The most annoying thing to me is hearing someone say, “I can’t run” or better yet, “I just don’t have time to run!”. That last one gets an internal eye roll from me. Why? Because I am the queen of “I don’t have time”. Let’s be clear on this…
YOU HAVE TO MAKE TIME!!!
Whether it’s running, swimming, biking, kick boxing, yoga or zumba…if you really want to incorporate it into your life, you have to find the time. And finding the time might mean making a few sacrifices. I read a great quote someplace on the Internet about how one runner compares working out to brushing her teeth. It’s just a normal part of her daily routine. You wouldn’t go weeks or months without brushing your teeth, right? You have to think about working out the same way.
How do I do it?
(When I am training…which is not at the moment.)
First of all, I do have a full-time job. A job with a 45 minute – 1 hour commute. My job is not super important, but it can be demanding and require hours outside of the normal 8 am – 5 pm schedule. Then, you add in kids and the Hubby. Yes, I would like to spend time with them as often as possible. Kids have homework, they make messes and they need to be fed and bathed. And in my case, the Hubby has workouts to do, too. Add in other things like Church and other family members (yes, I have parents). Plus, I know some of you coach, volunteer, and have other hobbies like gardening or baking…that probably doesn’t leave in extra time for much. Sometimes other things start to take less priority. Things that aren’t as important to us as family and working out.
Let’s just say that if you come to my house unannounced, the toilet seat might be up (thank you 3 year old son), there will be toys scattered all over the floor, the kitchen counter may be cluttered with art work and junk mail, there may be streaks on my granite counter tops and crumbs on the breakfast table, and there will more than likely be a mountain of laundry in the laundry room waiting to be folded. So be it. And, I don’t watch much TV. Make that almost none. I listen to the news as I get ready for work and I have HGTV on in the bedroom when I am getting ready to go to sleep. And, there are two shows I try my best to make room for – Mad Men and more recently, Walking Dead – but that’s it. And, I missed all of last season’s Walking Dead and only just got caught up this week because I can’t workout as much (dang hip!). Honestly, I don't miss wasting time on shows like Dancing with the Stars or The Bachelor at all.
What works for me?
Well, for years I was strictly a runner. At the time, that seemed difficult enough to fit into my schedule. I would wait until the Kiddo went to bed and I would hop on the treadmill. Sometimes this even meant I was running during the 10 o’clock news depending on what other household stuff I needed to do. I did nighttime treadmill running for years! Even during grad school, I managed to get on my treadmill a few times a week and then try to fit in a longer run outdoors on the weekends. Treadmill training isn’t as exciting as running outdoors, but at the time it was my best option. You gotta do, what you gotta do! All that I knew was that I was addicted to the endorphins created by running and it was the best form of stress relief for me…I needed to do it no matter what.
About a year ago, I was having a difficult time balancing triathlon training and family time. Part of me wanted to give up on the whole idea of training for triathlons. It was taking time away from my family and my days were hectic and stressful. This made me cranky. You know what they say – “When Momma’s not happy….”
|I see this graffiti on the days that I drive to work...it kinda makes me chuckle! (Little did I know, this is done by a local graffiti artist who calls himself give up!)|
Finally, I decided to try something different to help minimize my training’s impact on my family time. I decided to begin running in wee hours of the morning, a/k/a “Stupid Thirty”. Waking up before 5 am was something I swear I’d never do...it seemed, well, stupid. To figure out how early I had to wake up, I had to work backwards…I need to be at work by 8 am (and I try to get there a bit earlier if possible), which means I need to be at the bus stop by 7:00 just in case there was traffic. That means I need to leave the house with the kids by 6:30 / 6:40 am in time to drop them off at daycare and head to the bus stop. I have to be in the shower by 5:15, because the Hubs also needs to get ready for work (he leaves at 6am) and I have to dress both kiddos. So that means I had to wake up anytime between 4 am and 4:40 am depending on the distance on the training schedule. Again, not fun, but you gotta do what you gotta do!
But you know what? I went from dreading my alarm clock to enjoying those early morning runs. Funny thing - there were a few others out running at that hour, too! I wasn’t crazy to be up that early…well that, or we were all crazy! What’s not to like – it’s peaceful, it’s calming, it’s invigorating…all before 5 am! My favorite mornings are in the winter when the air is crisp and it’s just me under the stars with the sound of my breathing and footsteps in my ears. Awesomeness. Honestly, this is what I miss most about not being able to work out.
For my bike rides, I try to squeeze in a lunchtime spin class and get in a long bike starting at dawn, typically on Saturdays. And, I don’t mind starting my long runs on the weekend before sunrise, since I usually run on sidewalks where I don’t have to worry as much about cars. Sunday breakfast with the family is a big deal for me, so if I time things right I can usually get back home early enough to keep that tradition going. This means that swimming is the only thing that truly conflicts with my evening family time…and I only have to do it 2x per week. Unfortunately, the pool doesn’t open until 5 am, so I try to squeeze in my swims after work and still get home in time to help put the kids to bed. If I really time things right, I can do a longer spin class right before my swim and get in a brick (even if it is backwards).
And yes, I make lunches for me and the kids the night before. I get everyone's clothes ready the night before. I sometimes put snack foods in baggies on Sunday for the entire week, so I only have to grab a bag each night and toss it in a lunch box. I try to make use of my crockpot and cook meals that will feed us for a couple of days. I make lists and I live by my calendar. Sometimes we do the next day's homework, just to get ahead a little. And, I have an incredibly supportive Hubby who is pretty good at doing all of this as well. We tag team the laundry and cleaning, so that it gets done faster and leaves more time for relaxing or hanging out. A supportive hubby can make all the difference in the world! And, the Hubby just started this triathlon/running thing last year...having to work around two workout schedules can be tough, but at least now he totally understands the importance of getting the workouts in! (And he understands my insanity and mood issues because I can't workout right now.)
Of course, I know that what works for me doesn't work for everyone. I have friends who are stay at home moms and do all their weekday workouts at the gym where they have access to childcare. I have friends who pay the neighbor to babysit so they can go out for an hour long run a few days per week. I have friends whose kids come along on their runs either in a jog stroller, on a bike or even jogging alongside their parent. I have single friends without kids who have demanding jobs or care for elderly parents who somehow still find time for fitness. I have friends who run laps around the soccer field while their kids practice. I have friends who are single mothers and amaze me with how well they juggle everything (including workouts).
My point? If you really want to, it can be done.
You can make excuses or you can make it happen, but you can't do both.
Never give up! I realize that there will be a day when my kids and their activities consume my life. I look forward to it! No, I may not be training for marathons or a 70.3 at that time, but I imagine that if nothing else, I will still be getting up at stupid thirty to get a workout in.
So how do you fit it all in? Have you ever been tempted to give up?