Often times when I tell other people, particularly those close to my age, that I am a distance runner I hear a few common things. Sometimes, it is a straight up, “I hate running how can you do it so much?”, other times I get asked how my body holds up, but mostly I hear “how do you find the time?”. The idea of being too busy to run is not far fetched for many people including myself. However, lack of time may really be an excuse to avoid the impending pain that will occur when you start to push you body outside of its comfort. I have been a runner for two decades and aside from illness and pregnancy I have been able to carve out time to run regularly. Sure, I am not able to do back to back long runs, tag multiple peaks, choose the best training locations or finish up my runs with brunch at a trendy cafe. However, I make the daily commitment just like I do to shower (except when camping) because running benefits me in so many ways beyond just being race fit.
I found it really funny that my older two children recognized the psychological benefits of running about the same time they learned to speak. They could tell immediately on our way to school/daycare if I had ran. Somehow, they sensed the tension in the air when my daily fix was neglected. I struggled with rest days even before I had them, but now I am truly aware of how my mood is impacted by the natural endorphins and time spent outside. This time may be as short as 20 minutes and even at times happens on the dreadmill, but the point is that I make it happen. My daily run has different intentions depending on training cycles and whether my other priorities need to take precedent. Running is important to me, but so are other things and especially people!
I like to stay organized in life and try to have as much control on how I spend my time. I believe I do this well, but when it comes to relationships you will find it hard to manage your time with the humans in your life. I cannot tell my child to adjust their needs to fit into a time slot, just like I cannot tell my husband that he gets a five minute snuggle. Fortunately, I am a morning person and have always enjoyed running first thing in the morning before the light of day shows and the energy of the world changes. When I first started running I felt like I was a step ahead of the rest of the world and somehow this made me feel empowered. Now, I am just relieved to get the run in before my children are awake and I am pulled in twenty directions. I also am lucky that my husband is not a morning person and is never racing me to the door to get the first workout in.
I may be partial but I would suggest to those of you who are very busy and have the responsibility of other humans, to run early. It is so easy to lose time as the day goes on or to lose motivation when every system has been drained. Life happens, but you cannot blame it on interfering with your training because if you make running a priority you will find the time. I firmly believe that starting my day with a run increases my energy and mental acuity, in addition to what I already mentioned about stabilizing my mood. As your coach, I will not tell you when to run but I will encourage you to make it a priority because it will help you in all facets of life. The daily grind does not have to be glamorous or worthy of enviable posts. It just needs to be for you!