Have you figured out the study-life balance? Try training for the half marathon at uni

Training for half marathon as a student

By Nicole Correia,

Nothing is easy when you’re a student: food shopping as a student is a price busting mission, finding a job is annoying when you’re not qualified because you’re studying to become qualified, maintaining a relationship whilst at uni can be tricky, and here I am trying to manage it all and at the same time, signing up to do a half marathon. Does this overload sound familiar? Have you found a way to manage your study-life balance?

For anyone know knows me, they know this is almost an awful habit of mine; overloading, being busy at all hours, then being moody and exhausted on Sunday. Hmm. I’m not sure when this (seemingly) bright idea struck me, but the half marathon in Reading is supposedly the best one to do as a beginner as it is generally flat - this, I’m told, is important. I go to the University of Reading so it’s almost a sign that I should do it…right?

Luckily, the campus gym is pretty good if you’re looking to get fit and really work up a sweat. I much prefer going upstairs to the cardio haven (away from pouting-mirror-looking-weight-lifting-types) and working my socks off then playing sleeping lions on the sit up mats. Most universities now have gym facilities and personal trainers within them that you can ask for fitness advice. I often see them not only showing students how to use specific bits of equipment but also answering their personal queries and aspirations - “how can I get bigger biceps?”

I’ve downloaded an app on my phone to keep me on a running schedule and build up my mileage each week. Sometimes my housemates see me waddle down the stairs and they know straight away that I’ve been running earlier that day. It’s funny but a little embarrassing at times!

I think by putting my mind to training for the half marathon I am more conscious of the time that I spend studying; it’s a cheesy idea but of course the exam and the marathon work out as my end performance; all the training (and reading) counts towards them. It’s essential that you manage your time well during the week so that you may have the weekend to go out, relax and enjoy other elements of university life. This will become increasingly important with each year of study. Do whatever works best for you, but here are my top five tips to getting organised and getting ahead of the game where you can:

  1. If your flatmates are out and you’re not feeling it, make the most of the minimal distraction by getting as much of your work done as possible. This will mean that next time they want to go out and you feel up to it, you can go out care free without thinking of the work you “probably should be doing”.
  2. Use your phone calendar - students these days are always a bit more savvy with their phone than they ever will be with a Filofax. Record assignment dates and type up your timetable - there’s no excuse for missing any now….right?
  3. If your train journey home is long, do not spend your journey texting all your friends arranging plans - do that another time - and use the quiet, scenic journey to read up on things you couldn’t be bothered to read earlier in the term.
  4. Make sure you record all your seminar leader’s email addresses. This will prove very handy if you just have a quick query, need to meet up with them, or cannot make a seminar for whatever reason. It is a really good idea to make sure your seminar leaders and staff within your department know who you are.
  5. Sign up to lots of opportunities, even if you’re not sure you’ll be able to do them all. This may sound odd but it’s important to make the most of your uni experience and this will give you great practice of time management as you prioritise what needs to be done and what could be done if you are good with your time: do I run the half marathon, become a student rep or join social mixed hockey?

We’ll soon see if I made the right choice!