Community Take the Breaks When You Can Get Them: Racing, Family and Super...

    Take the Breaks When You Can Get Them: Racing, Family and Super Duper Hard Goals


    “Back to back races? Are you insane?”

    I heard this a lot when I told friends and family I was running two half marathons, seven days a part. But this is not the first time I put a challenge like this on myself. In October of 2023, I ran the Chicago Marathon. That was on a Sunday. I returned home on Monday night and spent the week recovering. Doing a few easy walks, lots of stretching and mobility work, sleeping and, of course, eating! That following Sunday, seven days later, I ran the TCS Toronto Waterfront half marathon and managed a personal best. Not sure if it was the added rest or the fact that suddenly 21 kilometres didn’t seem too bad after 42 kilometres!

    Whatever the reason, I did it and know I can do it again.

    We all have a little bit of crazy in us. We must, that’s how we thrive in our chosen fields. To raise four kids and balance their life and activities while working full time, waking up at the crack of dawn in order to train sounds insane. But I think of it as thriving in the element of chaos. I chose to have a large family. I chose to marry someone who works mainly at night. I chose to work outside of the home, and I chose to compete in races. Therefore, in my mind, there is no complaining. 

    I chose this life, and I choose to thrive through the rollercoaster ride it is. 

    Setting ambitious running goals on top of everything else in life adds an extra layer of challenge in my (already) packed schedule. But having those goals gives me a sense of purpose and motivation, driving me to push through even when the going gets tough. It’s about dedication and determination. How do I balance back to back races and, well, life? Dedication, planning, and self-care. Specifically, here’s how: 

    Prioritise: Determine what matters most to you and focus your time and energy on those priorities. Whether it’s your family, your career (or your personal goals like running), make sure you allocate time accordingly. I cannot tell you how to prioritise these, but I can help guide you through how I am currently doing it. 

    Schedule smartly: With a busy life, time management is crucial. Plan your days meticulously, scheduling training sessions around your work and family. This might mean early mornings or late evenings, but finding pockets of time to train is key.

    Recovery is essential: Especially when doing back-to-back races, prioritise recovery. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, and incorporating rest days into your training. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard, especially if you’re feeling fatigued. (And listen, I work so I get it: you may not be able to rest as much as you want or like. Go easy on yourself. Take the breaks when you can get them). 

    Support system: Surround yourself with supportive people who understand your goals and are willing to help out when needed. Whether it’s your partner, friends, or family members, having a strong support system can make a world of difference.

    Adaptability: Life can throw unexpected curveballs, so adapt your plans when necessary. This might mean adjusting your training schedule or being flexible with your goals. Progress is not always linear; it’s okay to make adjustments along the way.

    Mindset matters: Cultivate a positive mindset and embrace the challenges that come with balancing multiple responsibilities. View each obstacle as an opportunity for growth and keep pushing forward, even when things get tough.

    By finding the right balance between commitments, goals and taking care of yourself along the way, you can successfully tackle back-to-back races and thrive in the midst of chaos . . . or at least that’s what I like to tell myself.

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