I have been looking SO forward to this week’s TiaRT because time and balance are things I really work hard to maintain. I am a firm believer that devotion to anything leads to sacrifice of something. It is not easy, but it is worth it.
This week’s TiaRT theme is … Time and Balance. One of the continuing challenges we hear from runners is finding the time to run and balance running with all the other priorities in our lives. How do you do it? What are one or two things you have found that help you find time or make time for your runs. What do you struggle with in balancing what you want to do with your running with all you “need” to do?
People ask me all the time “How do you do it?”, or they make statements that “they could never do it”. First of all, ANYONE who wants something bad enough can do it. Secondly, I do not know how exactly I do it; I just know it gets done. I think, for the most part, it all goes back to ambition for me. I have learned that hard work really does pay off. The harder the work, the better they payoff- and I LOVE the payoff! Nobody ever got pay raises, grade A’s and PR’s by doing nothing. I am driven to accomplish as much as I can and I do not like to be idle in any capacity. When I take something on, I go full force. It isn’t about winning but it is always about improvement.
At different times during the year my schedule varies, but the one consistent theme of my life is “busy”. I work full-time year round, five days a week from Sept-June and four days a week in July and August. I definitely have a great work schedule that allows me to schedule the rest of my life to fit in for the most part quite nicely, but it is exhausting nonetheless. In addition to my full-time job, I am currently in the Dual Program at Rutgers- finishing my undergrad and beginning my graduate degree at the same time. In the fall I take three college courses and in the spring I take two. I also coach softball during the months of March, April and May. In the summer I take one or two accelerated classes. I work out 3-5 times a week depending on the week- this is my private “me” time. I race beginning in May and all throughout until November. My friends, family and “get things done” time are all fit into the equation as often as possible. Some days/weeks are busier than others. A typical day begins with my alarm going off at 5:47 (I have a thing with odd numbers) and getting in at night somewhere between 7-10pm depending on if I have class or a game or a workout. I make every effort to be in bed by 1030-11pm. On nights when I have nothing planned, which is rare, I catch up on errands and housework.
Like I said, I don’t know how it works exactly, except that it does. Two things I think attribute to my success are my ability to keep a tight schedule and my willingness to sacrifice some things when need be and recognize when I can forgo the sacrifice.
- Each night I think about the next day and I sort out what “needs” to be done and I what I “want” to get done. The needs come first clearly. I have to work, go to class and coach- those are my three responsibilities that get taken care of each day. If need be, family always takes first priority. Regardless of how many wants are on the list each day, I try to complete one or two. Sometimes it doesn’t happen and I accept that. Sometimes life gets in the way and the applecart’s get a little messed up- it happens. All I can do is get back on track.
- I know that success takes sacrifice. While my co-workers are at Friday night happy hour, I am running errands and getting to bed early so I can either wake up a swim or go for my long run on Saturday morning. There are many nights when I stay in due to a race the next day. I take time to pack a lunch most days a week and I try to cook a healthy dinner as often as possible. I make every attempt to avoid all the goodies at work. More often than not when I eat out, I choose my foods depending on my week (to carb load or not to carb load). I give up a lot of sleep to stay up late for homework and to get up early for workouts. With all that said, I have also learned that sometimes I do come first; if there is a reason (ie: party, family event…) I will work my schedule so I can truly enjoy myself. For example: If someone asks me to grab a drink of a Friday night and I have a run planned on Sat, I probably won’t go. However, if my friends and I plan an overnight trip somewhere, I rework my schedule so that I can let loose, have a few drinks, eat what I want and have fun!
I think each individual person needs to develop their own plan and figure what will and won’t work for them. No plan is perfect- I certainly struggle with mine. Things happen- I get overwhelmed, I get sick, I forget things, I get involved watching TV, and at times I simply let things slide. The biggest struggles are times like this in the year when I have finals for school and three/four games a week. My house is a mess, laundry isn’t done and I am sleepless. But I get it done. As with anyone, I have my good days and bad days. I have weeks when I am elated with what I have accomplished and weeks when I am extremely disappointed in myself. I have weeks when I amaze myself and weeks when I think I just can’t do it anymore. I simply try to remember that struggle is part of success.
I realize this is getting lengthy, so if you are still reading thank you! I can’t wait to read other people’s responses to this because I think time and balance is so important to find in life.