By: Pace & Mind for Wellness Wednesday
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” –
As runners, one of the most difficult things we do is balance our personal life with our training. Yes, running is part of living a happy and healthy life, but it can also consume you and become self-defeating ‘if’ you let it. Running is a sacrifice of time you would otherwise spend with your loved ones: family, friends and coworkers and achieving other goals on your bucket-list. Here are some helpful tips to help you manage old number one (yourself) with the rest of your life:
- Be realistic and openly communicate your goals.
Be realistic and open with your race goals at the beginning of the season and adjust life accordingly. For instance, if your family is expecting a ‘little one’ or has a major initiative coming up, running 2 x 10k races, 3 halves and a full may not the best idea for your training season. Be sure to communicate your running goals early with your coach, family and friends. Importantly, ask them for feedback and make sure you have everyone’s buy-in. Make them become part of your journey and your success. Be sure to check-in with them regularly as your mileage increases to ensure your support system is in place.
- Be flexible.
Yes, you may have to skip the odd interval, long run or Fartlek Friday. To the horror of some of us, you may even have to get up ‘super early’ to kill a few miles. If you are being coached, be sure to let them know your work and family schedule so they can adjust your plan accordingly. Not everyone runs a long run on a Sunday or an interval on a Wednesday. If you have a good coach they will not only be able to change your program based on your physical progression, but also on your personal life as well. This is critical as balancing your personal life can effect your running.
- Plan ahead (weekly).
In addition to communicating goals early, we recommend planning weekly, starting on Sunday evenings. We know, easier said then done. The key is to sync your calendars (running with personal) weekly, look at any upcoming challenges to achieving your plan and adjust mileage and time of workouts accordingly. This is why having a plan extended beyond a week with pace and times attached may not be a good idea for you. A set-in-stone plan with goals races and times broken down monthly may create unrealistic expectations as your life changes daily and weekly. This may even affect self-confidence. For instance, if you see your goal time and pace one, two or three months out, you may create unrealistic expectations for achieving it weekly, which can lead to ‘over training’, being consumed or obsessed by training or even disappointed when workouts are adjusted, skipped or revised. Think of it like seeing the top of Everest before the camps to assimilate the climb to get there.
- Be positive and clear your mind regularly.
Like the old saying: surround yourself with positive people. This also means be positive and support others in their goals. It’s easy to fall into the trap of negative and abnormal competitive thinking. It can become the body’s defense mechanism for vulnerability or insecurity (Source: Mind Over Mood). At Pace & Mind, we encourage socials, positive support of our individual goals and very quickly address any negativity or issues, which may lead to affecting a runner’s performance. This means discussions that are cognitively and constructively based and not personally based. Some of the ways our runners stay positive and clear their minds are: reading, meditation, cooking, yoga, listening to music and volunteering. This is critical because the more time you obsess in negative thinking, the more time you take away from cognitively spending more time with the ones you love and being a better runner.
- Simulate and celebrate.
A great way to bank time, reduce race anxiety and have fun is to simulate race day and celebrate. Not every training run is going to be good. In fact, you may even find some of the training runs ‘mundane’ or boring. A fun way to reduce race day anxiety is to simulate a race on a run 6-8 weeks ahead of the marathon (Greg Strosaker, Predawn Runner). This means, get into your race day singlet and gear, complete all your pre-dawn rituals, get your fuel and go out and run. You may even enter a shorter distance race in your local community to get into the rhythm of a race and fix any bugs, which may occur during the race. Lastly, celebrate. Take your family out, visit friends and enjoy a post race/run social. You only live once, so have fun by celebrating the small wins along the way.
Naturally, everyone is different with unique needs and lifestyles. Not all of the aforementioned tips will work for you. We recommend testing the above tips weekly to rationalize which ones work and don’t. Keep changing-things-up. You have one life to live.
Run for your life.
Team Pace & Mind
About Pace & Mind
Based in Toronto and Montreal, Pace and Mind is a premium coaching service for runners who run for their life; physically and mentally progressing to achieve goals on and off the road.
We offer highly custom-training programs based on: Individuality, Progression, Recovery, Motivation, Engagement and Community. Unlike traditional programs and clinics, Pace and Mind coaching programs are built directly by Coach Rejean Chiasson, a Canadian Marathon Champion and 4x half-marathon Canadian medalist. They are powered by TrainingPeaks software to ensure data accuracy and a powerful listening tool for the coach. Lastly, we integrate the runner into engagement and community runs plus socials to create the best running experience possible.
You have one life to live. Run for your life.