Today we are going back in time for a little “Best Of” episode that I thought would be timely as the end of the year and the holiday season are rapidly approaching. One of the biggest issues that I have in my running is finding the time to balance my running with everything else going on in my life.
And from talking with many other runners, I know that I’m not alone.
So on today’s quick tip, I want to talk about ways to maintain a semblance of balance between “running, life, and everything in between.”
The Obstacles to Balance
Everyone has their own obstacles to finding balance between running and the rest of their lives, but family and work or two of the most common.
And for most of us, those are non-negotiable.
We can’t fire our families and we can’t just up and quit our jobs.
So we have to figure out how to make all of the things we want to do and all of the things we need to do fit into the same 24 hours.
Admittedly, that’s not easy. But it is doable.
Well that’s the million dollar question…
Ideas for Finding and Maintaining Balance in Your Life
Schedule Your Priorities:
Too many of us, myself included, prioritize our schedules.
Whether you’re using a written planner, google calendar, or some other system to keep track of everything you have to do, it’s easy to look at that list and think how am I ever going to squeeze in a run let alone train for a race.
In that case, you’re prioritizing the things on your schedule instead of scheduling your priorities.
You need to put the most important things on your calendar first, and let the busyness of life fill in the spaces.
You know when you have to work, so that goes on your calendar. And you know when you have to be at events for your kids, so put those on your calendar.
Want to find more time to run? Schedule it. End of.
If running/training is going to be a priority for you, you have to schedule it first. And then, you have to treat those runs (which you’ve scheduled because you view them as priorities) as such. If something comes up that isn’t a Grade 1 emergency, and honestly there are very few Grade 1 emergencies these days, you need to honor yourself enough to say that you have a prescheduled commitment at that time.
This is one of my favorite tricks for balancing running and life: simply invent more time.
On the surface this sounds ridiculous, I know. But please, hear me out.
How much time do you spend during the average week idly waiting for the next thing on you schedule?
What am I talking about? When you drop your kids off at soccer practice or dance lessons or whatever it is they are doing, what do you do for that 1–2 hours in between?
Most people I know just kind of “hang out” during that time. Maybe you watch. Maybe you go to Starbucks for an overpriced (and not particularly good) cup of coffee and browse or scroll through Instagram or text back and forth with a friend.
There’s nothing wrong with doing any of those things. But if you are struggling to find time to run regularly, why not go knock off a few miles in that window?
If you do so, in a sense, you are inventing more time in your day. And would a little more time help you achieve a sense of balance?
I bet it would.
Get Up Earlier:
Probably the most common suggestion for those that struggle to balance regular running with life is to simply get up earlier.
If you’re not much of a morning person, this isn’t the kind of advice you are probably looking for.
That said, it works.
If you can drag yourself out of bed an hour earlier every day, not only will you get your run in but you might start to find that it sets the rest of your day up for success.
I’ve only recently become a morning person (sleeping until 5 am is legitimately sleeping in for me now) and the difference I feel for the rest of the day when I run first thing in the morning vs when I don’t is crazy.
When I run first thing, I feel better. I’m not worried about finding time to run later.
Don’t knock it until you try it, believe me.
Listen to the Byrds:
Sometimes, as much as you may not want to, you may have to shift your focus to achieve balance.
One of my least favorite songs of all time is Turn, Turn, Turn by the Byrds. But damn if that song isn’t spot on for finding balance in your life.
Point blank, you can’t do all of it all of the time.
Depending on the other non-negotiables of life, you may have to back off on your running some to stay balanced.
And that’s ok.
Nothing says that we have to be “all in” on running all of the time or else. Run for fun as you’re able for weeks/months/years, and when life allows you to focus more on your running you can do so.
That doesn’t make you less of a runner. That makes you a well rounded human.
And that is a good thing.
There is No Formula to Achieve Balance
If you’re looking to find balance in your life between running and everything else, nothing beats a little trial and error as you attempt to figure out what balance looks like for you.
And if all else fails…
This post/quick tip was inspired by a new member of our Facebook group that is new to running and trying to find that balance that we all struggle to hold on to.
She asked, and dozens of folks answered.
If you’re stuck, just ask. I can pretty much guarantee that you’re not the first nor the only runner in the world to be dealing with the same or very similar issue.
Start asking around, and I guarantee you’ll find someone with some advice that will help you. But ultimately it’s up to you to figure out what works for you.
That may take some trial and error, and that’s ok.
Finding balance is worth the effort, believe me.
Originally published at http://www.dizruns.com on November 20, 2017.