Today, over 30,000 people will run in the Boston Marathon and the rest of the city will shut down to sleep in, drink, and cheer them on.
We all have classmates who impressively balance work and school along with athletic feats. Yes, part-time MBA students at Questrom School of Business do run marathons! We caught up with a few of these students— all marathon-runners at one time or another during their PEMBA studies— to find out how they pulled it off and why.
How do you find the time to train?
Conor LeBlanc—two-time marathon runner as a PEMBA: I found that it was most helpful to commit to a routine early on. For me, that meant getting my weekday runs done each morning before work so I didn’t have to worry about scheduling around class or homework. On the weekends, Saturday morning were my time for long runs. This was hard for the first couple weeks, but I found that I became more of a morning person than I thought I was and I began to like getting an early start to the day. Also, it is helpful to make the run as “fun” as you can.
Myra Sack— three-time marathon runner as a PEMBA student: I train early mornings before work. Take Friday mornings off, and do long runs on the weekend.
Julie Shea— two-time marathon runner as a PEMBA: Training for the Boston marathon last spring kept me disciplined about getting enough sleep, eating well, and minimizing my intake of alcoholic beverages. My social life pretty much disappeared but I was well rested, focused, and productive!
Leah Ofsevit, three-time marathon runner as a PEMBA and running blogger at ShorterandFaster.com: Waking up early in the morning. I wake up at 6:00 most days. (I also have no commute so that’s cheating.) I run at lunch. I literally run whenever I can find a second. Having a training plan gives me structure. Otherwise I would just push it off and not do it, but this time around I have a coach who writes me a training plan so I’m accountable to an individual person if I don’t do it.
Marissa Rivera, one-time marathon runner (so far) and Tough Ruck participant as a PEMBA: I train in the mornings before work. I’ve never been a morning person, so it’s lucky that running doesn’t take much mental effort.
Why do you do it?
Conor: Mostly I did it for the sense of accomplishment and to prove to myself that I could do it. It also was a great way for me to force myself to get into a routine of regular exercise and getting up early each morning. Those were some good habits that came out of the experience. Once I had run my first marathon, I couldn’t wait to do another – the feeling you get after finishing the race is amazing, and when you start sharing that experience with others, especially other runners, the passion can be infectious. Plus, if you have a competitive edge, you’re eager to beat your previous time!
Myra: It’s a major stress relief. I was a soccer player in college and miss the opportunity to train for something that is bigger than myself. This fills that void.
Julie: It had always been a dream of mine to run Boston marathon. I had knee surgery in February of 2015 and had to do a lot of physical therapy that winter and spring, so once i was back to running I decided that was the year I’d do it.
Leah: I love the way that I feel because I do it and I have a goal that I’m working towards. It’s not not just, “Oh I’ll go to yoga class because that feels great.” I will do this because I want do this thing, and I know that I can and makes me feel amazing and it’s a goal that I can accomplish. It also clears my mind. I don’t listen to music usually when I run or anything. I just run— it’s a time when I’m not thinking about anything or processing things.
Marissa: For me, running has been a great way to help maintain some personal balance throughout the PEMBA program. I like having an area outside of work and school where I can invest effort and see progress, and I love having a structured way to consistently get time to be outside and let my mind wander. Marathon training is also a fabulous excuse for going to bed early, which is probably my second favorite activity as a PEMBA.
Congratulations to all of the marathon runners, especially our Questrom classmates!