that way you can get your exercise in and have a catch up. I’m loving how many of my friends are up for joining me at Barrecore workouts.

Utilise your lunch breaks if possible- squeezing in your workout in the middle of the work day causes minimum disruption to your home life. It’s especially great if your boss is on board with your training, perhaps you could come in 15-20 mins early to give yourself a little extra time during lunch?

Involve them in your training– maybe they would be keen to run and train with you? I am so excited that my stepdad will be running the Chicago marathon too, and I hope that one day Tom and I can run one together!

Think about following a training plan that involves fewer runs. I used to run 5 times a week, but have seen significant improvements in my pace and social life since switching to 3 runs a week. Personally I could not run more than 3 or 4 times a week anymore, I enjoy cross training too much!

Multitask by running to work, or running to brunch. It takes me an hour to get to work via tube, or 1 hour 20mins to run there…

Prioritise certain social events, if it’s someone’s birthday, engagement, wedding etc, then for me that will take priority. It’s one of my best friend’s weddings this weekend so I’m completing my long run on Friday before work.

Plan an event or holiday after your race. Last year Tom and I went to St Lucia 2 weeks after the Berlin Marathon- it was so great to spend time together without me worrying about how many times I was running or going to the gym. I actually only worked out twice, including a hike up the Pitons with Tom!

Hiking the pitons St Lucia Fit Holiday

Try not to talk about running and training ALL THE TIME.

Convince your other half to move to another city, living apart they won’t even notice your 5am wake up calls for training… Obviously I’m joking about this one but it’s maybe the only benefit of Tom living away from home during the week. No more marathon bans for me 🙂


  1. w. Purves


  2. Nicole

    you are the ultimate early-riser. you’re totally right about that making it easier socially, i need to get better about the 5/6am alarm

  3. Kristin

    These tips are awesome. I never realized how much strain it took on everyone else until I finished my first half. I was shocked that people were excited I was done. When I started my next one I made it a priority to do most of my training before 6am and it was such a big difference. These are great tips!

  4. has2run

    Excellent advice. Nobody understands what I put myself through while training. I have really cut back, it does help overall. I’m happy you are not on marathon parole anymore. Have a great day

  5. Liz

    Awesome tips! I love it! Balance is the name of the game for me in the last few years of my life. And I love how you applied it to keeping to a training schedule, but not losing your social life to it.

  6. Lauren (@PoweredbyPB)

    It’s a tricky one to manage isn’t it, especially if your other half isn’t a runner- mine isn’t, although he comes on a few short runs now and again, but I do feel bad when I go out for hours during training. Training for race to the stones was really tough on both of us, because I was doing long back to backs so would be out for hours on both weekend days- I did feel like we barely saw each other for those few months, but he was very supportive and we worked round it.

  7. Pam and Christine

    I also thinking rising early to get the work done early is the way to go. My husband actually rides a bike with me very occasionally with me on a really long run if I am unable to find someone to run with. It helps to prioritize family events too!



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