Thursday, March 24, 2011

Finding a balance

Finding a balance between work life, running life and life life can be pretty tough. It's even harder when you're not much of a planner. Since I've had a lot going on lately, I've found that planning is necessary if I want to stay sane and be social while training. 

Here are a just a few things that have worked well for me:

Color me organized
Setting up a detailed, color-coded calendar keeps me on track and ensures I don't miss any important events. 

Once I know what races I have coming up, I devise a detailed training schedule and map it out on my calendar. That becomes the base for all future planning. I know it sounds lame, but training has to be a top priority no matter what your skill level. Plus, spending hundreds of dollars on a race (registration, travel, lodging, etc.) automatically bumps it up on the priority list.

Naturally this is synced with my phone so I get friendly reminders all the time. 

Sweat it out with friends
Get your friends motivated and keep yourself in check. Research group fitness classes in your area and recruit a couple of friends to check them out with you. Catch up over coffee, drinks or food afterward.

The group fitness classes I've come to love (bootcamp, Bikram and Burn) were introduced to me by friends. It's not like we were hanging out and chatting in class, but working out together lets you squeeze in much needed QT with friends. The great thing about group fitness classes is that you have to sign up and pay in advance. I don't know about you, but that makes me less likely to bail.

Make workout dates
This sort of goes in line with group fitness. If you're not into spending money on classes or hanging out with large groups, set fitness dates with friends...friends that will hold you to it. This lets you multi-task - chat and workout! Some buddy-friendly activities: biking, running, urban hikes, tennis.

Run errands
Literally. If you have to go to the grocery store, office or need to pick something up, make it part of your running or riding route. I've planned long bike rides to meet people for lunch and carried portable bags on runs to the grocery store. Multi-tasking. Embrace it.

Lunchtime quickie
The lunchtime workout doesn't work for everyone, but if you have access to a gym (or shower), take advantage of it. Even if you're not a fast showerer/changer, you can still get a 20-30 minute workout in. To make the most of those precious minutes, I've found that running intervals is best. For easy runs, I've maxed out at 3 miles during lunch. Beware of the post-gym glow. I stay pink for at least 20 minutes after I get back to my desk. Eeh.

Don't sweat it
It's taken me awhile to accept it, but it's ok if you miss a workout. It's ok if you want to bail on a 2 miler if you've had a really rough day and all you want is to grab a beer with long as you don't make it a regular occurrence. It's also ok to shift workouts around to work with your schedule.

Happy training season :)

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