Running is about giving yourself time – time to get fitter, to lose weight or simply to chill out on your own. But it’s not so easy to make space for running. Maybe you feel guilty about leaving work to go training when others are staying late. Or perhaps you think you ought to be at home with your partner or children, instead of going to the gym. The good news is, there are ways you can deal with the blocks to your running routine. What’s more, the skills and strength you develop in learning to commit to running can be applied to the rest of your life too!
The first thing to realise is you don’t have to feel guilty about listening to your needs. How you live is a model for others so, in committing to running, you’re giving your friends and family the message they can live fully and be themselves too. We all have the same amount of time; it’s how we choose to spend it that’s the key to fulfillment.
Establish your priorities
If work pressures are interfering with your running, remember that your work/life balance comes from a commitment to yourself. Try pressing the pause button and taking a moment to become aware of the whole picture of your life. When you pause a film, the scene stops and you see things you might not have noticed before. To help you start to believe more in yourself, think about the conversations you have with yourself and notice how much of it is negative and how much is positive. Check yourself throughout the day and observe whether you’re saying things like, “I’m useless, I’ll never master this” or “Wow, I’m really committed to finishing this, even though it’s difficult.” Then write an alternative thought beside all the negative ones, so you can start to think more positively.
To take back control and start making choices that best support the life you want to lead, list everything that’s important to you in order of the priority you currently give it. Does running need to be higher up the list? Is it more important to you than watching TV, for example? If so, shift it up. And once it’s there, ask yourself what effect will this move have on everything else? Will you have to get up earlier to run before work? Or give up going out for a meal with colleagues? Maybe you’ll need to talk to your partner about taking over some domestic responsibilities. Or perhaps ask your boss if you can take a longer lunch break.
Enlist the support of family
Once you can see spaces in your day for running, you need to check if there are any obstacles of your own making. “I want to run, but I like my sleep!”, “I must be there for the kids in the morning”, “I’d like to run after work but I ought to prepare a meal for my partner”. Ask yourself if these are really true. Do you still want to make them a priority? Often we live according to a set of outdated beliefs that don’t fit us anymore – sometimes they never even did!
For your plan to work, enlist the support of those close to you if you speak to them from the hart they’ll be more likely to understand you, and will have the chance to express their concerns as well. They can then become part of your vision and be more likely to support you.
Once you’ve worked out a running schedule, talk to the people who will be affected by your new routine. If you decide how to make it work together, everyone is included and feels part of the process. That way, if they want to you to go out for a meal (or stay in bed!) instead of going for a run, you’ll already have established the plan and with them, so following your need and saying no to them will be easier.
Rather than expect instant results, think about your progress in terms of a cycle of change. For example, think about making a change, make the change, maintain it for a while, and if you do relapse, then don’t worry. It might take a few attempts to establish a new pattern, but this is OK! You’re learning how to commit to yourself as much as learning to run. Be patient with yourself; it may take time, but these are all the tools you need to establish a way of being a runner that supports the rest of your life, too.