When people first find out I run ultras the first question they usually ask is do you sleep? Do you stop for a snack? What do you eat? Then there's usually a pause as they stop and ponder this for a moment before asking where do you find time to train?
I began to think about this even more while I was at Adam's Camp and a woman asked the moms what we do to take care of ourselves. As everyone else responded I don't I felt like the selfish one. Oh well I just go on these running adventures for many hours on end. But I know at least for myself running is what I need to be a good mom, a good wife. But how do I do it? Sure I could use a little more sleep at night, but that's not where I'm finding time to run. So what is it? Well I broke it down into a few reasons why it works for me.
1. Make it a priority
It sounds simple, but the most important thing to finding the time to train comes down to how much of a priority is it to you. Training is one of my top priorities. I would never miss a dr appointment to go for a run, but if you make it a priority you can often find time here and there. I get up extra early to work for a bit before I go into the office, that way I can leave early to get in a run, but still get my work done. I've logged miles doing 2 mile laps in my neighborhood with a headlamp on. If I can even get in 2-4 miles first thing in the morning that helps my daily mileage.
Dan and I started taking James with us running. This has been huge for our training and our family. Its important to us to get James outside and playing. We don't want him to become addicted to TV and video games. And he loves it! I think James looks almost as forward to these runs as Dan and I do. Sure we could each probably use a few more miles than we get when we push the stroller, but it works for us so that we can have family time, running time and still have time to get some chores done around the house.
2. Prioritize your runs
Dan actually came up with this idea and it's great! Although I need to step it up on the priority of my runs next year. Each week prioritize your runs, so for me my long run is top priority, then you figure out a way to get that run in, even if its not the originally intended day. This way if something comes up and you have to miss a run it can be a low priority run and won't affect your training too much. I tend to put my workouts as low priority, but I know next year I need to change this and put a bigger focus on hill/speed workouts.
I am an organized person in general, but I've become even more organized. My freezer is stocked with ready made meals and every weekend I prep all our meals for the week so all I have to do during the week is boil some pasta, throw something in the oven or even just serve it up. I also have all of James' appointments planned out so I plan ahead of time which days I can run when. I don't have one of those schedules where I can run the same time every day. It just doesn't work for me so I have to be flexible. One day might be early morning, the next late afternoon and one day the plan might be just see where you can squeeze in 3 miles.
4. Know when to ask for help
No one is a superhero on their own. Everyone needs some help sometimes. It's great for my training that Dan also trains because he understands how important it is to me. We work together to make sure we can each get in our runs. On extremely crazy weeks for me Dan can usually tweak his schedule so he can pick up James from daycare or drop him off so I can get in a run. Or sometimes he'll just pester me into meeting him for a lunch run so I don't get bogged down and blow it off.
This summer we also got a cleaning lady. Best decision ever. It freed up our weekends enough to let us get longs runs. And I wasn't so stressed about having a disaster of a house. You just have to figure out what you need help with to make it possible and then figure out a way to make it happen. And then there are days when Dan can sense I'm on the edge and we just order take out, eat out of the box so there aren't dishes and just take a break.
This week was particularly challenging to get in runs with James' schedule and I had to dust off the old treadmill during naptime one day. But I got my miles in, made all our appointments and had dinner together as a family every night. I'd say another successful week!
Week November 3 - 9
Miles Running: 40.6
Hours Hiking and Running: 7