Does life get in the way of running? Or running in the way of life?

(I would like to credit Michele at Paleo Running Momma for the inspiration behind this post!)

During marathon training, there are times when I will decline Early morning invites places, or even late nights the night before a long run. Or, if I go somewhere, I at least try to keep myself “in line”: I’ll leave early, or refuse a cocktail (yeah right;). Why? Usually because I know I have to get those “good runs” in and if I’m hungover tired and dragging: I am NOT going to be performing well. Quality, quality, quality: that is my motto. I spend a lot of time crafting my perfect running week, and have found myself upset before if something doesn’t go exactly as I plan it. (OCD much?!)

Still.. there are obviously weeks where things don’t go as planned. Maybe too many hours on my feet, or long days at work sidetrack me. Bad sleeps. PMS. Literally anything can sidetrack you from your “perfect” running week at one point. Marathon training can be a lot. It’s time/effort/sacrifices/multi tasking at it’s finest, and I have perfected that art form.

Sometimes I will find myself planning out my weekends to the minute. Baby shower at 11? Ok-up by 6, out the door running by 7, hop in the shower at 10, make sure you pick out your outfit the night before!! There are times where being a runner and being All The Other Things can get so dam exhausting. Once in a while, running can feel more like “a chore” rather than something I LOVE doing.

It begs the question: Is LIFE getting in the way of RUNNING?

Or… Is it that RUNNING Gets in the way of LIFE?

During the summer months…it’s not so bad. I do all my running in the mornings. Life is significantly more simple (Sidenote: this is also due to the fact that I don’t have kids yet..I give you marathon training moms a HUGE amount of credit)Once “back to school” hits, It’s a free for all: laundry/house cleaning/food shopping/putting away of said laundry/nightly meals/lunches…these things get done along with my running 50-60 miles a week, trying to blog at least four days, keeping up with my friends/blog life…

Sometimes it gets overwhelming. As I write this…I’m not currently overwhelmed. I just know it’s coming. Being back in full swing of the school year means that at some point, I’ve come home, sat down and cried OR fallen directly asleep. I’m tired. I’m cranky. Sometimes grumpy. I’m a mix of emotions after having a couple months of quiet. (I DO really love my job, so don’t think I don’t)

It occurred to me sometime last year that there are days when I feel like I am having an “identity crisis of multiple personalities” :
I’m a wife.

I’m a stepmom.

A daughter.

Friend. Teacher.

And dammit…I’m a freaking runner.

There are times when my husband will look at me and say “Why don’t you just give yourself a break during the first month of school? Go easy on yourself?”

The man makes a good point. But the thing is (and he knows this too) that as much as I struggle with my “identity crisis of multiple personalities” that if I didn’t run, I would go crazy. Running is my thing. It’s my jam. My start of my day, or my break from the hectic activities that surround me. It’s the recovery of my sanity when I feel like I’m scrambling to catch it. My running is that one part of my day only for me and not for anyone else.

I fell into being a runner by accident. I guess you could say it chose me. I don’t know why, it just did. It’s not something I do for attention or to win prizes (ok SOMETIMES it is for that. But hardly ever!) It’s my happy place…and even if it’s a pain in the ass “WHY THE HELL AM I GETTING OUT OF BED AT 4:30” kind of thing—at the end I’m happy I did it. Always.

Just because I’m juggling All The Things at the same exact time doesn’t mean I can’t do them. It means I get better at multi tasking (and maybe faster at running so I have more time for the other stuff) It means I’m always trying, always making the effort. And every once in a while, I know that it’s ok to feel overwhelmed. That is when I will take a step back, maybe take a day off from running and be lazy on the couch all day. And I’m totally & completely ok with having those days.

Running might take up a lot of my time, but let’s be serious-I freaking love it and I’m willing to squish laundry folding into the window of dinner making or get my tired butt outta bed in the dark to run so when I get home I can plop down on the couch with my husband for a little while longer. Even if it seems “running is getting in the way of life” I know that it is me being silly and maybe I need to go for a run for some stress relief.

Balance. That’s the key. At the end of an exhausting day–I’m thankful for All the Things I get to do.

Question of the day: What do you do when you get overwhelmed with your one million daily activities??


42 thoughts on “Does life get in the way of running? Or running in the way of life?

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  3. I love this! For me the answer is YES! I look at it this way – how many times this year have I had 3 or 4 things that fall on the same weekend?!? And I am looking at tomorrow – Lisa has to work, the boys have marching band for football game, then practice, then a competition … and I WILL fit in a run … somehow πŸ™‚

    Oh, and I have to say that PMS has never interfered with any of my runs πŸ™‚ haha

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  5. This has been weighing heavily on my mind lately! Especially the closer our wedding date approaches. There’s SO much to do!!! My house is a total disaster, my car smells like a dirty runner, and my poor kid is just hanging out like what’s going on? Ha! I only managed 22 miles total last week due to my job. So—yeah. I think life can totally get messy and running unfortunately isn’t always a priority. But IT IS my love affair! I like one of the previous comments who said they wished they could be a professional runner. I wish also!!! Here’s to busy women and running!! Blessed & beautiful running!!

