Over-scheduling has always been an issue for my husband and I. We have nine year old twins, full time (primarily sedentary) jobs; you know....a life. There was never a moment to exercise, an hour to myself to paint my nails or socialize, much less find a sitter so I could do anything alone. I felt trapped and stretched to the limit. I had to make a change.
The key to that change was progressive integration. Last January I made a commitment to myself - to put my health and fitness first. Taking the first leap involved me signing up for a 12 week Couch to 5K class near my house. Believe it or not, that was the hardest part. I was not a runner. I am a bit socially awkward with new people but I followed the "fake it 'til you make it' mantra and went to the informational meeting. It was one hour out of my entire week but I went back and forth over whether or not I would go. I am glad I did. The coach asked me to initially commit to three - 30 minutes sessions per week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday). Easy enough.
The third session, on Thursdays, was the hardest to nail down. My hurdle was that this run was on my own (the other two were with our class). It took me 4 weeks to really integrate it into my schedule. It meant telling people "no" to after-work drinks, asking my husband to start dinner for me and making sure I didn't have to stay late after work. It meant saying "yes" to 30 minutes of time alone each week and that was tough for me. What I found was that the people around me didn't respect my fitness schedule if I didn't respect it first. By letting a session pass without doing the work I was effectively showing I did not think it was important.
By week 12, as we prepared for our first 5K race, I found myself really fighting for those time-slots in my week. I really wanted it now. When the class ended I realized that I would have three 30 minute time slots that were empty. It never occurred to me that those time slots would be used for anything other than running. I met once a week with some friends from my class but the other two times per week were completely on my own.
I was already signed up for the next running class by the time week 16 started. This one asked me to commit an hour of time to my training, 3 times per week, to incorporate cross training. Now I had three lovely hours, one of which was just for me. It was around this time that I began to really enjoy the training.
In the meantime I ran a 12k and signed up for several 10k. My husband then decided to join me in this class. Once he had signed up we started running together. We took the kids on the path with their bikes. We took them on river floats. We rode our bikes with them. We looked for every excuse to get outside, as a family, and walk everywhere. I even invited friends out for social runs which was extremely fulfilling. Incorporating physical activity had become so easy.
I trained alone during the Fall. Without a class to anchor me I had to block out time on my calendar and respect the schedule. This was proof to myself that this was indeed a habit I had formed. Training was moved around to incorporate some shorter lunch-time runs. My husband joined crossfit and found himself there 3-4 times per week on top of the running we were already doing together. During this time I also incorporated Bodyrock's 30 day Challenge with Lisa-Marie into my mornings 2-4 times per week. At this point, I realized I was fitting-in almost 4 hours per week and my body was responding in a very positive way.
Fast forward to the end of November. I have been worried I over-scheduled myself. I signed up for a winter running group, a runners strength class and committed to a half marathon training group. The strength class introduced me to TRX and drills. My Winter running group guaranteed that I incorporated 3-5 mile runs. I even started running the stairs in my office building a couple of times per week. As a family, we ran a race 5k every Saturday from November 9th to December 6th. It was great.
There such a thing as too much. I get that. I don't want to get burnt out. Maybe I am overly enthusiastic. At this point I exercise 4-6 times per week. I look for pockets of hours that are not spoken for and try to fill them with something that gets me moving because I truly love being active. The great part is that it didn't happen overnight. I slowly incorporated it into my life and you can too. ...oh, I almost forgot. On December 31st I will be running the Resolution Run 5K with my family and then heading over to the skating rink to ring in the New Year. I still love a good New Year's Party but 2013 deserves an active send-off.
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