Disclaimer: Running is not for everyone. This article is not meant to imply otherwise. The principles here go for any hobby or pursuit, so no offense meant to non-runners, and – I hope – none taken. Deal?
As I began a run one night, I waved to two of my neighbors having friendly discussion in one of their front lawns. Five miles and a little less than an hour later, I returned. The neighbors were still there so I walked over to say “Hi.”
“You must really enjoy running,” one of them said. “Yes,” I replied, “It’s great in so many ways.” And then he asked “How do you find the time?”
At this point a pause to reflect is in order. I had just logged five miles while this gentleman stood near the sidewalk and talked, then wondered how I found time to run. Do you catch the irony?
“How do you find the time?” is a question all runners hear on a regular basis. I’ve gotten it from people who follow three or four night-time dramas, from a man who told me he sits on his patio and smokes a cigar every evening, from guys who never miss a televised game of the hometown sports teams, etc.
Runners know that it’s not about finding the time. That’s just as difficult for us as for anyone. It’s about how we use the time we have. I’ve left the party way before I wanted to on many occasions because I had to get up at 4:30am the next day. I’ve been sorely out of the loop re: who’s trending on American Idol and the latest viral video. I’ve taken an extra long lunch break to cross train at the gym and had to catch up on e-mail after dinner. It’s part of the lifestyle.
My running buddies are CEOs, single moms, surgeons, blue collar workers, attorneys, college students, and more. And there we all are several times a week, at the track or the park or the streets. A CPA friend trained for a marathon during tax season. That’s dedication.
Once in awhile even the most hardcore have to skip a workout. When the child is sick, the friend is in need, the work deadlines loom, or the laundry pile gets too high, we might have to adjust. But we get back to it just as soon as possible, realizing that “I don’t have time” is a slippery slope.
Time alone isn’t the issue. Making running, or anything considered important, a priority and sacrificing to accomplish it is. Of course the benefits outweigh whatever we have to give up, so on the grander scale there’s joy rather than just a burden.
Everyone gets the same number of hours each week. I have no quarrel at all with people who use them differently than I use mine. But at least now you know how runners find the time. We find it because it’s there.