So far I've been fortunate. The holiday season usually finds Suzanne and/or me nursing a bug of some kind by the week after Christmas...and by the first week of the new year at the latest. The difference, I think, is we followed a different schedule; spent time with people we normally do not see, did less than we felt we had to.
I used my mildly sociophobic tendencies as a lame excuse to try and keep myself healthy this season. My wife considers my sociophobia a load of bologna; I'm not so much sociophobic as I am socially-inept. The one edge of the proverbial two-edged sword was I did less social functions, saving me from needless exposure to stress and illness. The other edge was Suzanne was occasionally a little less-than pleased.
However, it's easier to make her happy when I decide to "hide." It's not always cheaper than the drugs, but it's easier on me than spending a miserable week on the couch in my warm-ups watching ESPN.
So, when Eric and I talked running during a Christmas social I had to remind him of the old Southern dictum: "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."
Why would I bring up something so simple, especially when talking about running?
Most folks, knowingly or unknowingly, make some sort of commitment for the new year. Some call them resolutions. Others call them goals. Eric's goal is to complete a marathon in the future. He runs a few miles here and there, and we hit the trails once or twice a month with the local hash, so he's not a couch potato.
I first applauded Eric's ambition and his moxie, then began asking (like any good coach) a few gentle questions. "So, how many hours do you have free to train?" Eric deals with a full-time job, occasional travel demands, and Ashley. Ashley is Eric's wife. She works and is a college student. When he told me the (small) number of hours he had available I recommended he set a few interim goals, based on a shorter distance event or two, considering the time at his disposal.
How many persons train for endurance events at the risk of strained marriages, missed family functions, irritated and infuriated employers, and frayed friendships? Does a marathon finisher medal or tattoo mend broken fences and burned bridges? Not hardly.
Some coaches use the term "spousal approval unit," which is a lot like the "emotional bank account" Stephen Covey writes about in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. If all the time we have available to train without adversely affecting those relationships which make the rest of our life rewarding is small, there's nothing in the world that can increase that period of time.
There are some efficiencies which can help us to recoup time:
We can sleep less. At least to a certain point; there's that fine thin line where we hinder our body's ability to recover from workout efforts.
We can cut back on time-wasting activities, either at work or at home.
We can maximize the time we have available to train by cutting back on "junk miles" and focus on quality efforts.
It's less expensive, physically, financially and emotionally, to "keep Mama (or Papa!) happy" than it is to press forward with an unrealistic training plan or goal event. What do you do to keep your family members happy when you're training for an event?