The marathon is arguably one of the most physically demanding of all sporting events. In order to prepare for a marathon, runners must dedicate countless hours on the roads and trails putting in as many training miles as humanely possible. Regardless of how long it takes you to cover the 26.2-mile course, the rewards for all this hard work are well worth it when you see that finish line come race day.
But what happens if you don't have the time required to train for a marathon? What if you are one of the 14 million single parents living in the United States today? Is it possible to become a single-parent marathoner? Is there such a thing as single-parent marathon training?
The answer is yes.
Single-parent marathon training can start in the gym. Most gyms offer day care services and it is possible for single parents to drop their children off at these facilities while they head to the treadmill for a long run. But what if gym membership is too expensive? No problem. Single parents can take their children with them on the run! Most jogging strollers cost under $200 and some used models can be found for as cheap as $50.
If you plan to take your child with you on the run in the wintertime, make sure your little bundle of love is warmly dressed. On windy days, especially ensure the child's face, hands, head, and feet are covered. Running into a strong headwind with a stroller can reduce the ambient temperature by as much as 30 degrees.
If you want to bring your child with you on a run in the summertime, make sure to apply generous amounts of sunscreen and bring enough water for the both of you. Be sure also to pack a few snacks for your child, especially on your long runs.
Many single-parent marathoners are also challenged with finding care for their child on race day. One possible solution is to join a single-parent running club. Many large cities have such clubs where members take turns caring for children when the parent needs to race. If your city doesn't have such a club, then start one! You might be surprised to see how many people out there are just like you.
A final tip for single-parent marathoners: cut yourself a break. Taking care of children on your own can be extremely taxing--both mentally and physically. There may be days when you just can't get out and run. There may even be weeks, too. Don't despair. There will always be marathons to choose from and if you can't reach your goal, because life got in the way, there will always be another marathon down the road. Since your time is so valuable, remember too that you may not be able to get a training run longer than ten miles. For the days that you need to run farther, plan ahead and see if family or a friend can watch your child while you are out on the roads or trails.
So chin up, you single parents out there! Because of the demands placed on your time, you may have never even given running a marathon a thought.
Hopefully from this article, you are now convinced that single-parent marathon training is, indeed, possible.