Hey. It’s been a while, but your favorite banana has returned. And I need you to know it wasn’t you, it was me. You see, I’ve been hard at work.
Let me start with this: One of the most frequent questions I’m asked about running is how to start. The answer is simple:
TO GO FROM POINT COUCH TO POINT FINISH LINE, YOU MUST MAKE RUNNING A PRIORITY.
And therein lies a universal truth that holds water in every area of your life. You see, your priorities are a big fucking deal. They define your life, because they determine how you spend finite increments of time you’ve got on this planet. If that sounds terrifying, good. That means you’re not making decisions that align with your priorities and you’ve just made the first step to make a change— identifying the problem.
You make thousands of decisions every day, and whether or not you realize it, whether you chose A or B was the result of your priorities. Did you brush your teeth last night? No? Then dental health was not your priority. Falling asleep to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt with the lingering taste of your Manwich sloppy jo in your mouth was your priority.
If you’re not running, it’s because it’s not a priority, simple as that. You’re prioritizing something else. Sometimes, that’s necessary, like if you have a family to take care of, a wife or husband to love, or a demanding career, another hobby or sport.
YOUR PRIORITIES ARE NOT RIGHT OR WRONG. THEY JUST ARE.
So, that said, completely free of judgement of your priorities, it’s whether or not you’re committing to your priorities consistently that will make or break your ability to reach a goal.
My priorities shifted wildly in the last year. After my long-term contract as a copywriter ended at a local advertising agency, I kicked into high gear starting my own business as a freelance writer. Keeping a roof over my head was my top priority.
I continued to log regular miles, but nothing that compared to training season. It sucked. I was simultaneously restless and exhausted, moonlighting to meet insane deadlines for hot projects I couldn’t afford to decline. Most of my emails were stamped at eyebrow-raising hours.
For the first time in a long time, running was on the back-burner. But I knew I would only succeed if I did so intentionally. After all, without a roof over my head and meals on my table, I wouldn’t be able to run anyway.
I'M HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE I SUCCEEDED.
Not only did I not have to train Butters, my cat, to crochet, lip sync, or tap dance to become an overnight YouTube sensation, but I doubled my previous monthly income through hard work. I’m fortunate for the work I was awarded, and the knowledge I’m scrappy enough to do it all over again if I have to. Or want to.
Fast-forward a bit, and I’m back to the 9-to-5 life at an agency called Idea Planet, which, by the way, is my favorite place ever and worth the wait. They even sent me to licensing show, where I met Grumpy Cat and got to preview top secret trailers for my client, 20th Century Fox.
So, one would think, with a consistent schedule and over 4 hours of sleep every night, I can prioritize running again. Wrong.
This time, I’m my own instigator of shifting priorities. My boyfriend Lucas and I decided to move in together. Cue hearts and rainbows. And then began remodeling his house. Cue saw dust. My priorities have become grout work, carpentry, and minimizing my inhalation of paint fumes. Or people's perception of my inhalation of paint fumes.
Running might not be my top priority even still today. Nevertheless, I’m stronger than before, and see my next marathon on the horizon.
I'VE LEARNED FIVE MAIN LESSONS AS A FREELANCER THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO TRAINING:
1. It’s ok to shift priorities.
2. Trust that you can take care of yourself.
3. Bad days and bad runs are never permanent.
4. Sleep and nutrition are just as important to being mentally sharp as physically sharp. If you have to sacrifice something, don’t make it sleep or your diet.
5. Select a partner on the track and in life that wholeheartedly believes in you.
PRIORITIES ARE AN EXCEPTIONAL FILTER.
Put the magic 8 ball away, I have your answer to everything. Decide what’s important to you, in which order. Use this progression to determine the outcome of any debate. And lastly, respect that others have different priorities than you. It’s cool to not make running, or contouring, or starting a jam band a priority. Your priorities are what you make them.
Whatever you want to do, commit to it. Want to be a runner? Lace up your sneakers. Go. You'll figure it out. I believe in you.