Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where Do You Find the Time??!

Added a year after this was written:  So many things have obviously changed in a year since I wrote this.  My kids no longer nap, I don't use the jogger stroller anymore to fit in runs, and I'm finding it just a bit easier to multitask now that the kids are little older.  But I do still give up certain things for the sake of working towards a goal that is satisfying and rewarding...a goal that gives me drive and motivation in so many other areas of my life (almost all of them).  I don't have to take as much time away from my family as I used to when they were younger...things feel easier now.  I do however, choose wisely how I spend my time.  I don't say that I don't "have time" for ___________. However, I do say that I choose to spend my time doing the things that are at the top of my priority list.  I let go of things that I might enjoy doing outside of training:  reading more for fun, going out with friends as much (this is only a season), watching television or movies (I rarely do this anyway), etc.  

If I had a dollar for every time someone asks me how I find the time to run so much...well, gee, I'd be rich!  


Here's the thing:

  • We are all busy with life.  Life is busy.  And it is easy to fill with things.  Work, running kids around, chores, family outings, sports, etc. etc. etc.  
  • We all make choices. 
  • We make time for things that are important to us. 
  • It is up to us to set goals for our life and determine what is important to us.  
  • What is of value to one, might be worthless and pointless to another.  
  • Running and training for a marathon might seem like a big waste of time to a large portion of the population.  But for me, it is enjoyable and challenging.  
  • Having a big goal like training for a PR in a marathon isn't something that will be an "ALWAYS" in life but it is something that I'm going to do with a bang right now.  Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.  
  • A movie lasts about 2 hours.  So does going out and running approximately 15 miles (for me). Most of the time, I'll choose the 2 hours of running over the 2 hours of sitting.  
  • I don't watch a lot of television.  Unless I'm watching from the treadmill.  
  • I don't play video games.  
  • I've cut back on writing blogs.  
  • In order to fit in higher mileage, I get up early to run before my kids wake up.  
  • I also run more than once a day this time around (most days) because I rarely have long enough stretches of time where I can be running unless my husband is home.  
  • As a stay-at-home mom, I might not work outside the home but I do work.  My ass off.  I rarely have a moment to myself where somebody doesn't need me but I do sometimes find time for "quiet time".  This is quiet time for my kids and myself. It is good for all involved. Now that my 2 year old is trying to be done with naps, this means that he spends time with quiet toys or books in his crib or heaven forbid, sometimes I turn on ELMO for him.  ELMO buys me a good half hour.  A nap buys me about 1-2 hours.  The other is usually in school  and the other one can self entertain for up to an hour.  This buys me some time to fit in a run up to 8 miles.  
  • Yes, I would say that being a SAHM gives me more options for fitting in my runs now that I have a treadmill.  However, when I worked outside the home, I had more time to myself to where I could leave work on time (rarely did that as a teacher) and hit the gym BEFORE picking up my kids.  I also had the option of working out before work but this meant getting up REALLY REALLY early since teachers have to be at school by 7:30.  But it was possible.  
  • It really is all about priorities.  This is different for everyone.  If it is important enough, we usually find time.  
  • I own a treadmill...this is key for me.  Last time I trained for a marathon, I went to the gym to use the treadmill at night, I rarely slept through the night (baby), and by the time the day was over and it was time to run, I was so exhausted that I often shortened my workouts.  This time around, I am well rested, have more options for running, am more driven and can wake up earlier since I sleep through the night. 
  • I multi-task!!  Okay, so I don't consider my walk with God a "task" or chore but it is something I want to make time for.  I often pray, listen to worship music or meditate on an idea/subject while I run.  My running time can also be used as self-time  and time with God.
  • When it is nice outside, I take my oldest daughter on her bike and put the other two in a stroller and we run together.  This is not only quality time with my kids but it is also a wonderful opportunity to GET OUTSIDE and model a healthy and active lifestyle for them!    
Things I give up so that I have time to train (Again, this is only temporary...this training is for a set goal in April.  It isn't my entire life!) :
  • television (I still watch some.  Just not much. This one was easy since I have never been too big of t.v person.)
  • writing.  This is important to me but my writing has taken a back burner for a few months.  And that's okay.  
  • reading for book club.  Most of my reading now is nonfiction material related to training, nutrition, etc.  
  • sleeping in later
  • napping
  • lounging around
  • I admit, I'm giving up some time with my family.  I don't feel too guilty for this.  I do, however, stay conscious about the time that I AM with them and I make it count.  
  • reading as many blogs as I used to...I'm missing many of them.  
  • staying up super late  
Why do I do it?  
Now this is a pretty deep question that could be a blog post all on its own.  But a brief answer to this question is:
I'm doing this because it is fun!  It is a challenge for me to see what I can do with this one body that I have.  This one life.  It is exciting to try out new training strategies, more mileage, fueling better, etc.  Seeing results is energizing and makes me want to keep climbing.  Finding friends out there with common goals is motivating and sharing training with them is also fun!  And inspiring.  I feel like my training makes me stronger in every other area of my life.  It helps me live with focus, health, a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, and it makes me want to bring the same fire and energy to so many other things that I do.

