How to Stick With Running, Even When You’re ‘Too Busy’
By Courtney Littlejohn
“It’s not a matter of time, as much as it is a matter of priority.”
In 2016, I think I may have slept in my own bed for a total of less than six months’ worth of nights. I traveled so much for my job, covering the 2016 Presidential Candidates, that I’d often wake up not knowing which city I was in; and it was also in 2016 that I ran the most miles in a year to date, in spite of time zone changes, varying shifts, long hours and an irregular diet. Despite all that stood between me and an “ideal” running opportunity, I still got in my miles. So how’d I do it? There were many reasons, but I’ve found that it was often the more practical reasons that made it the easiest for me to hit the pavement, even while having such a busy schedule.
I really enjoyed running! (Yeah, it’s that simple.) Focusing on running was a stress reliever for me and became a way for me to recharge on my own after constantly being around thousands of people at work.
I used running to help me figure out what I wanted to eat for dinner and to help adjust my sleep schedule. Many times, I’d stake out places on my runs that looked good to try for dinner. I often found myself in Small Town, USA where ‘Yelp!’ wasn’t really an option. So, if I ran by a place and it was lively, then I figured the food had to be somewhat good (or so I hoped, lol).
Running also helped me to adjust to constant time zone changes. When I was physically on the West Coast, but mentally still in the East, I’d run in the morning instead of lying in bed looking at the ceiling. It helped me to not feel so sluggish when it was finally time for me to get up, plus I got to enjoy all that ‘release of endorphins’ stuff.
Despite how much traveling I was doing, I still had medals to grab and goals I wanted to accomplish. When I wasn’t working, I was running, and when I wasn’t running, I was working. I wanted to get faster and run some races, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I had taken off weeks at a time because of travel. So, focusing on those goals helped me ensure the grind didn’t stop and neither did the miles.
Since I was traveling so much and getting the opportunity to see so much of the country, I decided I needed some way to capture the experience. So, I decided that I would try to run in every state that I visited. To date, I’ve run in 20 states and two foreign countries. My goal is to try to check off as many states and countries as possible.
In the end, you have to find a way to do the things you need to do no matter your schedule or location. Your reason doesn’t always have to be super deep or purposed. Practical reasons like these work just as well. Just remember, your goals won’t happen without you.