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  • Writer's pictureRnMindset

How To Train For A Marathon While Working As A Full Time Nurse

Training for a marathon is not an easy process. While there are many training tips and suggestions on how to train for marathons, there are some variables that nurses should take into consideration when signing up for a marathon. The type of training you will need to do will be different than others, but it is not impossible. Sarah Sellers who is a BSN, CRNA finished the Boston marathon in 2nd place for the women division! Her story is very motivational and inspiring. Her story can be found here

If you are working as a full time nurse, and you want to run a marathon, here are a few tips that will help you get started in your training.

#1. Sign up for a race, then plan.

Just wanting to run a marathon will not be enough to get you to run many miles month after month, with no set goal and plan. If you want to run a marathon, you need to first sign up and pay for it. It is a good idea to sign up for a marathon at least six month in advance so you will have plenty of time to train for it. Marathons are also cheaper if you sign up well in advance. After you sign up, you will have a set date to shoot for, and will be able to make a solid training plan.

As a nurse you should know how to plan. Keeping your plan strategic and measurable will be different for everybody. Just as a care plan is focused on the patient, your plan for a marathon needs to be focused on you. If you are going to finish a marathon, there is only one person who can physically get you to cross the finish line. You will be responsible for your training and getting your body in the shape it will need to be in to finish the long race.

Just as a care plan will change as the patient's needs change, your running plan should change depending on how your training is going. If you find that you are able to run over ten miles easily at a slow pace, and you have another 9 months until race day, you might want to change the pace and make new goals to run a faster race rather than just finishing one.

#2. Keep an accurate record.

Running is an activity that people can have accurate details easier and easier with the use of smart devices. In 2007 you could spend a good chunk of cash buying a Garmin and be able to record how far you ran and how fast you ran. In 2018 you can buy a $14 smart watch off and be able to record your runs, and see your distance.

It is worth the investment to buy something that can track your time and length, to make sure you know what you will be getting yourself into come race day. Running is not a perfect science, and there are many tricks and techniques that change as the sport continues to get more and more competitive. Keeping your running schedule basic to your needs, and knowing where you can improve, will help you know where to push yourself to run farther and faster as you get closer to your race.

#3. Put in the miles.

The marathon is not an easy run. If you run at a consistent pace for over 26 miles, you can expect to be done anywhere from three to six hours. The elite marathon runners can run the race in under three hours, and runners who spend time walking the course it will take longer than six hours. To have an elevated heart rate for several hours will require you to get your body and heart stable enough to endure the long race.

When you sign up for your race and make a plan, find the best times where you will have energy to run. Most nursing positions in the United States are twelve hour shifts. While it might be necessary to run after some of your shifts, you will most likely not have the energy to run every day of the week.

Most marathon training programs will have you run a certain amount of miles per day for six days, and then take a day off. If you are in a position where you have the energy to run six days a week and have one day off, that is great, but if you don't have the energy to run six days a week it is still possible for you to run a marathon at a good pace. You will need to run a little differently, but it is not impossible.

If you work three twelves, you will have four full days off to recover and run. Every week you will want to have a goal for a certain amount of miles to run, and then slowly increase the amount of miles you put in for the week. Slowly increasing is key to avoid injury. Pushing yourself too fast will most likely result in injury, and slow down your progress.

As you will want to keep track of the amount of miles you run, also put in the amount of hours you put in with an elevated heart rate. As stated earlier, running a marathon will require multiple hours with an elevated heart rate. If you can find other activities that you find enjoyable, that will elevate your heart rate for a certain amount of time, this should also be included in your plan. If you mountain bike or swim for two hours, just include the two hours into your plan as elevated heart rate hours. This combined with the miles you run will help you have a better understanding of how prepared you will be for your race.

To simplify these steps, remember to first sign up for a race. Next, make a plan and set goals for yourself. After you have a realistic plan, carry out your plan and be consistent. Start your training slow, and build your body into a marathon runner. Keep track of your miles, and the hours you spend with an elevated heart rate. It is not absolutely necessary to run every day to run a marathon. You will have less risk for injury, and have better runs if you run on a schedule where you know you have energy.


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