1.  Wow, my second post in 24 hours!  You'd think I'm on vacation or something.  Oh, wait, I am.   Thank you for your comments about my training from my last post on Mileage.  Again, 85 miles a week is NOT my typical training week.  This was just a sample taken from last Wednesday to Today. Way too high for a regular weekly mileage for me right now.  I'm really trying to be conscious of not pushing myself too hard and also not holding back too much...there is a fine line here. However, I am excited to see this number and feel strong after running that much.  Makes me proud of my hard work.

2.  Also in my earlier post, someone asked me if I count my calories.  I'm assuming they  were wondering if I'm counting my calories to make sure I'm getting enough.  The answer is No.  I eat based off my hunger and if I think I'm getting enough.  The thing is, I'm always hungry.  I eat a lot and I try to eat lots of good calories and carbs so that I'm not filling up on junk.  This can be tricky during this time of year.  I also don't make myself feel guilty for eating "junk". I eat healthy most of the time but I certainly indulge in pizza, sweets, and the occasional french fries.  I've found it nice to start my day (after my morning run) with a big bowl of oatmeal with toasted whole wheat bread.  I'll post more on this another time.  During my last marathon training, I don't think I ate enough carbs and I think I deprived myself of too much.  I'm learning this time around that I NEED those high carb foods!!  

Are you training for something?  Why do you do it?  And How DO YOU make the time so that your goals are a priority in your life?



  1. Great post Amanda- agreed completely!

  2. Love it girl. You ALWAYS remind me to prioritise, prioritise, prioritise. Thank you. XX

  3. I strongly dislike treadmills, but I am beginning to see that it may be a necessity for marathon training. I won an entry into the Blue Ridge Marathon (eek!) and I am finding it quite hard to find the "time" now that it's winter and I don't have as much sunlight at my disposal!! Over the summer I would get up before my husband left for work...or run when my husband got home. Our neighborhood has NO street lights. Can you believe that??? So, it's very, very dark and there are no sidewalks. If I drive somewhere and map out a route (no GPS tracking device to measure my distances), then I am adding time for driving to and from the location. However, this training is important to me for all of the reasons you listed. I have one body. It is MINE. I enjoy the way I feel after running, and it has already brought me SO far!! Also, I use it as my "Me and God" time, too. I definitely don't watch tv as much as I used to...anyway, I'm just saying "Right on!" I love this post. It frustrates me when people ask when I have "time" because I wonder the same thing when I overhear them recapping an episode of _________. (fill in the blank)

    Okay, I think you said it way better than I just did. :) Thanks!!!

  4. Hear hear sister! How many times have we all heard the 'where do you FIND the time?" question? As if some extra were laying around somewhere. You've done so great prioritizing and making your training happen.
    I do it much the same way: get up very early and little to no TV time are key for me.

  5. Yup, this is key, finding a few things that are important, and do them well. Know your values, and let them guide you through. Have a supportive life context. Put yourself and your goals first sometimes.
    This is all great Amanda. Running has always been such a growing process for me, it still is:)

  6. Great post! Making the time is key. We always find time for what is important to us.

  7. As I'm planning what I want January training to look like, this is exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks for this!

