"Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music." - "The Prophet," Khalil Gibran (1883-1931)
I've talked a little about how much I presently enjoy my marathon training regimen. I like marathon training...to the approximate level as I enjoy being flayed alive with a rusty straight razor. Thanks to John L. Parker, Jr. for writing that particular analogy. There are benefits & drawbacks to marathon training compared to long-distance triathlon & shorter-distance road racing, two recent pursuits of mine which have temporarily taken a back seat. The drawbacks, quite simply, are that the focus is (almost) strictly on running. Cross-training is a way to let the muscles & joints recover from long miles, little more.
The benefits for me & my house, on the other hand, are multiple. The first time I ever thought about training (or life relationships, for that matter) as a form of economics was long before I even considered studying the social sciences. My first aerobics instructor, Dr. Pat Quigley, used to tell me: 'Michael, life is a budget.' However, I never understood the depth of the meaning until Dr. Lee Hoke (economics professor at The University of Tampa) hit us with Stephen Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." He didn't go deep into Covey, save for talking about two concepts: Develop a personal mission statement. Consider the emotional bank account.
Covey's emotional bank account is much like a "real" bank account, but you make deposits or withdrawals from family relationships. Meaningful deposits take a conscious effort. Excessive withdrawals can lead to economic & emotional consequences, especially if the apology is not conjoined with a meaningful correction. I have run into three or four relationship situations since I started coaching where the account balance was deep in the red.
It hasn't been me, but it's been close. Even a coach can use a coach.
I've been working with a couple over the past year or few. One, Pat McCrann, from Endurance Nation/Marathon Nation, is a strong advocate of earning what he calls the Spousal Approval Unit. What kills me about the SAU is its indirect relationship to Covey's "Seven Habits."
A baseline training week - the minimum - can be as brief as ten hours. If you think about it that's a little less than 90 minutes a day. Most bosses & family members can hang with that amount of time...in many cases the training needs can be adapted, slid "to the left" or "to the right" on the calendar. During this time of the year, with social functions, parties & holidays, sudden jumps in inclement weather, & so on, a morning on the couch with a cup of coffee & a loved one is an under-appreciated guilty pleasure AND possibly a deposit to the emotional account. Besides, under-training can be more effective than over-training. Especially when ones' spouse/kids/boss are happy.
Two-runner households have special challenges, especially if the pitter-patter of little running shoes also echo through the halls. Some of my friends cycle in & out of "serious" training cycles whose duration depends on the health & success of the partner. In the case of one couple, it's definitely a family affair; even their mother helps out with some of the "mini-thoner" coverage...at least until the little one is old enough to race on her own.
The secret to success in running, in my humble opinion, is that running is a family affair. If you can't remember that truth, remember this:
"If mama ain't happy, there ain't nobody happy."