Tips for the Trail – Balancing the Sum of the Whole – Xterra – 2-22-2013

By Rachel Cieslewicz

published in Xterra February 22, 2013

It can be easy to get overwhelmed and fall short of our goals, especially when time seems to fly by faster and faster each year.  My love of filling in each moment can sometimes turn into too much.  I forget sometimes that I am completely human, not a machine.  I’m learning it is possible to run and race well, while meeting all other aspects of life with success.  In order to live life as I prefer, I must have a plan.  This way, I really can do it all.

Rachel CHere is a solution to ensure we have the tools to thrive in life and enjoy the “Live More” lifestyle: create a master plan that incorporates both your training and life goals.

The training portion of the plan is important for optimal racing. This assists each person to live and train day by day, all while keeping a healthy perspective of the bigger picture. For most of us, though, there is much more to think about than training, racing and recovering. The reality is that family, work, and other life factors need to coexist and intertwine with our outdoor pursuits.   It is possible to live a full happy life amidst all of these obligations and still get outside to run and enjoy nature with health.  This is why it is also important to creatively integrate your yearly life goals with your training plan.

This can be quite simple.  On your master training plan for trail running, include your other life initiatives. Just as you have your A and B races, training camps, daily training, etc., think of the other things such as family, nutrition goals and work obligations that are also imperative parts of life. If you already set goals at the beginning of the New Year, it may make sense to input those.  Then write smaller goals, which lead to achieving your bigger goals. This is like choosing C or D races, or specific training blocks to help you be strong and fit for an A race.  And yes, include your running goals as well!

By coordinating and making space for trail running and all other life ambitions into the same program, it becomes a way you can see how life and sport can synchronize effortlessly.  I like to put all of my training and other life goals into a calendar so I can see how it will play out in a time line rather than just on a list.  This way, I can easily modify and adjust as unexpected things come up.

Each week, as you plan your day-to-day training schedule, input into each day your endeavors leading towards reaching your other goals as well. This is a great way to keep from becoming overwhelmed with running and balancing the rest of life.  You know you are working towards all of the important aspects of your life while also taking care of your training needs. The big goals are taken apart into manageable steps that you take each day.  Before you know it, each small step has led you on a huge fascinating journey creating the sum of the whole.  What may have seemed overwhelming, if not impossible, comes over time, with balanced ease.  Time slows down, at least in your mind, as you learn there is space for all of your aspirations.

For me, I must balance being a mom, training, and coaching others in their endeavors to achieve their health and fitness goals.  Infused as well are about a dozen other passionate pieces I absolutely insist on keeping in my life, such as writing, intuitive cooking, and teaching yoga. By integrating into one space what I must complete on a daily and weekly basis, while keeping the bigger picture in perspective, everything starts to flow. This way I know I have time for everything.  It allows me to let go of all else when I am out in nature, so I can focus on enjoying my run.  A little planning goes a very long way. I am able to navigate through each day with flow and equanimity to accomplish all of the things I love.

Rachel Cieslewicz is an elite runner and triathlete based in St. George, Utah. She is a past winner of several XTERRA Trail Run events, and placed ninth overall in the women’s field at the 2012 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. She is a talented sports massage therapist, Pilates and yoga instructor and is a certified running form coach. She can be reached atrcanyon1@gmail.com  or visit her website atwww.newageathlete.comor follow her onwww.twitter.com/newageathlete.