My family aren't a scheduling task!
People often say to me, ‘Don’t you find running boring?’. Hmm, no, I don’t, as it happens. I have plenty to think about to keep me interested as I tootle along - my pace, running goals, getting my legs to shut-up, mulling over what’s going on at home, work, sometimes being grumpy and returning home a nicer person!
‘It’s me that I challenge’
Running can be hard, part of me thinks it should be - no pain, no gain?! Getting out on a cold, rainy day or sticking with with a full-on knackering session takes character. But one of the reasons I love running is that it gives me positive feedback. I train, I plan, I race and, over time, I improve - that’s how it works for me. I don’t compare myself to or with anyone else. It’s only me that I challenge. I see running as a journey with lots of stop-offs en route (Zen and the art of running maintenance, anyone?!*).
‘My family aren’t a scheduling task!’
I’m a father of five with all that goes along with that (taxi driver, quality time?!) and will be a grandad in June for the first time, yikes! But I don’t just want to fit it all in, my family aren’t a scheduling task! I try to be a good dad. For me, that means time spent together where the focus is not on anything else, not thinking about other things or staring at your phone. I try to be a good husband, a good worker, and a good runner and cyclist. I run with my local Good Gym when I can. I’m vegan and I love my football and music. I guess I never stop! It’s perfectly possible to be average at all of these things or, alternatively, put so much pressure on yourself to achieve that you enjoy none of them. We can't be a super hero but I hope I can be a positive role model for my kids and those around me, as a person and as a man. In this world of toxic masculinity, it's more important than ever for adult men to be positive. But finding the work (running) life balance that’s right for each of us isn’t easy. In fact, it can feel downright impossible sometimes. It's certainly tiring!
‘I like my overseas marathons’
As a rule, family comes first for me (but you should ask them, they might not agree!), work second (it pays the bills), running third. I cycle commute and do the occasional longer ride. I've done UK marathons and ultras but like my overseas marathons for the challenge and change of scene, and I’ve run Berlin, Copenhagen, New York City, Paris and Valencia (I may have forgotten some!). Amsterdam is next, this autumn, whoop!‘Live in the now!’
My advice is to try and be flexible, keep an eye on the bigger picture, don’t get uptight about changing your plans, and don't give yourself too hard a time, too much of the time. A bit of life experience and maturity helps (take it from an auld geezer!). And live in the now (back to that Zen thing!), make the most of what you’re doing now because kids grow up too quickly and times passes in front of your eyes. Go on, then, get to it!
* See Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig