For nearly all of us, running is a recreational activity we do to keep ourselves healthy, happy and sane. However, it requires us to set aside time out of our busy schedule. While schedules vary from person to person, there is one constant for everyone. There are 24-hours in a day. How you choose to spend those hours and fit in running will depend on two things; how important running is to you and what kind of running goals you set for yourself.
I’m a believer that regardless of schedules and how full your date book is, anyone can train for a 5k or 10k. Neither distance requires the participant to put in any significant amount of time that would encroach on life’s other necessities. However, once you set the goal to run farther and train harder, you may have to make sacrifices in other areas of your life.
Let me try and put it into perspective by providing an example from my own life. I’m married and have four children (7 months, 3, 4, and 14). My wife is a full-time nurse and works every Monday, Friday, and every other Saturday/Sunday. My 14 year old is with us every Tuesday and Thursday evening and every other weekend (the weekend my wife works), so we tend to try and do family things when he is with us. I also work an 8 – 5 job Monday through Friday, with an occasional Saturday thrown in. We own a home with a large yard which requires constant attention. Needless to say, finding time to train for ultra-marathons is a challenge.
Let me share one more story. I have a good friend who is recently divorced. She has two children and a full-time job, along with managing her own home and related schedules. She recently told me she wakes up at 4:30am every morning so that she can train. One day a week, usually Friday, she has a family member who is willing to watch her children while she does a long run. This amazing woman runs 2 – 3 marathons a year and continues to get faster. Her example is incredible because she truly sacrifices what, for most of us, is the most precious commodity in our lives, sleep.
I don’t have the consistent morning dedication she does. When my wife works she has to be gone by 6:15am. When she is home she likes to get up early and workout herself. I’m allowed one morning run each week which often starts around 4:30am. I also do one night workout each week, which generally begins at 9pm and ends sometime after midnight. As a trail ultra-marathon runner I make an effort to run in the mountains as often as possible, so I have to take into account travel time. Luckily, I live in a location that facilitates limited travel and maximum trail time. Also to my advantage is that I have a boss and a job that allows me to take longer lunches and run for a longer period of time than most. Yet, it also means I eat lunch in front of a computer and during conference calls each day. I sacrifice the luxury of going out to lunch with friends and family so that I can train.
Regardless of what your personal goals are, if you want to run and train you are going to have to make certain sacrifices. For some of you, it might mean sacrificing some sleep. For others, it could mean eating lunch at your desk while you work so you can get out for a 30 minute run during lunch. It might also mean juggling some things in your personal life so that you can have additional time to get out. These sacrifices might include decreased TV time (while I do watch a fair bit of TV, I don’t have a single show I follow each week because I refuse to dedicate the time to it), gaming, internet or even some house cleaning.
What it really boils down to is, if you want it bad enough you’ll find a way to make it happen! Time is valuable to all of us, but there are always solutions to finding the time to add running into our lives. What are you willing to sacrifice to enjoy this? Please share below, or what you already do sacrifice to make time for running. We’d love to hear it!