To be a successful distance runner, you've got to find balance in your life. Figuring out how to juggle all the balls in your world - family, running, school, work, social, personal, etc etc - is a balancing act fit for a circus performer! No easy feat, but essential to find success on the track.
One runner who I look up to who's figured out the balance piece of the equation is elite 5k runner Lauren Fleshman. In addition to being one of America's best distance runners, she's started not one but two businesses -- Picky Bars, a gluten- and dairy-free energy bar company, and Believe I Am, a company that sells motivational training journals for runners. In addition to being a businesswoman, she's also a wife, balancing running, work, and marriage.
Lauren will be running her debut marathon at the NYC Marathon this weekend. In a recent interview, she talks about her success on the track and what she feels contributed to her great finish at the most recent World Championships:
|Lauren rocking the cover of RW!|
"I think it's from feeling like a whole person, multidimensional. I get positive feedback from more things in my life than just how fast my body can move around a track. I might not ever win a gold medal doing that. Maybe it's not possible. I don't know. But I don't care. I'm going to do this sport basically the way it makes me happiest. This is the way it makes me happiest. I'm willing to take any consequence in my performance in order to keep this lifestyle, because you only get one life."
(read the rest of the article here.)
I love it, Lauren - thanks for the words of wisdom! Not all coaches support a lifestyle like hers, where she's simultaneously running professionally, running businesses, and maintaining a marriage. But it makes her happy and she makes it work - as an emerging elite runner with a lot on my plate, I'm inspired by her life choices.
With the many things I fill my life with, I've faced similar critiques from coaches who don't approve of the over-achiever lifestyle... but like Lauren said, you're a better runner when you're a happier person. Although I'm busy, I've worked hard to find a balance between the things that are important to me: family time, relationship time, running, work, coaching. I'll be the first to say that I don't always get it right and that my juggling act is a work in progress, but I wouldn't have it any other way.