Training Priorities

Training Priorities February 23 2016, 0 Comments

Guest writer, Orange Mud Ambassador, John Stasulli

“The support of my family is what allows me to achieve my goals” – John Stasulli

Many times both on and off the trail I have heard others say “I can’t do a long distance race because I work…have a family…don’t have time…etc.” In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons I hear from people regarding why they don’t train for longer distances.   

People have often asked me “You are married and have a career; how do you find the time to train”? I’ve even had people at times question whether I did have a family or career. Whether you are training for a 5k or a 100mi race, there is a certain degree of life-balance that goes along with that training.

I have identified what I believe to be the steps necessary to achieve a comfortable balance between life and training. This of course will change slightly from person-to-person, but at its core, this will get you there!

1. Identify and prioritize your goals

Many people have an idea of what their goals are. Finish a 5k without walking, qualify for the Boston Marathon, or even get a sub-24 finish at a 100mi race. What you don’t hear reference to is how they prioritize that goal within their life. For me, my life is structured around Family, Career, and Running; in that order. While this is the order of my priorities, I also work to align those priorities around my training.

2. Determine sacrifices to support your goals and priorities.

Regardless of your goal and what you are training for, sacrifices will need to be made. This step is all about the unification between your goals and priorities. Having priorities doesn’t mean you have to give up on a goal, it simple means you need to determine what sacrifices you need to make to satisfy life’s priorities and your goals.  

My personal balance comes down to time. The majority of my running is done early in the morning while my family is still asleep. Waking up at 4:00am everyday to complete my runs while my family is still sleeping is not uncommon; In fact, it is the norm. This allows me to devote time to my family and career with the least impact to others as possible.

4am on Dana Peak Trail

3. Inclusion (optional) 

Inclusion won’t apply to everyone, but for my family and I, it has made a huge difference in my training and race participation. The support of my family is what has allowed me to achieve my goals. Let’s face it; attending trail races, even semi-local ones, often times turns into a weekend affair. Telling your family “Hey…What do you think about me going to another race” doesn’t always sit well. Remember your priorities? My family and I worked out an awesome compromise that benefits us all! For the longest time we camped when I went to races. Well my wife is NOT a camper. This past November she accompanied me (in a tent) at a 24hr race, Jackalope Jam 24hr. On the way home from that race she says to me “Why don’t we look at a small camper? I could go to races with you that way”. I guess I don’t need to tell you how we attend races now! Now while my wife still doesn’t like me running the long races (she is my wife and concerned about my well-being), at least now we are doing it together! This year we have taken our new camper out to 3 different races already, visited 3 different state parks, and having an absolutely great time together! Having your family behind you makes your training and races even better!

My wife joining me at Bandera 100k

The important thing to remember is that you can still achieve your goals even when you have a family and career. You just need to be able to identify your priorities and determine what sacrifices you need to make to support your priorities.

These very steps were key for me last year. In 2015 I had 2 rather lofty running goals.

  1. Run 2,015 mi in 2015
  2. 365 day running streak.
While for many of you these may not be very challenging, it was actually a very big step for me in terms of running especially when you consider that in 2014 I only ran 1,288 miles. As far as the running streak goes, I am happy to announce that as of today, I am on day 416 of my running streak and family still comes first!