  8. Wow, this is a fantastic post. I'm trying to get in higher mileage over the winter to train for track season right now. Yesterday I was reading an issue of Trail Runner magazine and wondering how people fit in even higher mileage than I do - sometimes it feels like there just aren't enough hours in the day.

    Thanks for reminding me that there definitely IS enough time. You just have to make it.

  9. When I'm training for a marathon or the half ironman (which topped out at 12 hours per week - freaking part time job), it wasn't that different. I just had to be very organized, plan better, get up earlier, go to bed earlier. The house might have been more messy. I also didn't socialize as much. It was all about priorities. I'm a believer that we can always find the time, it's just that we have to be willing to prioritize. It's not always comfortable or convenient, but who cares? That's what you sacrifice to reach goals. And like you said, it is temporary - not like you are going to be trianing this way forever. If you want it bad enough, you find time.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. You find time for things that are important to you. It is simple as that.

    Great post:)

  12. Planning and prioritizing... definitely agree!

  13. I believe that as mothers we are exceptional at prioritizing and we know how to make time for what's important to me. Running and training is important...therefore we make time. Whether that means getting up at 4 am to train before getting your household ready for school and yourself ready for work.

  14. Great post! It is all about choices. I get the comment a lot from my mom. Her quiet time and fulfilling time was in sewing all our clothes. Yes even underwear. Me training is the same basically. I've got 3 more weeks til my training starts and I'm trying to enjoy the sleeping in til 7:00. Ha ha. But I know sleep is one major thing we give uP. My schedule changes with each semester. Sometimes I teach 3 classes sometimes 1 and usually the summers are off. It's funny that I have to be more disciplined in finding the time to run swim bike when the kids are home. But you shouldn't be reading about me you should be running or cleaning or being mom, right? Thanks for writing this. Enjoy the rest of this year !

  15. Oh my, I've been asked this so many times! It's totally prioritizing. If you want it to happen it will. My solution is typically to get up before the crack of dawn and get it done before the kids/hubby are even up. That way I don't feel like it interferes as much with everyone else's needs.

  16. Yes...I would be a rich woman too. But most of my friends have quit asking :)

    I cut a lot of the same things you do. Can't stand the treadmill, but haven't figured out how I can watch a movie and really hear it while I run yet :))

    Now I need to go back and read your last post!
    So glad to see your blogs again!

  17. If you want something, you make time for it. I usually get my workouts in at 3:30 or 4 in the AM, which doesn't take away from work or family. Plus, it's quiet time just for me!

  18. Looking forward to reading this! Be back for more later :)

  19. THANK YOU Amanda! I needed this post today. After taking off time from running this fall/early winter due to burnout, I am ready to get back at it. I'm having a really hard time starting though. I WANT to do it, but find myself making the excuses. It doesn't help that the kiddos are still on winter break, and I DON'T have a treadmill, and they WON'T go to the kids club at the gym. Yes, I should be getting up early and going, but then I don't. I have a BIG goal for myself this year, and I need to really focus in on that, do a little self reflection and ask myself how serious I am willing to train for that goal. I've never been a runner for "time." My goals have always been to complete something. Last year, I actually started thinking that I could maybe get a little faster and start setting some PR goals. I mean, I've already done all of my big "first." (10K, 15K, half, triathlon, H2Coast) Now its time to get serious. ;-) So I'm training for the 15K shamrock again in preparation for the Rock n Roll half, where I would really really like to run a sub 2 hour half. I need to FOCUS on that goal and use it as motivation to get out and hit the pavement! So thank you for reminding me to get serious about my goal! :-)

  20. Awesome work! First I must applaud you on the miles. And yes, it takes considerable planning to get it done.

    Like yourself, I have cut back on TV, hang back on most Friday nights, and and spend more time on the treadmill when the time calls for it than I'd rather. But is it worth it? Absolutely. There is an odd sense of empowerment in making it work on your terms. Because it is a choice.

    I know when I run a quality race in March, then I get a nice little vacation. Boom.

