I’ve lived in Florida for 30 years, but I’ve only been a runner 9 of those years. In the fall of 2007, I graduated from an occasional jogger to an intentional runner. When the summer of 2008 came around, I encountered for the first time what it means to have to change gears because of the rise in humidity and heat.
A friend (occasional runner) brought this up today-how he’s challenged to run over a mile right now, having trouble breathing, etc. Breaking News: Running in December is not the same as running in July! After that conversation, it crossed my mind how the adjustments runners must make based on seasons is very applicable to seasons of life in general.
- Season of raising a young family
- Season of transition (job changing, moving, retiring, empty nesting)
- Season of busyness (school starting/ending, holidays, kid’s recreational activities)
- Season of recovery (from surgery, from loss, from the other seasons)
With that in mind, here are some questions from a runner’s perspective that might help you get through your season of life.
1. How long might this season be?
This might sound trivial, possibly unnecessary. Think about it though. A woman knows roughly how long her pregnancy will be. We all know how long winter lasts. That knowledge, in some sense, gets us through that period of time. So, to the best of your knowledge, determine how long your season might be. Do some research on empty nesters. Read about how long to expect your family to acclimate to a new city. Step one, know the length of your season.
2. What adjustments do you need on make?
One adjustment I’ve made in the past for the summer is to move indoors, train on the treadmill. Another is to change my weekly routine-how many days I run and how long each run will be. And every year it may look different. Your adjustments might be changing your bedtime or when the alarm goes off. Maybe using social media more or less. Your whole routine of life may need assessing. Not a problem. If you’ll embrace it, you may find some exciting changes that you’ll wish you’d made long ago.
3. What should your pace be?
Summer running pace is much slower. You find that out the easy way or the hard way. Making adjustments can also be easy or hard. So pace yourself. Don’t put too much pressure on finding your new norm too quickly. Be gracious to yourself. It’s a new season.
4. What are your short term goals?
Summer is not racing season. Much like baseball players in the winter or football players in the spring, you should set some short term goals that keep you in shape for the “show.” If survival is all you can manage, then shoot for it. Most likely, you can do more than survive. You might actually consider hiring a life coach to walk you through this season. If you are pretty good at goal setting, then determine what you hope to achieve by the end of this season.
God brought you to this season. You don’t have to dehydrate, heatstroke, or find yourself on the side of the road asking yourself how did you get there. Stop right now and make yourself answer these questions. This season will pass. Get the most out of it. Determine the length, make adjustments, set your pace, and reach for your goals.