When life gets in the way

I returned home following my DNF at this year’s CCC with a renewed focus on my running, general health and wellbeing. For 20 days I was on it! I was at home so my diet was good, I was exercising twice a day and I lost weight and felt a whole lot fitter and sharper – both in my running and my general self.

Then followed what seemed like eight days of chaos as I let myself be derailed by the following. Any of these sound familiar to you?

  • Moving house swallows up loads of time – unpacking, address changes, you can’t find anything
  • Bottles of wine to celebrate the move
  • No wi-fi to post and connect
  • Running kit in moving bag, but I didn’t run
  • New school term and new clubs at school
  • Bikeability for my daughter
  • Great mate of mine from Oz was in town so had to catch-up for a social

Accepting the mayhem

I said to myself: OK, it is what it is. I know this is temporary, and the quicker I get organised the quicker I can get back to training.

I figured this wasn’t about making excuses – I’ve moved house after all! My wife was working and I had taken the home role and there was plenty to do. So, I accepted the break and adjusted my priorities. I embraced the situation, realising that this was for a specific and limited period of time. Then I made a plan to return to training the following week.

Accepting that things weren’t going to plan in terms of my own training and fitness, and that was OK, was unexpectedly freeing. I was able to get stuck in and enjoy setting up our new home – which we love.

For all my rock-solid belief in setting goals and planning to achieve them, I also see the value of not beating myself up when life takes over and other things need to be the priority for a time. As you might know from some of my other posts, I subscribe to a process where you line up everything you need to achieve your goal at the point of setting it. But when things aren’t available – like my weight vest and full kit being lost in the sea of boxes in the move – and routines go out the window, it can feel stressful. Ultimately, you need to be prepared to reprioritise, and know when you’re using things as an excuse to not train, and when things genuinely need to switch. The move, school runs and making packed lunches were temporarily far more important than sticking to my training schedule.

This got me thinking how tough it must be for stay at home parents to fit in running and exercise. Our kids are now 10 and 11, but I remember running with them in a buggy in order to keep my routine going and maintain a minimum level of fitness. The distances weren’t long, but it was great strength training!

What I’ve learnt from two weeks of chaos

  • Real-life stuff comes first, so embrace it and enjoy it
  • Unless you’re a professional athlete, other things will always compete for your time and energy – and that’s OK. I’m a dad and husband, a busy professional – and an endurance runner
  • Understand what are the important ‘big rocks’ you need to move in life
  • Accept the change, and then plan to get back to training again
  • Don’t beat yourself up when things slide – it was what it was. Move on, run tomorrow, do what you can and look forward not backward.

A week on, we’re settling in and I’m back running – albeit on a light schedule as I’ve picked up a cold!

Feeling similar?

I’m willing to bet that the majority of runners will experience similar tensions as they try to fit training and achieving their sporting goals around families, careers and life in general. If this struck a chord with you – perhaps you’re struggling to keep to a training schedule and could do with some advice – drop me a line on andy@lifeisasinecurve.com or leave a comment.

**Coming soon**
: Super Fit @ 50!
Turning 50 made me feel finite in lots of ways – so I decided to do something about it. I’m about to start a journey to become a leaner, fitter runner, a better dad and up my performance at work in the build-up to running a sub-24hr 100-miler next year. Watch this space – launching soon.

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