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After reinvigorating my focus on the 2012 in 2012 challenge, I’ve been paying careful attention to the habits and routines that enable me to tick off 9+ miles per day, a necessary evil if I plan on marking this year a success.  My experience thus far has been that the most significant roadblock is not the physical demands (after all, I could theoretically walk or ride a bike slowly all day and rack up miles) or dealing with the weather, but simply finding the time each day to spend on  fitness.

I was discussing this point with my father-in-law while taking some time to run on the Tecumseh trail in Southern Indiana.  He shared an observation/advice from a friend that I felt was particularly fitting, since I recently signed up for the PHUNT 50k in January and will be staring down long runs each and every weekend.

It boils down to this:  Training for a specific event or maintaining a strong level of fitness requires a bit of selfishness.  There will always be other people, relationships, and tasks that are deserving of your time, and it’s easy to feel like you can’t make the time to disappear for a few hours to run, bike, or swim.  If you are a feeling a bit guilty about choosing the 18-mile run on your training plan over brunch with your spouse or friends, remember that the energy and focus you bring back to the table will be valuable to these relationships in the long-term.

It’s the affirmation of something we should all inherently understand: If you are not taking care of yourself, it is very difficult to maintain focus and take care of others.  It’s tough to shake off the warmth of bed before dawn, or even worse, show up late to happy hour to squeeze in some exercise.  However, the long term health benefits, self confidence, and ability to complete that race goal in three months require those sacrifices.  So suck it up, buttercup – there’s miles to run (or bike, or paddle, or swim)!