Back to School Blues

Don’t get me wrong – the life of a college professor is a good one. I have lots of flexibility in my schedule, control over what I do and when I do it, and a pretty decent private office. I even get summers off. I love my summers off. In fact, part of the reason I wanted to be a college professor was the summers off (well, and that I love the material, but still…). My dream-like summer bliss ends in August. Suddenly, I am required to be on campus, attend orientations, meetings, and events. I have to visit my office and wear dress up clothes. This morning, I even took a shower without working out first. It seemed like a total waste of water.

I don’t know how the rest of you normal job working people do it. I have so much admiration for people who can find the time to train while working a full time job. For me, the transition from summer to school is a difficult one. My normal running partners are busier so our running times change. My schedule fills up, so I find myself missing runs. I eat different foods at different times and get less rest than usual. I am less dedicated to my training schedule, so I feel tired and slow. All in all, my running usually suffers the first few weeks of the semester.

This year I’m determined to do better. Thanks to the advice of several normal job working friends, I’ve devised a plan. Here’s my plan for back to school transition success:

1. Make running dates. I’m planning ahead with my running, making running dates well in advance and scheduling them into my day’s events.

2. Buy healthy food in advance and bring my own lunch. If I have good food and have it with me at work, I will eat it and will actually eat, even if I’m at my desk when I do it.

3. Sneak in runs when I can. I’m going to experiment with the running lunch, or runch, this semester. There are days where I can get a good hour during the day and I am determined to put it to good use.

4. Sign up for a race. To keep on track, I’ve signed up for several early season races, and I will race them well. If I have a goal, I will keep myself accountable.

5. Accept runs that aren’t quite what I had hoped for. Part of my problem early in the school year is that I want to stick to my training plan, but won’t run if I know I can’t get in a target workout. This year I will accept the runs I can get. After all, 3 easy miles is better than nothing, even if it isn’t the track workout I had planned.

6. Stick to the routine. I’m guilty of scrapping my ancillary training like foam rolling and pre-hab when things get busy. This leads to more aches and pains and less running. I’m going to stay committed to my routine so I can stay healthy this season.

7. Be accountable. I’ve told everyone my plan. I’ve signed up for races with friends. And, now, I’m telling the world about my efforts to transition more successfully. I will be accountable to all of you to transition back to school with grace, ease, and lots of running.

This year, I will run back into the school year. Maybe it will help ease the back to school blues.

For those of you with normal, 40-hour a week jobs – how do you balance training and work? What advice would you give me for fitting it all in?