I wondered what the first post should be for this blog, and this Easter I got some inspiration. Let me tell you about my grandma.
My grandma receives 200 pieces of mail each week, 90% of which is asking for money. She's particularly bad at dealing with this, because she sends people money (who then sell her name to everyone else under the sun) and because she feels the need to give each letter its due. To say the mail piles up would be an understatement.
Why do I bring this up? Because she's got no handle on it and it takes up a huge amount of her time and energy. Our time and our energy are our two most precious commodities. We waste them at our own peril. And it's particularly difficult to deal with the realization that something we don't like is slowly stealing our time and energy. My grandma isn't happy about her mail, but she also hasn't dealt with it.
Until now. (I hope.) I created a plan for her to use to gain control of the situation, and though it's surely a work in progress, it's at least a start. And this is what I want to really stress here. You don't need a perfect plan. You just need to start.
This is a blog about running and training. Well, training takes A LOT of time and energy. And it has to happen within the context of all your other responsibilities, be they work, school, family, charity-work, blog-writing, or dealing with junk mail. Every athlete (see also: you) needs to make a decision about how much time and energy they have to devote to their training. Then you need to start eliminating anything that interferes with the optimal use of your time and energy. And you need to start doing what you really want to do.
I made a decision to run the Rock 'n Roll marathon last year. I also made the decision that school was more important to me. So I chose to devote one hour in the morning to running, and 15 minutes before bed to push-ups and sit-ups. That's it, aside from some stretching as I went about my day. By making this decision, I was then able to decide how best to maximize my energy within the time I alotted for myself. I stuck to the plan for five months (giving myself two hours some Sundays for long runs) and the end result was a 2:39. Is that as fast as I'm capable of running? No. Am I happy with it? Heck yes. Because I got a lot out of those hours I spent running.
Everything you do is the result of a choice, whether it is made explicitly or not. Think about how you want to spend your time and energy, and then develop a system within which you can make the right choices. This isn't easy, but it is necessary.
(And if you have the opportunity, it feels good to help a loved one do the same. We'll lick this junk mail problem yet, grandma!)