How to Deal with Running Through a Busy Season of Life
I came out of winter feeling great about the number of miles I had logged in the frigid months. The January 100-mile challenge kept me going when the weather (hello, sub-zero temperatures) might have otherwise slowed me down. Call me crazy, but I thought the sunshine that accompanied the extreme cold was a nice alternative to the milder but very cloudy and gray winters we’re used to.
But life has seasons. And it’s now July, so let’s stop talking about January!
As we transitioned into spring…err, what we had of spring…my life filled up. In May I completed a graduate program, and in the months leading up to commencement I was busy, busy, busy with work, an internship, and class. I occasionally wondered if I could get it all done, and I often had to decide what to let go to make it happen. You’ve been there. You know what I’m talking about.
Unfortunately, my mileage decreased in the spring months. I just couldn’t keep up. As we approached summer, and knowing that it wasn’t the ideal season to be slowing down, I knew I needed to adjust my thinking to cope with what felt pretty disappointing.
Here are four things I learned about running during a busy season of life.
1. Caring for my Body is Important
Anyone who knows me knows I have a “bedtime” and am pretty good about adhering to it. I need sleep! I used to sacrifice sleep for runs all the time, and my runs often felt sluggish. At one point I learned I enjoyed running exponentially more, and felt less burned out, when I wasn’t so fatigued from a lack of sleep.
When I frequently chose sleep over running in the spring, I knew I was making a good decision for me.
2. Accepting the Circumstances is Better than Fighting them
Have you ever dreaded something so much and later realized that had you only walked into it with a different attitude, it wouldn’t have been so bad? I think there’s a lot of power in accepting the crazy seasons of life rather than beating yourself up over not doing more. It’s easy to “should” on yourself when the schedule gets full, but that will get you nowhere.
Sometimes, the best I can give – despite the circumstances – is simply the best I can give. What’s so bad about that?
3. My Training isn’t Wasted
It’s easy for me to think I’m doomed for summer races, and that everything I did over the winter was for naught, if I’m not increasing my mileage in the warmer months. Oh, please! Catastrophizing like that doesn’t help.
Instead, I tried to be grateful for the miles I did log before a busy spring and knew that even if it wasn’t going to be my strongest season, I would bounce back.
4. I love Running
When I’m in training mode, I sometimes forget that I really enjoy running for the sake of running. When I’m so focused on a certain pace or number of miles I forget that. By running less frequently, I didn’t feel that pressure, and was reminded how much I love to just get outside and go.
Slowing down and running less is never my favorite, but when I couldn’t change much about what else was going on, I knew I needed to make some other adjustments to make the shift more tolerable.