  6. Great post!! As a mommy to two little kids I’m still trying to figure all of that out. Like you said though running is my happy place and it’s my “me” time and I just love it for so many reasons. That being said there comes a point during every marathon training cycle when I get really really cranky. It’s always around the time my mileage peaks so I’m sure I just start getting close to that fine line of overtraining (from balancing life and being a runner). So I just try to be aware of it and get extra sleep (yeah right). But that’s also why for me I don’t train year round for full marathons. Just one training cycle a year and the rest of the year I can just run halfs and sleep past 5am and be a little more normal and little less crazy runner.

  7. Sometimes I definitely feel like running gets in the way of life. I have two little boys and to avoid this during marathon training I am up and out the door by 4:30am. This definitely has an impact on my time with my husband. I’ve got to go to bed early and therefore dont’ want to stay up and hang out watching a movie. It’s definitely a balance, but one that I wouldn’t know what to do if I couldn’t run!

  8. sometimes I feel the more busy I am the more balanced my life feels. I love overbooking myself. I’m one of those people who if I don’t have a lot going on, I start getting squirrely and bored, lol. It’s like if I’m not being pulled in a million directions i’m not happy… sick I know… right now I’m balancing two jobs, brady in pre-k and soccer… AND soon ella will be in gymnastics… not to mention marathon training and ellas bday in october and bradys in november… do I sleep? barely….

  9. Oh man are you in my head or what hahaha lol πŸ™‚ hmmm when life gets hectic. I just prioritize and do my best chameleon impersonation. For example my life just more hectic with the wife starting nursing school which means in addition to everthing else I now have to drop the kids off twice a week for school. Which means my runs are altered now. By being a freakin’ runner much like you I adjusted my schedule. Heavy mileage early in the week, lighter mileage at the end, and a two-run Friday. That’s just a small example of how I deal with life when it gets crazy.

  10. I think you’re still doing great.
    Of course stress from the school year start will bring you down, but it’s temporary. At least, it is in my experience of school teaching.
    I just try to shift my personality when September comes, reorganizing my priorities, both mental and running-related.
    I’ll take this as a sort of tapering week, or fortnight, before I find my strength again.

  11. I love this..I often feel like my life gets in the way of my running! I need to learn to be more flexible with my training!

  12. Fabulous post and great questions, too!! Thanks for the food for thought!! I love running and all of these active things I do, but life can definitely get overwhelming. Yoga is my key. It really grounds me. XOXO!! Have a great week!!

  13. I think we can ALL relate to this!

    For me, when I get overwhelmed by all the things going on, I don’t really have a thing I do as much as a mental exercise. I have to take a deep breath, and almost step outside of my life for a minute. Then I can look down and see it for what it really is: it’s just a moment in time. It will pass, just like every other stressful moment that came before it. One piece of advice I’ve always loved is “It’s just a moment; it’s not your whole life.” It’s so easy for us to get caught up in one moment like that. I just have to give myself a little pep talk: “it’s alright. Ride it out. You’ll get through this, you always do.” And you know the best part of telling myself these things? I ALWAYS end up being right πŸ™‚

  14. When I get overwhelmed with my million and one activities – I actually give myself a break and sit down and do what I feel I don’t have time to do. I have a 2.5 year old so obviously she comes first, but if laundry needs to be folded, chores need to be done, etc. I take a look at all I’ve done that day already and decide to just sit down and do what I WANT to do – usually that’s read a book or catch up on my DVR. Most days, I’ve already gone for a run in the early AM, got my kid up and to school, went to work, picked kid up, made dinner, walked the dog, entertained child, then got her ready for bed.

    Just this weekend I jokingly told my husband that in order for me to get two hours to myself I have to run 10 miles, how is that fair? πŸ™‚

  15. You know there are some days that I really wish I could just be a professional runner and that’s all I would have to worry about- maybe I would even have someone else take care of things like cooking me healthy meals and a personal massage therapist so I wouldn’t have to spend all my time foam rolling. But then I think about it more and realize that one of the things that makes me love running is that I choose to do it and I want to do it and its a stress reliever and a hobby…its not my job and its never something I “have to” do. I think if it become that I would enjoy it less. I do think life gets in the way of running sometimes AND running gets in the way of life but like you said it all about balance! Sometimes I have to force myself to take a step back and look at the big picture and see where I need to back off a little when I have too much on my plate. Great post!

  16. A few months ago I threw a little fit because I was sick of being coerced into putting outings with friends and other things before my training. I wanted to be able to focus on training and get my long runs done even if that meant being anti-social. I think for me, at that point, my priority was training, and that was fine. After my race is over my priorities will shift again. But for now, running comes first, and I’ve decided that sometimes it’s important to put what I want ahead of what others want from me!

  17. Well, you know I can relate! Thanks for the shout out too πŸ™‚ with my kids starting school I definitely feel overwhelmed and also not sure how to shift my focus and split attention the way I need to as a mom. I think that both statements are true really – training for a marathon takes up so much time and mental plus physical energy so it definitely gets in the way of life, and since we put so much into it, it can start to feel like our whole life with everything else just getting in the way! Great post!

    • Yes!! Exactly!!!:) it can be so difficult to shift our focus and split attention as necessary! It’s multi tasking and sometimes it’s hard but it makes us betters runners and better at tackling the 900 other situations that come at us during the day!

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