  21. Yup. If its important to u, u find time to do it. Absolutely. I never watch tv either. You are so good about reflecting on life. I am looking forward to using my new tablet on the treadmill today and see if I can read or watch something while I run. If I works it could be life changing!!!:)

  22. Awesome post Amanda. I will start training for my 3rd marathon in June. I'm hoping to do Grandma Marathon in June. It is all about priority. I myself get up at 4 am to get my runs and workouts in. It makes for a long day, but I love getting my workouts out of the way so I can concentrate on my family and other things.

    I do it because I love the way I feel when I get done with a workout or run. It gets my endorphins going and it also give me time to talk to God or just meditate. Maybe I'm selfish, but it is my time.

    Good Luck with your training.

  23. This is a great post--my list would look very similar to yours. I agree with what Shut Up and Run said, too--I don't socialize much--going to bed early is too much of a priority. And I do nap on days off work when my kids have "quiet time." But TV? Doesn't exist for me. Sometimes my husband and I might watch a DVD, but this is rare too.

    I wish I had my own treadmill. It's really a factor only in the winter, and I do have reasonable rec centers around, but they don't take kindly to people doing 20 or even 10-mile runs.

    My husband has told me he doesn't suffer much due to my running during the week because I get up early to get it done before he and the kids are awake. But he's tired of the winter Saturday morning long run thing, so he's asked me not to train for a spring or summer marathon (I'll be writing my own post about this at some point). I will be training for a fall one. In the summer, I get up early on Saturday, so I'm home sooner even after a 20 miler. During the winter it's too cold and dark (and like I said I don't have a treadmill)--so I'm often not back until lunchtime.

    I'm going to try to make the spring about speed and base (as much as I can without big miles on the weekend--I think 15 miles might be my husband's limit!). Fingers crossed that I won't lose fitness!

    I'm hoping all of this will be easier when the kids are older, even next year when they're in school five days a week (kindergarten) instead of three. Sorry to ramble on your blog again...your post got me thinking....

  24. The real question we all want answered is, "How you get those ARMS!?" Please answer that.

    I don't have kids so I have it pretty easy. But I agree with everything you mentioned. If most people cut TV time out they would easily have time to run...a LOT. I only watch TV on the treadmill also and that is plenty.

    But, even so, it's not easy. You do something most people don't have the motivation to do. You are motivated, determined, dedicated and STRONG. :)

  25. I love your writing! Great post. Time with God in his creation is a huge bonus of running outside. I need to get more worship songs for when i am on the mill!! Fuel for body and mind! Keep it up!!

  26. Great post as always Amanda. I agree 100% with everything you said. I get up a 3:30 or 4:00AM almost everyday of my life to get my run in. People think I'm crazy for doing it, but it's all about making time during the day to do what I love. I haven't seen a 9PM television show in years because I'm usually asleep. For me its all about choices. Great post!

  27. Since it is my job to make sure our son gets up in time to get eat, get ready, and get to school (I take him most days), I've adjusted by moving my workout times to start about 4:00 so that I can be showered and back by 6:00. I haven't done 2-a-days yet, since I like to spend that time in the evening interacting with him and my wife after work, and getting to bed when he does (about 8:30) makes it much easier to get up at 4.

    It truly is a massive balancing act, with ever-changing variables thrown in for good measure and challenge.

    I agree with you though...this isn't for the rest of our lives, but it is for now and we all make the time for the things that truly matter most. Great post !

  28. Well said Amanda. Sometimes it just dosn't seem like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done. Prioritizing is crucial for me too. I need my running time, my husband time, my chore time, cooking time, "me" time, and work time. More often than not, I always put off the "me" time even when it is really necessary. I find that by getting up early I can run before work (even though it is a drag to get up at 5 am) and then have my evenings mostly free to fit everything else in. I don't watch a lot of TV either, but love to read everyday. I keep a planner and daily lists that help me stay on track. :-)

  29. I totally agree with what you've written. The thing is that some of these sacrifices don't feel like sacrifices if you really enjoy what you're doing - and you obviously do. Prioritising has always been my middle name (or it became my middle name after I had kids) and I have just transferred that family management skills I learnt over to my running life to make sure it all gets done.

