We would all love more hours in the day but we have to make do with what we are given. It is possible to have ambitious goals and still nurture the close relationships in your life. Everyone’s situation is drastically different of course but here is a view into what has worked for me.
As you know it takes time to develop the close bonds needed for a loving relationship. It also takes many hours to train for long distance races. I also work full-time and go to school part-time. I spend time with my family and travel a lot. It has been essential to have a schedule/calendar to keep everything straight. I work a 24-hour shift every 4th day and have to do some creative scheduling with co-workers when that time interferes with school obligations. One thing that has freed up a lot of time was when we turned off our cable and TV habits. It was amazing how much time was spent watching shows that didn’t have much significance when that time could have been spent with loved ones or training.
I also focus on quality time over quantity with Matt, Mark, family, and friends. Some people require more time than others and I try to accommodate that. For example, Matt is more self-sufficient and enjoys his alone time or gym time. We talk and text throughout the day and make it a point to cuddle at night before bed and in the morning when we wake up. Mark typically requires a bit more time to feel satisfied so I try to allow time to see him daily when it works out.
This also works out with the time of time spent together. Matt does not like to travel as much so Mark and I go off on weekend trips more often. This works out for all of us because Mark and I get to explore new places and Matt gets his alone time to spend at the house where he feels most comfortable. Matt doesn’t feel left out at all and is always welcome to go with us. He does go many of the times but also does not feel bad for staying home when he doesn’t want to travel, especially back-to-back weekends. Mark has a work schedule that allows us to take off to go somewhere on Friday morning and come home Sunday. My schedule allows this too on certain weekends. Another reason the poly lifestyle can make everyone happy when it works out. Takes communication though!
In the past, it has been an issue when the time demand was stretched thin. I felt an obligation to see the people that wanted to spend time with me but also knew I needed to get my training time in. I realized that one person can only do so much before the overwhelmed feels start to creep up. I had to learn how to say no or compromise. I realized I don’t have to be there for everything and on everyone else’s schedule. I have priorities and goals as well and need to make sure I stay on track for them. Training is a priority and skipping a few workouts is ok, at least for me. When skipping workouts starts to affect my mood then I have to start saying no to obligations and stay on track with what I am working towards. I realize now that training does make me happy. Feeling prepared for a race and spending time with others is possible and fulfilling. Fortunately, I do not have children (and won’t be) so that does make things much easier on the schedule. I have a lot of respect for parents and what they do to get to their goals while handling family obligations.
Quality time is the key. Quality time with the people you love as well as quality workouts. I focus on my long training runs but also do hill repeats, core and strength training, swim, and other shorter concentrated workouts that are also beneficial to my race success.
Don’t forget your personal time! Everyone needs a little “me” time and that can be scheduled in if necessary. I tend to schedule this time as I feel the desire to unwind. I will dedicate more “me” time if I feel more stress. It helps me process things going on in my life and take a break from everything. This is essential and should be a priority in everyone’s life.