When Life Gets In the Way

22 Sep

Yesterday during my ten mile run along the Capital Crescent trail, I saw a friend who I hadn’t seen in several months. I had met him back in January and we had the best run together. He was getting ready to travel to Brazil at that time, a place I love so I was excited to hear about his trip! After we exchanged travel stories, he told me that he didn’t want to slow me down.  He explained that he was injured and that his IT band was killing him. He expressed concern about the upcoming marathon and was disappointed that he he let other things get in the way of his training. He had just completed the Nation’s Triathlon so he was training for other sports, his Sister had visited so he had been out partying, and things came up. That being said, he didn’t get in many of the long runs that he needed to be adequately prepared for the marathon. He was bummed.

After hearing all this, I asked him why he wanted to run the Marine Core Marathon. He said it was one of his goals. Hmmm…yes he’s an overachiever, but it didn’t really make sense to me with his injuries and lack of training. Sure anyone can try to run a marathon, but I think of goals much differently. I think of the journey as the goal and the result is the icing on the cake. My friends have joked that I could run a marathon in my sleep. Yeah, I probably could, but I want to do my best and without training, I can’t do my best. 

I asked him to reassess his goal, to give his body more rest, and to consider doing a half marathon. I know from experience that if you run a marathon with injuries, those injuries will become much worse and the recovery much longer. That being said, I never said to give up, I just suggested that he reassess his goal, its significance, and perhaps choose a different path.

I ran my first marathon when I was 21. I was injured, but I ran it anyway. My legs locked up at mile 3 but I finished it. Yeah, I was determined, but I was stupid. I broke down so many muscle fibers that I had to get an IV so I wouldn’t damage my kidney. I thought I was a badass, but really I was stupid. Since then I have run 20 marathons and am injury-free. I am wiser now and I know when to make adjustments to my goal.

When life gets in the way and you can’t get in a workout, eat perfectly, or get in the optimal hours of sleep, sometimes you may need to reassess your goals. It’s not about giving up, it’s about making wise decisions that will ultimately help you achieve your goal without injury. Life doesn’t always allow you to do it all, but do what you can and be happy. Below are a list of tips for common time challenges and solutions.

1. When your day is full of meetings, happy hours, or kids and you know it’s going to be impossible to make it to the gym in the evening, workout in the morning. Go to a 6am class at the gym, do a 30 min run, or watch a fitness DVD.

2. If your home life is extremely busy, workout for 30 minutes during our lunch break. High Intensity Interval Training burns more calories. Stay tune to my blog this week for a HITT workout that you can do anywhere.

3. If your goal is to do a race and you haven’t dedicated the time to train for it, reassess your schedule, priorities, and choose a race with a smaller distance and change your training schedule to work with your current commitments.

4. Evaluate your lifestyle and take notes on how your spending your time. People often spend more time surfing the internet, chatting on Facebook, and watching television than they think. You could spend those hours doing more productive things. Just saying…

5. Enlist a friend, co-worker, family member, or trainer to keep you accountable to your goals. I am a big fan of accountability. It is one of the reason I started a running group.

6. Be realistic. I remember when I was working and doing a masters program. I could not achieve all the goals I wanted to, so I had to step back and look at my schedule and realize I was going to have to make some sacrifices.

7. Include others in your goal to achieve more bang for your buck. If you try to achieve too much, it may leave less time for a social life. Try to include your friends and significant others in your goals. My girlfriends and I used to sit down and choose a bunch of races together so we would all meet up to train, race, and celebrate together. We got to see each other, talk, and become stronger runners. It was some of the best times!

8. Get help from an expert. I’ve seen the busiest people achieve numerous accolades and I think what they do best is hire the best. They don’t spend time doing things they don’t value and they have coaches who help them achieve their goals. I meet women all the time who spend at least 10 hours a week cleaning and they never have time to workout. Hire a cleaning person and meet with a trainer to help you develop a program you can do 3 times a week.

9. Multitask. Technology enables us to do a lot more in less time, so use down time as an opportunity to get more done. When you are sitting and waiting, use your Ipad, phone, or computer to return emails or do administrative stuff. That will provide you with more time to do the things that are important to you.

10. If you aren’t happy with how you are spending your time, think about what you can do to change your life. It’s your life and you have the power to live it how you see fit.

Enjoy the journey, just don’t eat too much icing!


In Health and Happiness,



2 Responses to “When Life Gets In the Way”

  1. Julian E S Wright September 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Wow… great post

    Julian E S Wright  Please excuse any typos  Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

  2. Farbs September 26, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    That guy you were running with sounds pretty cool 🙂 Psyc.
    That was some great advice! I’m reassessed as you suggested and I’m gonna let MCM pass. I’ll train smarter and be ready for it next year. Thanks for the help 🙂

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