Running, working, raising kids, being a loving wife, being a good daughter and going to school: it is one big balancing act and some days it feels like the scale tips the wrong direction.
How can we manage all that we do without losing our minds?!
Some advice from other parents and runners:
— from Coach Jannine Myers, who has run Boston, ultra-marathons, along with being a writer, women’s running coach and loving wife and mother.
“…when both my girls were young and I was a working mom, exercise became even more of a priority for me because it gave me the relief and fulfillment I needed at such a busy time in my life. However, that meant that I had to sacrifice in other areas, and for me, the sacrifice usually meant giving up sleep. Which is what I mean by not necessarily giving the best advice – as sleep is just as important as exercise in terms of maintaining good health.”
— from Ultramarathon Man, Dean Karnazes much along the lines of Coach J’s advice:
“He doesn’t let training infringe on family time (he has a daughter, 10, and a son, 7). So, after tucking his kids into bed on a Friday, he’ll run 75 miles through the night and meet his family the next morning in the Napa Valley for breakfast. Or he’ll rise early Saturday, run a marathon before breakfast, and another on Sunday.” http://insightfuldevelopment.com/inspired-must-read-story-dean-karnazes/
— from me. I have run a few ultras, Boston and some IronMan triathlons and along with the above two coaches, agree that you cannot have it all.
After I had my youngest daughter, I decided to run my first ultra distance. My training partner and I would meet every Saturday and Sunday morning, starting at 4:00 AM to get the miles in before the family woke up. Was it easy to get out of bed at 3:30 or earlier? Not.At.All.
I also knew I could not train for another IronMan while working full time with small children. It was too much time out on a bike or in the pool or out running. So I gave that up and picked the sport I love most, trail running.
As Jannine and Dean have both wrote, something has to give.
For all of us, it meant little to no social life past 8:00 PM. When 7:30 rolled around, I could feel the tiredness start to seep in. Our social hour shifted to our early morning running hour, which became our WOOT group. And that is why we get up and get going so early, along with the heat and sun and other family fun waiting at home for our return.
Work-life-run balance is possible but where your priorities lie, is what will get you going and keep you moving. And someday soon, you will get to that next stage of your life, kids grow up, school is finished, our goals shift. One foot in front of the other; you got this!