Many of us are aware that the 40th Marine Corps Marathon is coming up in October. It’s a bucket list race for many runners. Not only is the Marine Corps Marathon on our minds, but fall in general brings about many great races due to subsiding heat and beautiful foliage. Training for most is about to begin…and it is the peak of the PCS season.
Training during a PCS (Permanent Change of Station, or move), while a challenge, is not impossible. It will also not be perfect, and that is fine. These are just a few mental tricks I use to get through an exciting but challenging time.
Maintain before you train. The key to successfully training during a big life change is to plan ahead. Make sure you have a solid base prior to the training start. Odds are a few planned runs will be missed during your move, so having the base to back your missed runs will keep detriment low.
Get creative. Run anywhere and any distance. Instead of missing a run completely, get in a couple of miles. Two miles is better than no miles. It’s perfectly fine to change planned run days around or adjust the mileage to make it work with pack days, truck days, hotel days, drive days, wine days, my-children-are-going-crazy days.
Vent. You are leaving one place and moving to a new one. Anxiety, excitement, sadness, frustration are all whirling within you right now. Take this opportunity to have a few memory-lane runs in your soon-to-be old hood. Whatever emotion you feel about the move can process during your run. Run hard, cry, laugh, shout “hallelujah, I can’t wait to get out of here!”, or whatever is traveling through your mind. You may come back a little lighter and better able to handle some of the stress.
Don’t stress. If you are a check-list person like myself, you probably look at your mileage log with nausea when you see so many blanks or the numbers are not where you hoped they would be. Go for a run, or have a beer and ignore it. Either way, make a decision and move on. You have enough to stress about already. Once things settle, you can hit the ground running again (knee slapper, you’re welcome).
Don’t race (she said what?!?!?). This is a very valid option. If the timing is just plain poor, plan for a later race. You know yourself, your body, and whether the training is manageable for you and your family. There are ALWAYS more races. Missing too many planned runs can lead to big problems, and you may need to rethink the race altogether. Instead, sign up for a race a couple of months later.
Share your ideas or tried-and-true methods for training through a time of transition. We'd love to hear them!