With anything brand new, there are new skills to build, a learning curve, and a roller coaster of emotions. That is why it is almost universal that first-time marathoners train before their big race. Not only does training set you up for greater success, but it is half the fun. Running a marathon is not just about race day but the entire experience — and this is similar to wedding planning!
Without the proper "training," many couples walk away from their wedding day feeling like it was one big stressed-out blur. However, by treating wedding planning like training for a marathon, couples can set themselves up to experience the amazing, memorable day they crave and have much more fun along the way. Here are five lessons engaged couples can learn from first-time marathoners.
1. Create a personalized plan
No two marathon training plans are the same. They take into account many individualized metrics like how long you have to train, previous running experiences, and personal goals. That is why the one-size-fits-all wedding timelines and budgets do not work. They do not take into account your specific needs, wants, and desires. It is helpful to take a step back and create your own personalized wedding plan so you are not swayed by what others are doing, what you think you "should" do, or what you feel is expected of you.
2. Celebrate along the way
When you are a first-time marathoner, you are constantly hitting new goals while you train, like your first 10-mile run or your first sub-nine-minute mile. There is a sense of accomplishment with each new milestone. This is what makes marathon training fun and keeps you motivated. For the same reasons, it is important to take time to celebrate your different milestones when you are wedding planning, like booking the venue, sending the invitations out, and nailing down your dinner menu. Too many couples skip this step and they lose an opportunity to fully enjoy each component of the experience.
3. Prioritize self-care
An essential part of marathon training is making sure that you are well-nourished, get enough sleep, and take rest days. Neglecting this can lead to injury, missing your time goal, or falling ill. With so much to do when wedding planning — trying to juggle a full-time job, a relationship, friends, family, and life on top of planning a wedding — it is important to make sure you are adding self-care to your to-do list. Without carving out this time to rest and refuel, you may get sick, burn out, or lose sight of what is important to you.
4. Choose your cheerleaders
It is not uncommon for first-time marathoners to train with someone. It can be helpful to have an accountability partner and cheerleader. While your future spouse may serve this role for you while wedding planning, it is also important to figure out who else lifts you up, can help you achieve your vision, and can be your cheerleader when things get stressful. Too often, couples default their wedding party to childhood friends or family members out of obligation when they would likely have a much more enjoyable experience if they chose their true cheerleaders instead.
5. Ask for support
It is rare to hear a first-time marathoner feel guilty or embarrassed for taking a day off, seeing a physical therapist if they have an injury, or asking people to support them on race day. When it comes to wedding planning, though, many couples shy away asking for help because they do not want to feel like a burden. However, trying to do everything on your own is exhausting and stressful, and it can suck the fun out of the entire experience. It can be much more enjoyable if you ask for the support you need, delegate the tasks you do not like, and allow others to help you create that special and memorable wedding experience that will make your heart flutter for years to come.