Can You Really Balance Family, Work and Running?

For years, I remember seeing women who juggled successful careers, families and running and thought they had the kind of balance I hoped to one day have.

I returned to work full-time this past fall after almost five years of being home with my two children. I’ve learned that (for me) there is no balance.

I don’t know if it can ever be balanced. There will never be enough time in the day. And I believe the phrase “doing it all” is misleading.

I would love to spend every possible moment with my boys and not miss a school pickup or a soccer practice on Wednesdays.

I would love to not feel heartache when I am at work late finishing a project for a deadline. Or feel that I should have stayed longer at work rather than rushing home to see my boys.

I would love to have more time to cross-train, stretch and recover properly from the miles I do run.

And I would really love to sleep more.

But I have found a balance in the imbalance. And here’s what I learned:

I can’t give 100 percent of myself to everything all the time.
But I can still give 100 percent all the time. It’s just that the 100% is now divided.
And I can focus 100 percent on what I’m doing THAT moment, whether it’s work, housework, family or running.
I have to be okay with “good enough” rather than perfection.
Priorities can shift from one month or week or day to the next. The closer I get to the Boston Marathon, the more important my workouts are. I’ll choose a run over folding laundry or vacuuming the house. Offseason? Running isn’t as high a priority as to other aspects of my life.
I have to be kind to myself.
Sleep is always a priority.
Sometimes, it’s best to do what will make me happiest, even if it may be viewed as selfish.


I shared these thoughts on my Instagram several weeks ago and loved the feedback from other women who are experiencing the same struggles of balance.

This post originally appeared on Women’s Running.

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    10 thoughts on “Can You Really Balance Family, Work and Running?

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    3. I love this! I just wrote about that today! I believe that you can give yourself to things completely, but to do so you have to choose to let other things go. I think it’s a matter of prioritizing and asking others for help. Recently I had to stop marathon training (for the first time in ten years) because there are so many other balls in the air that I just can’t keep them all going without eventually letting them all fall.

    4. This is a wonderful mindset. You are such a great example for your boys, and I know they will appreciate it all so much!

    5. You are 100% right! Balance is finding peace in imbalance. I love that I have all the gifts I do in life, my sweet boys, a loving husband, being a stay at home mom, running…there is never a time where everything is getting the same amount of time of me and training and recovery is a day by day thing…but, I wouldn’t have it any other way! You are great for sharing that with us moms who feel the same thoughts/feelings!

    6. Coming from a momma who’s worked full-time her entire life with no reprieve in sight: the balancing act is indeed a myth! I’m exhausted most days. I miss too many of my kiddos events. My marathon training is less than perfect missing the ever-so-important cross-training aspect. And what I wouldn’t give for more sleep!!!! It’s like you said though, there are seasons for everything. The seasons make you stronger. And our kids get to learn first hand what hard work accomplishes. After my big marathon April 30th I’ll chill out over summer to enjoy ‘regular’ running and fitness. And maybe clean house. Maybe…
      Jess @ run pink recently posted..Marathon Monday WK14: Weed RemovalMy Profile

    7. Great post!

      My marathon training is “good enough”. I fit in as much as I can – but maxing out at just over 50KM is about as much time as I can give. I don’t run outside when it is dark, I don’t have a treadmill and I just cannot get up at 4am to workout as I’m rarely done working/cleaning/whatevering until past 10pm. I train to complete, maybe get a bit better – but that is about it. I have to be awake and fully functional to do my job. I’m sure that one day I will have a bit more time to train and maybe get that BQ one day!
      Rebecca recently posted..Ottawa Marathon Training: Week 7My Profile

    8. I’ll be honest- I cannot give 100% to everything all the time or even 100% to one thing ALL THE TIME. Sometimes I am just doing what I can and I know I’m doing a mediocre job at best. That’s the reality of it and over the years I’ve come to accept that. If I went 100% at each thing I did I would be worn ragged. Personally, I need some down time once in a while which gives me the rest I need to give 100% when it is needed. Does this make sense?
      Tia recently posted..A 5k, a 10k and the Ups and Downs of Racing OftenMy Profile

    9. I’ve been saying “good enough” a whole lot lately in all aspects of my life. Perfection isn’t necessary. Here’s an example: I started spackling some holes in my walls last week (that I made trying to get a couch down the stairs by myself in December!) and then my dog needed surgery/stitches so while he was having the surgery I quickly sanded and painted so the job would be “complete” even though I probably should have done a second round of spackle and sanding before painting. I pronounced out loud “good enough” and picked up the pup and then focused on his recovery.
      Life is a balancing act. And you are right. Just give 100 percent to the moment you are in.