Marathons+Moderation Guest Post #23

Good morning readers! I’m Victoria from The District Chocoholic, where I write about everything related to chocolate – chocolate shops around the country, reviews of truffles and chocolate bars, and of course, delicious chocolate recipes that I put together.


Ashley has kindly offered to let me write in her “Marathons and Moderation” series, and I am thrilled to do it because I was in awe of her dedication to training for the New York City Marathon (did you read about the time she woke up at 4:45 am to run twelve miles in San Francisco while there for business travel?) I can relate to how much discipline this requires, because my job in the nuclear energy sector requires extensive travel, and I’ve had to find places to run all over the country, sometimes long before dawn. It was worth it, though, when I ran a very evenly-paced and fun race at the Richmond Marathon on November 12 this year.

So how did I manage to do it without burning out or (totally) losing my mind? I get asked that often, since in addition to a fairly demanding full time job with travel and long hours, I am the head coach for a local synchronized swimming team, which requires more travel and time dedication. I made it possible, and here are a few tips that you can use yourself if you are wondering how on earth you could fit marathon training into your own hectic life.

Tip 1: Pick a race that works well with your life

In March and April, I spend a lot of time traveling to coach the awesome synchronized swimmers on our team at meets that run 12-14 hours a day.


Fun, yes? Conducive to sticking with a solid marathon training program? Not so much. This is why I picked a November marathon – seven weeks of my training cycle was during the synchronized swimming off season, and the remainder was prior to the competitive season getting underway.

Tip 2: Cross train

Running 5-6 days a week for a 16-20 week training cycle can make you hate running and pine away for days off. Solution? Cross train!


I personally love swimming for my days off running, since I swam four years in college. I even did a few open water race during marathon training to keep myself mindful of the fact that there IS a life outside of running. As an added bonus, this can help prevent injury in and running burnout. You don’t have to swim, just find another aerobic activity that you enjoy.

Tip 3: Have a cabinet filled with chocolate at your disposal

This tip needs no explanation.


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  1. Alyssa November 30, 2011 / 4:52 pm

    Victoria’s comments are right on! Without cross training, I get so burnt out on running, it’s awful. I can’t imagine coaching and training for a marathon – her workouts really inspire me! Also, I’m glad for the pictures so I can actually recognize her when I (hopefully) see her on Saturday. Looking for chocolate won’t cut it.

  2. Irina G (Fit Flexitarian) November 30, 2011 / 10:17 pm

    I really like your tip about cross training! As someone who’s just now getting into running (or exercise in general), I want to train for a 5K but I also don’t want that to be the ONLY thing I do. I really like yoga and taking new classes. But I have a question: if running is your main focus, how often can I devote my time to other forms of exercise? I was thinking running Mon/Wed/Fri, yoga on Tues/Thurs and then a “fun” fitness class (I’m aiming to try a new class each week) on Sunday. Is there not enough running here, though? Thanks!

  3. Jess@atasteofconfidence November 30, 2011 / 10:52 pm

    Great post! I spent so many hours in that pool it isnt even funny.

  4. Hannah December 1, 2011 / 3:43 am

    Is it okay to have a chocolate stash more extensive than that if I don’t run or swim? :S (and 😛 )

  5. Kristina December 5, 2011 / 2:53 pm

    Definitely agree with the first tip! I have major ebbs and flows in my teaching schedule, and there are some stretches during the year when I am dealing with lots of meetings and after-school-obligations and I would be crazy to try to train for something.

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