Updated: Feb 3, 2021
It’s three days before Christmas. I am wrapping up my corporate gig for the holiday break and my wife and kids are out of the house. Time for a run.
I strap on my new purple Nike Pegasus Turbo 2s and head for my favorite route. I have a solid hour of no responsibility. But a quarter mile in, the phone rings with a last minute request from work and the project is due, you guessed it, that day.
I turn around and start doing the design thing I love to do. By the time it’s completed, the family is back home and it’s time to bake Christmas cookies. My 10K run (with a planned aggressive pace) is in jeopardy.
The hardest part about running is finding time to train. With family time and careers, a routine running schedule doesn’t always happen for everyday runners like myself. In a runner’s mind, missing one outing determines how well you will do on race day. This stress is a frequent feeling of mine and I am finding ways to address it.
Back to Reality
I am a pretty good runner. I set high expectations for myself on race day and follow a rigid training plan building up to it. However, I am not elite. Running is for fun and health. My livelihood isn’t dependent on how well I do during the KDF Marathon. How I get to the finish line doesn’t need to be as strict and consuming as it would for a professional. Running isn’t my job, so I shouldn’t treat it as such.
Far too many times I‘ll go out for a run with a million things on my mind. We as runners need to figure out what’s important, running the miles because our training plan says to or running the miles to get in better shape. There’s a huge difference.
I’ll try to sneak a run in the middle of a work project. The whole time I am listening for my phone while running with an uncontrolled pace to fit in the daily run requirement. At no time am I thinking about the run and how it’s going to benefit me. It’s a waste.
Throw away runs can happen on family time too. If I get behind at work, the planned run on the way home gets canceled to make dinner for the family. This only leave me with the undesirable post dinner run. Not only am I bloated, I miss rowdy time with the kids.
After running consistently for the past 4.5 years, I am finally starting to respect the run. I don’t think running clears your mind, I believe running calibrates it. If you aren’t mentally there because you’re stressed out at work and your plan calls for hill work, take a day off from running. If it’s strictly a timing issue, tell yourself it’s okay to cut the run short or run earlier or later. Choose a plan with flexibility. I choose five day plans to give two days to make up because a missed run.
Running enthusiasts have to get creative with runs. I’ll go back to my example I started with. When work was finished and the cookies were baked and decorated for Santa, I was able to bundle up my daughter and go for a stroller run for a couple miles. I didn’t get the full six miles as originally planned, but was able to have fun jabbering with my two year old. I focused on the run and obtained meaningful miles.
When life gets in the way of training, just know your training isn’t shot. Use the delay to get your mind ready for your next opportunity to run.