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Struggling With Juggling

There are just a little more than thirteen weeks until the San Francisco Marathon. Three weeks after that is the Squamish 50K. I should be firmly entrenched in some serious base training, ready to begin a strength phase. I am not. I am struggling with juggling.

The last four weeks and the next nine are some of the busiest ever. Teaching and prepping classes, traveling, and marketing for the fall schedule seem to take huge focus and much energy. Add in Mason’s track meets, a McKenzie feis, or Kim’s recitals, AND trying to be a husband and all around nice guy…… Yikes. Fitting in productive runs is challenging, especially when there are so many opportunities to do otherwise.

So, what is the answer AND is the question so unique?

Let’s take the second question first. Everyone is busy (just ask them). My issue is not unique. Everyone does some semblance of juggling their lives to meet the demands of everyone and everything in it. It becomes a matter of expectations and priorities. 

You (and I) might think that if these “races” are important I will find/make the time to train adequately to prepare. In the real world, however, there are only 24 hours in a day and only so much energy to fill them. Noted sports psychologist and author, Jim Loehr said, “energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of peak performance.” So let’s find me some energy.

The answer may be a focus on quality over quantity. It’s entirely possible that last year’s string of fifteen weeks of 70+ miles per week might not fit this time around. Less mileage means less time commitment, right? Of course, we’re not factoring in the reality that I LOVE to run. It’s my BEST time of the day. So less may not be more. Less may be less.

Of course, if I were “motivated” for these races, the time and energy might take care of themselves. With the right motivation, I’m all in, right? Maybe not. After nearly 500 races and close to 109,000 miles, I have learned two things: motivation is a moving target, and REAL motivation doesn’t come from the race, it has to come from me.

So, maybe the answer lies in expectations. If expectations were lowered, I wouldn’t feel as driven to train with the same amounts of vigor and commitment. I could look at these events as just that: events. Maybe I might even take a day off once in a while. 

Wait, wait, wait, I know how this goes. While I am completely able to consciously lower expectations today, I know that when I reach a/the starting line, I want to GO! Lowered expectations be damned. Then, and almost fifty years of running and racing tells me this, when my performance is disappointing, I’ll be kicking my proverbial ass all the way home. That is not going to work. My ass is sore from self-kicking most of the time anyway.

So, what’s the answer? I don’t know but I feel a little better acknowledging that I have a problem (that’s half the solving, right?). 

My name is Rich Sands and I am struggling with juggling.

I guess I’ll go for a run.