Monday, October 12, 2015

Balancing life with training...can it be done?

A few months ago, I was talking with some other mother runners about achieving the work-life-training balance. I think the answer to the question, "Can it be done?" is relative. Some people are really good at balancing everything on their to-do lists, others are not. Personally speaking, sometimes I feel like it just can't be done, but sometimes it feels like it's actually not that hard. It just takes a lot (A LOT) of shuffling of schedules.

Before I continue, this week I'm linking up with the Tuesdays on the Run blog link up. The Tuesdays on the Run blog link up is with My No-Guilt LifeMCM Mama Runs and Run the Great Wide Somewhere. When you're done reading here, be sure to check them out!

As most of you know, I am a running coach, a personal trainer and a licensed sports nutritionist. The year 2015 has been pretty good to me as a small business owner and my client load has increased pretty well. In addition to working for myself, I also work as a trainer for the YMCA in Encinitas. I love the YMCA atmosphere, I am not pressured to sell anything and I can really just focus on helping my clients get the results they want. I love training there. Right now I'm just seeing clients one-on-one, but hopefully I'll be teaching some group classes soon. Anyway, over the past 6 months, it's gotten quite busy. Now, I'm not complaining, trust me. I am very grateful for all of my clients and I'm truly honored they trust me to help them reach their goals. But my job is not a typical 9-5 job. I work early mornings, all day, and after work hours. Plus the weekend. This past summer almost killed me: I had personal training clients in the early morning, came home to get my girls ready for summer preschool, took them to school and then saw clients of all realms throughout the day (running, personal training, nutrition). I would then pick the girls up from school, make dinner and, once the hubs was home, coach at night. After coaching I would catch up on emails, writing training or nutrition plans and anything else that needed to be done. Really, sometimes my schedule has me working 7 days a week and it gets pretty tiring. I know, I choose to do it, and again, I'm grateful for it. But it's hard out there for a coach and trainer!

Needless to say, my training has suffered since the summer. I backed off from a lot of my weekly runs/workouts so I could spend time with my family and actually get some sleep. My son was staying with my parents in New York for part of the summer and once he got back, I really wanted to soak up as much time with him as possible before school started again. Oh and I wanted to get sleep. You know, that silly thing that always takes a backseat to everything else. I would always feel a little guilty about missing workouts, but at the same time, I knew the time with my family and/or the time sleeping would benefit me just as much.

The worst part for me is that my schedule changes a lot based on my clients' schedules. Some weeks I'm able to get in all of my workouts. Some weeks I can only eek out a few runs during the week and my long run on the weekend. And I'm ok with that. I think a lot of "finding balance" comes from giving up the ideal that you have to cross off everything on your to-do list every day. Honestly, I think it's impossible for everyone, no matter what your life contains. Life happens and sometimes your training has to suffer - and that's ok. I'm not saying give up on your training and throw in the towel when life gets complicated. I'm saying you may need to modify things. If your training becomes just another thing on your to-do list that's stressing you out, back off a bit. Training should be fun, not stressful.

In that conversation with those other mother runners I mentioned above, my answer, at the time, to the "Can it be done?" question was - no. At the time I was stressed and felt like I was failing. But now I've come to accept that training has its ebbs and flows in the same way that life does. Sometimes things are great and I'm on top of it. But sometimes life gets in the way and I need to focus my attention elsewhere. And that leads me to change my goals a bit. And that's ok. As long as I can get out there and enjoy what I'm doing, that's really all that matters.

How do you balance life-work-training? Can it be done??

12 comments:

  1. It is definitely tough! I don't have kids yet, so I can only imagine the layer of complexity that adds on. It's awesome that your business has been going so well, hopefully you'll get a nice vacation soon - sounds like the summer was crazy! I think you just have to do things step by step when it comes to balancing work and fitness, and not beat yourself up when you can't do it all.

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    1. Exactly! I try to prioritize as much as possible and not get down on myself when I can't get everything done. It doesn't mean I'm a failure- just human :)

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  2. I love this image and quote- moms are especially at risk of burn-out and not taking time for themselves. Balance is hard, and takes practice for sure!

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    1. It's really hard to "do it all" with kids. Not impossible, just hard. But we moms need to be good to ourselves too!

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  3. I promise this is not meant to be critical, but work-train-play balance is often just as hard for men to maintain. In my case, I have a long commute for which I must leave home in the darkness of early morning, work long hours (sometimes on weekends), and usually arrive home between 7:30 and 8:00pm. This is absolutely not ideal, and I'm exhausted, too. I miss having quality time at home with my wife and son, and running/training has taken a back seat, kind of out of necessity and to maintain my sanity. Until things change at work, I'll try to be less demanding on myself and to feel less "guilty" about scaling back my training. I think your post gives a great perspective of these conflicting demands on time. I know that I'll be back up to where I was pretty soon, just maybe at a slower pace than I would like.

    I still Run With Sole on the East Coast, though, regardless of the time dedicated. :)

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    1. I definitely know it's tough for men too as I see my husband struggle just as much as I do. It's hard to juggle everything, especially with a very demanding job. We can only handle so much before things truly suffer, like our physical and mental health. There is nothing wrong with putting some things aside so you can focus on the most important tasks at hand. And that's the good thing about running - it will always be there for you. Like a good friend :)

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  4. I think we need to "pick our battles" so to speak, in order to fit in what is a priority for us. As a running coach, many come to me "wanting" to run a half or full marathon but they don't want to commit the time it takes to train properly. Personally I think there's no less glory in a shorter distance. Whatever works, right? Thanks for linking up!

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    1. I agree! In fact, I just initiated that conversation with a client today. It takes courage to admit that maybe we've taken on more than we can handle. Looking forward to linking up with you!

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  5. I have a hard time fitting training into my life and I don't have kids. I cannot imagine how hard it is for parents! I haven't signed up to run a full marathon because I am not ready to commit that amount of time. It's also hard when you have a schedule that often changes so I understand where you are coming from. But with all that said, sometimes it come down to evaluating what is most important and being good with that choice.

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    1. Exactly. I think patience has a lot to do with balancing things - if we can just wait on some things until things settle down, it may be a little easier to deal with things. I know I definitely bite off more than I can chew because I just want to get things done right now! But it will all happen sooner or later!

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  6. Love reading this and you're right - we are totally on the same page when it comes to balance!!

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    1. Thanks for reading! I feel like the more we try to balance, the more unbalanced we become! At least for me :)

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