What I learned about work/life balance from running a marathon.
I am an amateur runner and a freelance content creator. I have been getting progressively busier with my freelance work and I just ran my first marathon. What do these two things have in common? I have a schedule for both and for a while only my running schedule had the word rest written on it.
Up until my marathon training I had never sat down and planned out my workouts for an extended period of time. When I decided that I was going to cross off the 26.2 milestone I knew that I was going to have to get out a pen and a big calendar and be more strategic than I have ever been.
When I was planning out my runs I wrote down how long I was going to run, my heart rate strategy, and most importantly I planned rest days. Every week was carefully crafted. The muscles in my legs were going to be very upset with me if I did not make sure to give them enough time to heal from the workouts I was putting them through. Scheduling is one of the many tools that help make our world go round. Honestly I never put much thought into curating my schedule until I started trying to make money on my own. I was thrilled at how many parallels there were between my work schedule and my running plan.
The marathon is now a month behind me. A week before the marathon and two weeks after I ran very little. Normally running is a quick fix for any kind of emotional distress that I am experiencing. If I am making pieces of content for myself and I get stuck into a comparison loop, I know that if I just go out the front door and jog for 20 plus minutes that it is like hitting a reset button. However when I was in my training schedule I lost the perceived ability to run whenever I felt like it. I had a plan. I needed to stick to it. When I was not running that was just as important as when I was.
During my training the kind of anxiety I was used to frequently experiencing never seemed to surface. I had a plan, I was sticking to it, rest was part of the plan. If I did not rest I was going to get hurt and inevitably fall short of achieving my goals.
You often here that running a business, pun acknowledged but not intended, is a marathon and not a sprint. There are two parts to this:
Sprinting is necessary if you want to run a faster marathon, and you only get better at sprinting by practicing and incorporating easy runs along as rest.
Secondly, a well executed marathon needs a schedule. From my experience rest is only rest if you are able to have piece of mind.
You need to be actively scheduling rest days for yourself on your training calendar and your business calendar. I often times beat myself up if I sleep past 7am on a Sunday, but since I have been writing down “rest” onto my work calendar I have been doing this a lot less. Do yourself a favor and try to learn from me before you put your body through the excruciating experience of running 26.2 miles. Rest is just as important as work when you are trying to achieve big goals.