I recently came across an excellent article on runner's guilt that felt particularly apropos. For many of the past months, I grappled with the guilt of not training at a higher level. A torn labrum in my hip kept training minimal, at best. Since January, I've worked to build up my running -- smartly. It's not to the level I'd like, but I've done a great job of keeping my hip happy, so I can't be too hard on myself, right?
And now, for the past two weeks I've hardly run at all. Every day that goes down as a big fat ZERO eats away at me. But I've also found myself dealing with the guilt of running, too. As I write this, I'm staring off at a sleeping ten day old baby boy! He's the reason I haven't had a long run in over 2 weeks, why 10-12 hour training weeks turned into 2-3, why a simple hour-long run seems like a needless luxury at my family's expense right now, and why I won't be completing a local race series this year.
I thought when my new kiddo came I'd have this wealth of time to run. DON'T LAUGH! I'm not talking 5 hour long runs or anything, but at the very least an hour or two on the treadmill every day I was on leave from work ... if the kiddo was cooperative (and for the most part, he has been). But that hasn't happened. My mother-in-law was in town to help out for the past two weeks, and a series of unfortunate events has led my family to undertake a major bathroom renovation only days after bringing home a newborn. I don't want to skip out and leave the house for a run, but I also don't have much access to the treadmill because of our temporary living situation.
So ... I find myself trying to work past the all-too-familiar guilt of not running ... and now the guilt of trying to sneak in a short run every now and again. I'm trying to take it all in stride, to balance my priorities.
In the end I think I'm better for it, as a runner and a person.
Who cares if an 80 mile week turned into 20? There's a good reason for it!
And it's no big deal if I find a small stretch of time to grind out an hour on the treadmill a few times a week, so long as I'm still being an attentive husband and father!
You don't have to be working through an injury or taking care of an infant to learn and practice this lesson. Beating yourself up over a missed or failed workout won't do you any good. You're not going to instantly loose fitness. There's also no point in feeling guilty about using running for a bit of well deserved you time.
Life always finds a way of interfering with your picture perfect training blocks. Taking it all in stride is how you maneuver through the little hiccups and the associated guilt, and make it to the other side without getting burnt out physically or mentally.