Athlete Journal: Julie Warren, Entry 14 – Small Sacrifices

With just eight weeks left before the Great Wall marathon and a crazy packed schedule, I’ve spent the week figuring out how I’m going to balance work, life, and training.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Along with Andrew Read and Narisa Wild, Julie Warren will be sharing her training experiences for upcoming endurance challenges. Follow Julie as she prepares for her next adventure – the Great Wall of China Marathon! Julie’s journals will be posted on Saturdays.

Athlete Journal: Julie Warren, Entry 14 – Small Sacrifices

Well there’s just eight more weeks until the big race. That’s fewer than two months until I run a marathon on the Great Wall of China. While I’ve certainly come a long way, I know there’s still quite a bit of progress to be made. And yes, eight weeks is theoretically plenty of time to make my final preparations for this adventure. There’s this pesky little thing called ‘life’ though, and it’s starting to demand an awful lot of my attention.

I’m sure very few of us have the luxury of being endurance athletes with zero other time consuming obligations. Therefore I imagine we can all relate to the struggle of balancing work, workouts, family, and social schedules. While specific situations, like running styles, vary from person to person, the bottom line is that we all have a lot on our plates and finding a way to meet our basic adulthood obligations while still enjoying our endurance activities isn’t always easy.

For me personally, these next two months become quite crazy. From work to my personal life, everything seems to be going 100mph with no signs of slowing down. Don’t get me wrong – I’m super blessed to be in the situation I’m in. I really enjoy my job, my family and friends are amazing, and I’m healthy enough to participate in some ridiculously awesome events. That being said, finding time to focus on my training while the rest of my life is desperately trying to crowd training time off the calendar is proving to be a challenge.

So this past couple of days, I’ve focused in on how I can make sure I hit my training markers over the coming weeks, while still finding time to meet my work and social obligations. It’s not going to be easy, but with a plan in place, I feel like I have a little more control over a situation that felt wildly out of control just a few days ago.

First things first, I established what the “must do” items are in the coming weeks. These include both major training markers as well as tasks that life in general demands. For instance, I am moving from a rental house into a house that I own at the end of the month. It’s easiest to move during the course of a weekend, but that’s when I usually get a long run accomplished. So I know that on that particular weekend, before any moving occurs, I have to get an 18-mile run knocked out. It might seem trivial, but now that those items are on the calendar, it helps me feel more confident that I won’t lose sight of my training goals.

The next thing I did was look at my day-to-day training schedule and figure out how I could make things work while still getting eight hours of sleep and not compromising social life or work obligations. My conclusion was that I’d do running (speed work, hill work, or time trials) before work, and then CrossFit during my lunch hour. This leaves a few hours after work available for other fun stuff, like meeting up with friends for happy hour or just hanging out on my couch and enjoying doing nothing before my 8:30 PM bedtime.

The final conclusion I came to is that I’m going to have to make some tough calls in the coming weeks, so I really need to know where my priorities lie. If I were just doing this Great Wall marathon for the experience and social time, I wouldn’t really have a problem with compromising a few workouts here and there. Turns out though, I have every intention of going to China and laying the smack down on this race. I have zero intention of playing nice during this marathon. Knowing that I can’t have my cake and eat it too, something has got to give. There will be times in the next two months where I’ll have to turn down social opportunities or whatever. And I’ll need to be prepared to make that call. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s only two months of buckling down and it’s certainly doable. And when I cross the finish line in China, feeling like I left everything out on the racecourse, those small sacrifices will be completely worth it.