To say life is busy is a serious understatement. We all have overflowing to-do lists on the daily. Couple that with the holiday season, and exercise is often the first thing to fall by the wayside.
So how do we do it? How to we fit running into our lives when life is just so full? As a busy mom of 8, business owner, teacher, coach, and much more, I understand the challenges runners face when trying to balance their dream-chasing with the nitty-gritty details of every day life. Using the tips below, I have (thankfully) managed to be a consistent runner for the past 30 years, including the extra-challenging years of birthing and raising little ones (and not having family or baby sitters nearby to help). While all of these tips may not work for you, put a couple of them in your mental tool box and you'll be ready to rock the roads this Christmas instead of hoping to start fresh on January 1st. To make running a habitual part of your day, first change up the way you see running and how it fits into your life. Here's what I mean: - Instead of seeing running (or exercise in general) as something that takes away from your precious time, think about it as something that adds to your day. When you get your run in, it will pay you back in energy returns, mental clarity, and better sleep, all of which will make you more productive (read: more boxes checked off that lengthy to-do list). - Remind yourself that most tasks that you have to complete will some how get done, no matter what (laundry, making that doctor's appointment, work deadlines, dinner on the table). They will get done because they have to get done. Running however, won't get done unless you prioritize it. And when things get hectic, it's often the first thing to go. Set your intentions to make sure to get your run in, because if you don't, it won't get done. Period. And if it doesn't get done or only gets done sporadically, you'll never see improvement, - Long term improvements in running performance and fitness only come with small steps taken daily, Think of your fitness as a house that you are building and every workout as a brick that you're laying. As long as you continue to lay bricks, your house gets bigger and stronger but when you stop laying bricks and leave the building unattended, it begins to crumble and you lose what you've already put into it. You have to keep adding to fitness or what you've already laid down is lost quickly (meaning you've not only lost the fitness but the time you put in as well). - It's great to think of running as a gift you give yourself but also know that your running is most likely a gift to those around you, too. I credit my daily running habits (thank you God for the way you designed our bodies) with the stable mental health I experienced when I had seven babies in a dozen years. On mornings that I missed my runs, my husband was known to help get me out the door for a quick jog because he knew we would all be better for it. - Remember your why. Think back to why you started and set that at the forefront of your mind so when the days start to run together but you're not running at all, you can get back on track. (Stay tuned: Part 2 of this series will cover practical tips on getting your runs in.)