Is your running on the back burner this holiday season because it’s “Crunch Time?” Beginning at Thanksgiving, it can often seem like our obligations fill up our calendar before we know what happened!

During “Crunch Times” we need to take even better care of ourselves so we can bring our best to all situations that come up.

A few weeks ago I noticed that I “cancelled” a number of my runs because other things came up that were important, brought joy to my life, or just took over my calendar. I was left feeling kind of crappy because I was not keeping true to my priorities and needed to evaluate why I was feeling this way.

Lessons we all can glean from this pattern:

  • Only you have control of your calendar
  • You determine what your priorities are
  • Your thoughts interfere with follow through
  • The impact of missing runs is not always positive

In order to stay on track throughout the year, even during “Crunch Times,” we’ve to take a look at these four lessons.

1. Only You Have Control Over Your Calendar.

Time is a precious commodity and everyone has the same number of minutes each day. It is my hope that you choose things you think are meaningful, bring you joy, and improve your health. These three criteria are critical for staying in integrity when it comes to your running.

When we block our calendar and say yes to things that do not meet those three criteria; meaningful, joyful and improve health; we set ourselves up for wasting time. I found myself wasting time on miscellaneous projects that did not meet my personal goals and ended up frustrated.

Here are a few tips for staying on track with your running:

  • Plan your runs as non-negotiable appointments. You might be able to tweak the workout to gain a few minutes here and there, but stick to your plan of running.
  • Truly assess the value of each item you schedule on your calendar and note if it interferes or compliments your goals. If it interferes, make a choice that is in the best interest of your health.
  • Set timers for your running dates! I set timers to wake up, to go to bed, for all sorts of tasks including my runs. It’s totally helpful during “Crunch Time,” when we feel too busy all of the time.
  • “No” is a complete sentence. You can say no and politely decline invitations to things that interfere with your health goals.

2. You Determine Your Priorities

If you’re reading this, I know that running is a priority for you and you might be struggling with it. Your priorities should be in alignment with your core values (ex. being fit and healthy is a core or value for some). When you are not in alignment with your core values you will feel edgy, frustrated or snippy. This is how I feel when running is not a priority as reflected on my calendar and with my actions.

Here are a few tips for keeping running on your list of priorities:

  • It is not selfish to claim “Me Time” to stay healthy and fit. When you take care of yourself first, you have more to give to others.
  • Track the days that you intend to run and follow through AND the days you intend to and do not follow through. Data is key. Once you see the pattern, you can then change it.
  • Create mantras around your core values and refer to them when you’re making a decision to commit to an event that would interfere with your run. Ex. “Running is a mind-body experience that grows me as a person.”
  • Run for the Health of It. Run for your physical and mental health. Stay connected to the benefits of running that relate to your core values.

3. Your Thoughts Are What Interfere with Your Follow Through.

Most folks think it’s our feeling that dictate our actions, but our thoughts impact our feelings, which then dictate our actions. One of my coaches, Brooke Castillo, is brilliant in regards to cleaning up the human thought process and mind management. Check out her podcast, she totally rocks!!!!

     Let me show you:

Circumstance: I’m asked to attend a holiday party

Thought: Missing one day of running won’t hurt anything

Feeling: Like I’m getting away with something/cheating

Action: I don’t run, engage in an action that doesn’t improve my health

Result: I believe that missing a run doesn’t have an impact on my life, which can be repeatable



Circumstance: I’m asked to attend a holiday party

Thought: I can do both, run and let my colleagues know I care about them

Feeling: Relieved that I can take care of me and show my peeps I care about them

Action: Stick to my running plan and get to the gathering a little late OR bring them each a token of my sentiments to work the following day.

Result: I have kept my goal for improved health and shown my peeps that I care about them deeply.

You’ll note that both begin with the same circumstance and they have totally different outcomes. The thought is what led to the difference. Being mindful of what thought drives the feeling and action is especially important during Crunch Time. Are you negotiating away your time away within your thoughts? Play around with this and let me know how it goes!

4. The Impact of Missing a Run is Not Always Positive.

With the circumstance above, being invited to a party at work, we can explore the implications of saying yes.

Saying yes to one party doesn’t necessarily get us off track too much, but what happens when you inevitably get the second and third invitations? Then your thought is, “I said yes to Sue, so I have to say yes to Bob…” And we get into this thought process that keeps us off track.

My goal is not for you to never have fun or see your friends, but to learn when you are experiencing more stress than necessary.

Things to ask yourself during a “Crunch Time”:

  • Am I feeling edgy or frustrated?
  • Am I feeling confident in my decisions?
  • Am I in alignment with my core values?
  • Am I people pleasing?
  • Is my health improving each day?

When we put our running aside it doesn’t just mean that we missed a run. It means we didn’t stick to a plan, we didn’t address a core value, we put soneone elses priority ahead of our own, and we didn’t strive for the best health possible. We not only missed our physical exercise, but our therapy appointment (if you’re like me, running is therapy), and an opportunity to get out in the fresh air or blow off some steam. 

In Conclusion.

Asking yourself these questions can help you get back on track, which will bring you right back to #1: Only you have control over your calendar!

Need help navigating this thought process as it relates to running?  

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Hi, I'm Sarah!

I help struggling runners ditch excuses so they can get consistent, feel good and love running again. 

Learn more about me and how I can help you here.

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You can read how Sarah got back into running after an injury and learn the exact framework she uses to help other's do the same.

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