The hardest thing for working professionals to do is to fit in training during a busy work week. How on earth do you do that without losing energy?
Listen, the boss, sometimes but not always, is not going to understand what you are doing.
Obviously, your personal goals is not the focus in the corporate world, often times bosses and your supervisors will find what your doing admirable and will support you and there will be times that may not be the case.
You have to be in an environment that is conducive to supporting your athletic goal but what happens if you are in the opposite position?
The fact that you run marathons, like to run or are training for a marathon three months down the road is not what the boss is interested in, the job is.
You should care about what you do but finding a balance between aiming for excellence in your career field and your athletic goals is something the average individual will not always get.
They see you as either lacking initiative in one part of your life and caring more about another part when it reality, you care and want to excel in both.
Working professionals who are training for a 5K or marathon have my utmost respect. It is awfully hard and it is just as easy to give in to the temptation of backing off from your athletic goals because you are working a full-time job.
There are many professionals that may only have 45 minutes to fit into their work schedule to run. Then what?
The importance of this cannot be stated enough. It is powerful. There are many times where our careers take all of our time. Have you ever felt like you were giving more attention, more of your life to a job then to your health?
What constitutes initiative? Does giving 110% to your career and 40% to your health and goals prove you care or does giving the same amount of attention to both mean you living up to your bosses expectations?
You have to find a balance
I have been a Soldier for the past 11 years. Several times I have run into situations where I had to go to a field training problem or a pressing task came up and I had to accomplish the military mission first and the goal was on the back burner.
What did I do? What is the best thing you can do in a situation like this? I focused. Don’t get me wrong. This is much easier said then done.
Someone telling you ‘just focus’ without having lived the experience is dealing you a losing blow. It is like saying the sky is orange when it is blue (or at least our eyes tells us it is).
The facts are your bosses, people who you associate with, aren’t going to really care if you went out and ran or not. It isn’t their job to ensure you or I achieve our running goals.
Sure, they can be supportive but at the end of the day it is up to you, and only you, to get the initiative to train. No one is going to hold your hand or hand you your goal on a silver platter.
It has to be earned and any goal that is easy to achieve, easy to earn is not one that is truly going to test you. It has to be something that is going to test your very soul, your entire being.
Supervisors have a job to do and so do you. If you are a working professional like me, you make the time to achieve the goal you have in mind.
It is your job to work on your career but also not to lose sight of your dreams as an athlete, being exceptional, exceeding standards at work and on the roads is up to you.
One thing I do know with this site, is I write sincerely about the difficulties that come along with working a full time job and trying to accomplish a very difficult goal.
I relate very well to this type of athlete.
World renowned exercise physiologist and Olympic distance coach Joe Vigil puts it like this,
There are 24 hours in a day, if you have a number of things you have to take care of during the day, compartmentalize them so you can do them all. Do more then is asked of you.
How do you get better as a runner if your a full-time working professional?
Make The Time
It is hard, I get it and understand the situation but there is simply no easy way to achieving a tough goal. There are no short cuts.
For example, in mid October of 2011 my military battalion had a week long field training exercise. This could not have come at the worst time and tested me to my limits.
I was training to earn the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials standard time of 2.19.00. I had run a 2.19.35 and figured shaving 35 seconds was doable (it still is).
I had a dilemma that no one could answer but me. How could I fit in my mileage and workouts in the middle of a military training exercise?
My military superiors were expecting me to go the field for this training exercise.
I still had to do my duty, support the Battalion’s mission, but the marathon I was training for was not on their minds.
Remember, it is a question of accepting pain as a pleasure and finding a way to tricking your brain into believing that.
You have to find pleasure, somehow, in painful experiences.
The facts are pain only exists in the brain. We have choices we can make and we can see frustrating roadblocks along our path to achieving our running goals as pain or pleasure.
The trick is switching the two. I have to admit that that military field training exercise pushed me to the near breaking point.
It was a hellish experience that I would not wish on my worst enemy but I wanted to try, I didn’t want to live with the regret that I didn’t take aim at trying to qualify for the 2012 Trials despite having to go to the field.
This would not have been a problem had we not been out in the middle of nowhere on Fort Campbell, but this goes back to what I was stating earlier.
I had a tent duty that started at 5am where I was the Officer in charge for the shift. I had a 19-mile run that I had to do as I was training for the Monumental Indianapolis Marathon where I ended up placing 5th in 2.26.42.
I might as well have run a 2.16.42 that day because I worked so hard, far harder then I ever did leading up to my 2.19.35 PR.
I was training full-time then as well, but I also failed many times and never broke 2.30, even while training full-time with the Army WCAP.
I ran my second best time despite heavy military responsibilities and under strenuous circumstances.
No one cares, outside of those who love you and truly support you, if you are working toward a personal goal. It is your goal, not theirs, so what does that mean for you?
You have to care more.
You have to believe more. You have to trust more in your God-given ability and last, but not least, you have to have the initiative that you will commit to what you want to accomplish regardless of the circumstances.
I made a conscious decision that despite my situation, the environment I was in was not going to dictate or diminish my want or drive for striving for the hard goal of preparing to run a 2.19.00.
Regardless if I missed or achieved the goal I could live with myself that I didn’t take the easy road and not prepare on account of a military duty.
I got up at 2am and completed the 19-mile run before my shift started. True story. It still, to this day, is the hardest thing I have had to do in preparing for a marathon.
It was pitch black dark out. I could barely see the road ahead of me and I am out there putting in the miles while my military teammates were sleeping and to boot, I still had a 5am tent duty shift when I completed the run.
There are no showers when you are in the field so getting a shower afterward was only in my mind. My alternative? Baby wipes.
The point in me saying all this is not to boast but to get you into the focused frame of mind. There are going to be times where you have no choice but to get a workout in despite the hours you have to give to your job.
Working professionals understand this very well.
You make the time and if you want it bad enough, have the initiative to see it through, you will never look back regretting that you didn’t let up in the face of a little adversity.
What is the greatest long distance running tips for working professionals?
Find pleasure in activities that others would consider painful.
There is a lot of truth to that. Running, especially a harder intensities, is painful but long term success comes when you can still find pleasure in the midst of that hard long run or track workout.
It doesn’t happen overnight but it does happen when one gains fitness, loses weight and begins to see that it isn’t to be feared.
I leave you with a quote from the legendary basketball coach, Bobby Knight, who said,
The key is not the will to win…everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.
The will to prepare will ask much of you. It will demand every ounce of your mental and physical abilities. Working professionals can still attain and surpass their fitness and running goals despite the demands of our career.
I believe in you and understand what you are dealing with. Visualize yourself meeting your goal at all times. You are the only one that can bring it to fruition.