Training for race events can be tough, both physically and mentally. Whatever level you are at (Ironman, marathon, 10k or your first 5k), a new training schedule alters your focus. Let's be honest, it can consume you. A training plan changes your daily routine... but more importantly, there is a change in your heart and soul, in the very fiber of who you are. This can make your life flourish... or completely ruin your marriage.
|No doubt about it... my running hobby has become a family affair.|
When I started my running in 2009, my hubs wasn't exactly fond of this new hobby. I left him home with two little babies. In my absence, he was 100% responsible for their well-being. As a new father, the 'what ifs' kinda freaked him out. Nothing ever happened. Everyone survived. Mommy got her daily run in, lost the baby weight, and everyone lived happily ever after... right?
|Me and the hubs in the starting chute|
of my first marathon. It meant SO
MUCH to run that first mile with
him by my side. (He ran the 5k)
All this new activity inherently takes time away from other things... quite naturally from those we often take for granted - our family. There were many nights (still are) when family dinners don't happen. Instead of grocery shopping and preparing meals like a good little housewife, I was consumed with reading running blogs or writing this one. There are countless Saturdays that I missed a lazy morning with my kids watching cartoons and eating pancakes. Story and craft time slowly transformed into gym time. We've skipped numerous weekend events because mommy is just too exhausted or has a long run in the morning. I party (a.k.a. drink alcohol) much less now... which was quite often, couple bonding time in our "previous life". There is no doubt that athletic training involves a certain amount of sacrifice... and creates a new way of life.
So how does one keep doing what they love without losing the ones they love? It's the million dollar question, right? First of all, I'm no expert. I make mistakes; I do and say things I regret. But I feel like we have been up and down the mountains of adversity... and have come out of it happier than ever. Honestly, I can not imagine a better life than mine right now, at this exact date in time. My hubby is incredibly supportive of my nonstop running (and now cycling) escapades, but honestly, he probably wouldn't shed a tear if I stopped it all right now.
With every training cycle, athletes learn more and more about their bodies... how they react to workouts, how they get injured and recover. We push and push for the next level, squeezing the most out of every workouts - without doing any damage. It's been the same balancing act for me with my family - moreover, my marriage. With every race I train for, I learn better what works for us. There is a delicate balance of too many races (him) and not enough (me).
So without further ado, here are some of my tips to keeping it all happy...
|As an (early) Father's Day present this year, I bought |
hubs a fancy new bike. He WILL be a cyclist yet! LOL
Make your training as tolerable as possible. It's no secret that I get up real early in the morning to run. Partly because I like mornings, but that wasn't always the case. I started setting my alarm for the buttcrack of dawn to ease the stress on my family. I cut my sleep short so I don't cut my time with them. It really helps relieve that feeling of "sticking him with the kids". I can be done with my run before they even finish breakfast, many times before they're even awake! If early mornings aren't possible for you, I know a lot of working moms who do lunchtime runs. Even others who squeeze in their run between the kids' bedtime and their own. As a stay-home mom, I've done a lot of runs with my kids... in the stroller or with them on a bike by my side. It's not always easy; but where there's a will, there's a way. The key is to find what works best for you and your family... without feeling guilty or that you "owe" your spouse. Of course, I also know women that are fine with "owing" their spouse and pay up in fun ways... wink, wink.
|Have I mentioned yet how much|
I love this guy!?!?
I'm a firm believer that running (and the fit life in general) has made my life and marriage better. But it definitely has been work to get it to that point. Initially, there was a lot of juggling and
I'd love to hear how you make it all work with your spouse/family.
Please share the methods to your madness in a comment below...