  30. Great post Amanda!

    I'm often asked how I find the time or often TOLD by others that they DON'T have the time....which perhaps I sometimes take personally knowing my schedule..... As with anything in life, if it's something you truly want, there is time! So many of your points here are excellent. Your priorities in order and the things you are cutting in life during this season are those that make sense. "We all make choices. We make time for things that are important to us. It is up to us to set goals for our life and determine what is important to us" Right on. You have one of the most difficult jobs out there as a SAHM in my opinion. A VERY unselfish choice in life. You deserve, you need to have something that gives you a strong sense of self, a sense of purpose outside of wife and mommy. There is absolutely no doubt your family benefits more from your running than they sacrifice!!

    Your training is going fantastic. Amazing mileage which you are handling VERY well. You should be SO proud of your hard work. I absolutely love following you and being a part of it and seeing what you are doing here. So lucky to have you:)

  31. I get up at 4:30 to hit the treadmill before anyone even thinks about getting up. I can get up to a 12 mile run on a week day before work. That was, until last weekend, when my treadmill died. Now I'm scrambling to find a suitable (affordable) replacement - I am only 3 weeks out from my marathon.

  32. love the truths here. i just read an article today about how most people claim that they do not have time to workout, but you've hit the nail right on the head here. life is about choices and we choose to make time for the things we enjoy.

  33. It's posts like this that make me love this blog! I feel like you are describing my life right now. I love the purpose that running gives me. I love trying to achieve my goals and the satisfaction I get when my hard work brings the results I want. If it were easy everyone would do it. It's the early mornings, late nights or squeezing in runs at odd times that separate us from fair weather runners. Posts like this remind me that there are others out there like me and I know if they can do it I can too!

  34. Wow - many of the comments for this post are as long as the post itself! You hit a spot with this one with so many.

    I used to stress about finding the time years ago. Now - it just seems to happen. I used to early AM run, now I only do that when it is 110 for a mid day high temp. I bascially just let the day happen - and yep there always seems to be an empty hour or 45 minutes to get some miles in. Non Soccer weekends I can always find 2 hours of time.

  35. ah time...that precious thing...
    for me I treat running as if it was my job. this is how I find time. The cleaning sometimes is not as good as it should be, I dont go out with my friends...I use the free time I have for running and showering after once I have done that my youngest needs to be picked up from school!!

  36. great post! you are amazing

  37. Yep - You MAKE time for what's important to you. I have a marathon in May and a triathlon in July...and maybe another Marathon in September, we'll see. I train early in the morning, over nap time, at night, and utilize the childcare at the gym. My husband is also training for the May marathon, so we take turns at the gym. I don't watch TV, and go to bed pretty much right after my kids do! I home school and do daycare, so it's a challenge - but if it was easy EVERYONE would do it!! GREAT post Amanda!

  38. Thanks for explaining so well how you manage your time to make room for things - like running - that matter. We all have only 168 hours a week; it's how we spend them that defines us.

  39. Nails - I don't get manicures. I will treat myself, every once in awhile, to a pedicure, but I don't sit for an hour or more to get gels, tips or wraps. I usually look at someone's hands when they ask me where I find the time to run!

  40. It's funny I often think that I'm not "doing it". Then I look back a few months and I did it. You just do it and don't feel guilty about it. Good luck with training!

  41. You know and I know everyone is busy! BUT I make it, create it, find it what ever! The time is there!!!! Yes, my marathon is in May.. gulp!

  42. Well said. I agree with all of the 100%. When I was in school all the other students used to ask me, "how do you have time to run so much" and I always thought to myself, "how could I NOT make the time to run so much." It's all about choices and priorities. You make it work if you want. I'd get up at 5 or 6am instead of staying up until 1 or 2 in the morning then sleeping in until 5 mintues before class. That's how.

  43. Right now, I'm training for another half. I am lucky that my husband is flexible about eating dinner later during the week, so I can run after work. Long runs on the weekends are easy enough to fit in with getting up early in the morning.

  44. Thanks for resharing Amanda - I needed this! Not so much the practical tips (although some of them apply to me) but more the note about prioritising.

  45. In 4 months I will have run 4 half marathons. I completely agree it is all about prioritising, especially as a mother. I would love to sleep in on those rare occasions when my kids make it past 6:30am, but I hit the pavement because I know I will be a better mother throughout the day for that time alone. It is great to hear other mothers feeling the same difficulties.