Running on a Schedule

My kids in their obligatory first day of school picture.  Marking a return to normal and running!

My kids in their obligatory first day of school picture. Marking a return to normal and running!

One of the most common rationales I hear from people about why they don’t run is regarding time.  I have no argument for this reason.  I understand how easy it is to put running aside, but I tend to have a fairly backwards habit when it comes to running.  The more free time I have, the less likely I am to run.

Let me explain that a bit.  I am a fairly booked up person.  As far as employment goes – I teach 5th grade and work occasional shifts at the running store.  My house involves a 6th grade daughter that participates in girl scouts and orchestra, and a 3rd grade son in cub scouts and after school science clubs.  We also have a nine month old puppy dog.  After school, on top of the kid’s activities, I coach Girls on the Run and am a building supervisor for an afternoon Spanish language program.  I am also the one who cooks, and we do make attempts to eat exclusively home cooked meals during the week (though we have our occasional Chipotle breaks).  Between all of this, and because of all of this, I MUST run.

During the summer I work very little.  My days are blissfully my own to spend however I want, and more often than not, I end up forgetting to run or making excuses.  The heat is at a dangerous level, or I can go later, or I need to make sure to make dinner before it gets too late, or I just ate, or I spent too long at the pool and now I’m just too sleepy.  I can be the queen of excuses.  But not during the school year.  That is because during the school year, my google calendar looks like this:

My October.  Jealous?

My October. Jealous?

Yes, those are three different layers of a google calendar you see in front of you.  One that takes care of most of the kid activity and is shared with my ex-husband in order to make sure we know what weekend the kids are where, and what activities the kids have going on.  The blue ones apply just to me – classes I need to attend, knowing when my mom is out of town, when I’m coaching.  Lastly, the green – my running calendar.  Possibly the most respected of the bunch.  During the school year, there is something blissfully selfish about going for a run.  Spending my day surrounded by children (both at work and at home) is an amazing thing, and I adore teaching, but it means that a HUGE chunk of my life is spent with people near me really, truly needing me.  Needing my attention, needing me to focus on them.  Obviously, anyone that goes to work has to focus on their work, but it is a unique kind of need when it is a ten year old standing in front of you frustrated because they still can’t quite grasp this whole fraction to decimal thing.

Running isn’t always easy during the school year.  I am frequently tired.  I am overbooked.  My legs are sore from being on my feet all day at work.  The need to have some privacy, however, is strong.  To have some time all to myself to work through my day.  Sometimes I plan lessons.  Sometimes I think about a student and how I might be able to work through something with them.  I write grant proposals in my head and try to come up with a way to connect with my 6th grade daughter that keeps becoming more and more of an adult.  I feel like, to be honest, I don’t have time NOT to run.

I’m not a morning person.  Some days I am able to go run right after school while my kids work on their homework, so long as I’m not going too far.  Some nights we go to the track where I can run intervals while the kids read books or run up and down the bleachers.  On the weekends I will run in the middle of the day when my husband can be home with the kids, or I will suck it up and meet up with our training group to knock my miles out early enough to not miss the scout activity of the day.  Many nights I head out at 9pm, after the older kiddo has been tucked into bed.  I’m currently 16 days into what I hope will become my 100 day running streak, so every day, every night, I check in with myself and my day.  Then I make it happen.

I completely empathize with and understand when people say they are just too busy to run, but maybe, when you really are so busy that adding one more thing sounds like an absolute nightmare – maybe that is the time you need it the most.

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