top of page
  • Writer's picturecoachmk

Sacrifice vs Inconvenience

sacrifice vs inconvenience marathon training hard choices

In recent track sessions I have encouraged you to focus on making good decisions continuously as you run to make sure you run YOUR best race.  We practice this by paying attention to our heart rate, our breathing, OUR effort level rather than looking at the people around us.  Instead of saying, "OMG I"M BEHIIIIIIIIIND!!!!!!!!!!!" I want you to think to yourself, "ha, AMATEURS!  Too bad they don't have a coach that loves them" and smile to yourself smugly while the people in your corral shoot ahead of you like it's a sprint instead of a MARATHON.  Let them GO, let them GOOOOO....

Put your ego aside and resist the urge to chase them, the little choices like that you make on a minute-to-minute basis on race day will add up quickly - the winner is the guy ahead at the end of 13.1 or 26.2 miles, not at the end of mile 3 or the top of the first hill. This week we are stepping back a bit and looking at the bigger picture, the choices you make on a day-to-day basis with a lesson called "Sacrifice vs Inconvenience".  We are hitting a point where the mileage is really adding up- remember how I said that the long runs wouldn't get any shorter?  Some of the mid-week runs are getting pretty long too, especially for those of you who are following heart rate rules.  Is making time for these runs a sacrifice or merely an inconvenience? I'm sure you all remember the kick-off presentation where I said that the commitment to running a half marathon can end up being as much of a time-suck as a part time job. 

That screenshot above is from a really good training week last year.  You might look at this and think that it took me nearly 8 hours to run slightly over 43.5 miles last week and that my runs average 50 minutes in duration. 

What that screenshot is ACTUALLY saying is that my Polar m400 was recording 7.84 hours of running last week, it fails to tell you how much time I spent : 

  • driving to and from my run locations (avg. 7 minutes each way so let's say 15 to make the math easy)

  • warming up (average 15 mins) 

  • foam rolling (15 minutes before I get in the car to come home, I do more throughout the day)

  • showering and changing clothes (15 minutes, but I don't work in an office and don't have to be 'presentable')

Add it all up and I am absolutely racing to keep the daily workout under 2 hours, and some days I work out twice per day. That's roughly 16 hours of training-related time blocked in my calendar.  Not to mention my husband travels during the week for work and I have 3 children under 4 years old at home, so those (10) weekday hours I have to pay a sitter. 

To minimize the sitter cost, I have to be expedient - she arrives at 6am, and I have to be dressed and out the door at 6 SHARP, so I sleep in my run clothes and make sure I'm in bed by 10pm at the absolute latest.  I have to plan, and often prepare, all of my meals in advance. 

It sounds like a lot of work, and it is.  It sounds like a lot of discipline, and I can't argue with that.  What it is NOT, for me, is inconvenient because this is how I have lived for the last 20 years.  I know that the road to success is paved with inconvenience for all and sacrifice for some and am grateful that I don't feel like I've sacrificed very much for my successes.   All too often I hear runners say, "I wish I had natural talent so I wouldn't have to work so much!"  You will never hear me say that.  Natural talent is absolutely not a substitute for hard work, and the most talented amongst us who are willing to work the hardest have to sacrifice the most.  Watch this interview with Gabby Douglas, the girl who won 2 Olympic Gold medals at 17.  Note where she says things like "my siblings had to give up sports so i could achieve my dream..." and "sometimes i think, i'd like to go to prom or have a boyfriend, then I think how many people get to do what I'm doing...' I don't know about you, but I thank my lucky stars that I don't have that much natural talent. I love running.  I love racing.  I love my Polar, my toesocks, my heart rate strap and that buzz I get when I do silly toes and my muscles loosen up because it's time to WORK.  I also love my life, my husband, my kids and my job- and I am thrilled I don't have to trade any of that for my running and I pray every night that I'll never have to trade my running for my husband, my kids, or this amazing job. THAT would be a sacrifice. Yeah, going to bed early is inconvenient but it's not a sacrifice.  Meal planning is boring and inconvenient but not having the food you need when you're hungry is even more inconvenient.  Missing out on the only prom you'll ever have is a sacrifice.  Missing all of the normal experiences that make life interesting and give us stories worth telling - that is a sacrifice.  Giving up something you really really love for any reason at all is the definition of sacrifice.    Now put your big-kid britches on, look at the schedule for the week ahead and think about what you signed up to do.  Get your run clothes out, calculate what time you will need to get up to run tomorrow morning, set your alarms and make sure you go to bed at least 8.5 hours before that.  You can't complain about the sacrifices you're making if you're missing out on stuff because you're actually making bad decisions or refusing to think ahead. I understand that all the planning ahead you have to do when you're training for a time-sucking event like a marathon is inconvenient if you haven't really had to do it before (yet another reason I'm awed and impressed with any non-runner over the age of 25 who wakes up and decides to try a marathon).  Do it well and you won't have to sacrifice much, if anything, between now and the finish line.  YAY FOR GOOD DECISIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Double yay for a coach who loves you enough to write this LONG-AS** EMAIL full of amazing advice even though I know no one will read the whole thing!!!!!!  You could've joined a book club and not read the books, but I'm so thankful you joined a run club!  If you do the runs you don't have to read the emails, but you won't get your money's worth if you ignore me!!!!!!!  DON"T LET THAT $26.20 or $13.10 GO TO WASTE, YA'ALL!!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxo Coach MK

151 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page