I speak to literally hundreds of runners every year and inevitably this topic comes up. And, in particular, the topic of guilt is raised. Let’s face it, long-distance training and racing is an inherently selfish endeavor that can eat up days, weeks, and months of time that could be spent doing something else. Whether we are the mother attempting to care for young children, the son caring for an aging parent, or the successful professional caring for a business, inevitably questions of guilt arise and they can be painful at times and, in the worst cases, destructive.
For me, I battle this feeling of guilt often. Fortunately, I am blessed with an understanding and forgiving family, a more or less manageable job, and limited responsibilities beyond family, work, and running. As such, most of the time the guilt can be assuaged. But not always.
In the end, in addition to the inevitable balancing act, it also comes down to compromise and communication. And, long-distance runners aren’t always good at these things! But, we need to be.
So, as you roll into the new year of training and racing, accept the feelings of guilt that are inevitable. Claim them and name them and then seek the clearest path through that allows you to find that balance. In the long run it will be worth it for you and for everyone else in your life.
AJW’s Beer of the Week
Call for Comments (from Meghan)
- Do you feel guilty about your running habit? Of taking time away from work, family, friends, and other important things of your life?
- Since we all experience imbalances in organizing our lives, have you ever let your running overtake other aspects of your life? If so, how did you reestablish the necessary alignment of priorities?