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The Down and Dirty Guide to Having the Runs

How do I make time to run so much? Valid question, and quite frankly, I don’t blame you for asking and in fact I have no doubt there’s been some dinnertime talk about how I fit it all in and honestly, the rumors are more scandalous than reality. Unfortunately. How dull.

Let me break it down:


Be open to the idea of splitting your runs up; each mile counts, yo. Force your hungover ass to run 2 miles on the treadmill before you let yourself have a cup of coffee. Before the kids wake up. Before you can really think about it. Have your coffee, get the kids fed and off to school and then get 2 more miles in with the stroller before you hit the grocery store and post office with the baby. Boom. Four miles right there before you even know it.

Accept imperfection in other less important areas of your life. Be realistic, and let it really sink in that you can’t do it all. If you really want to be a runner, then you’ll run, not garden. If you really want to be a gardener then you’ll garden, not run. Sure, I’ll pull weeds so that things look neat and tidy but it’s not my passion so it’s not going to resemble anything fancy. If you’re not okay with this, then maybe re-think your passions and interests.


Make running a priority. An obsession. Be weird about it. Eat for it, dress for it, fixate on it like a terrier on a tennis ball and don’t stop until you get it done.

But don’t forget to take care of your people. Make them your priority. We are created for relationships with other people. As much as we might be introverts, we can’t deny our innate desire for human connection. If you have partners, or children, family, close friends, whatever, show them that they’re important to you. Imagine if Andrew and the kids came home from work/school to a messy house, no dinner, no food for lunches, no bills paid so no cable, no hot water, and then they found out that at least I got my 12 mile run in?!?! From the second I wake up, I’m going full-tilt. I make sure Callum gets fresh air each day, or at least the chance to run around and work up a sweat. I go through my to-do list like a machine gun, picking off each item as if it’s a game, until I get the lunches made, dinner prepped, bathrooms cleaned, laundry done, couches wiped down, carpets vacuumed, all so that I can get my run in while showing my people how much I love them too.


Identify yourself as a runner and don’t waver. If we see ourselves as runners then we will act as runners. If we fight it, if we fight the uniform, the ponytails, the giant water bottles hanging out of our purses, then we’ll find it much easier to push a run aside for a trip to the mall. I don’t mind wearing leggings or Nike shorts and running shoes all the time because I am a runner. It’s who I am and it’s what I wear. Sure, I do a lot of laundry but my junkitalia thanks me for the constant costume changes. When Andrew and I have date night or when we go out for one of the kid’s birthdays, I’ll put on something nice, punctuating the sacredness of the occasion; if I wore that stuff all the time then it wouldn’t be special. I totally agree with the notion of “dressing for success.” If you want to run well, then dress like you’re going to run well. If you’re going on a date with your partner, dress in a way that shows them how much more you care about them than running. If I looked exactly the same from morning to night then the shift in priorities between running and mom to wife and lover would be a bit grey.

My kids only know me as a runner. People stop me in the grocery store and at the coffee shop to ask me if I’m that runner girl. Having the reputation as a runner keeps me as a runner. My kids grow up with their mama having treadmill time while they nap or have quiet time. They are used to being pushed in the stroller, so they’re comfortable with the wind and sun in their faces. They watch me run but they also watch me work hard. When they’re little, I don’t clean the house when they nap; I do that when they’re awake! When they nap, I have me time, and that’s running time. Even showering is something I do while they fuss a bit in their bouncy seats.


Get comfortable with the lingo. Be okay with the occasional public bathroom break. Open yourself up to the fact that your body parts will be exposed, and they’re gonna bounce. We ain’t wearing full hockey equipment out there; summer calls for sports bras and bootayyy, and chances are we’re wearing lycra right through the frigid temps of winter.

How do you fit your priorities into your life? If it’s a passion, then is it hard work to make the time, or does it come easy?

Am I missing anything important?

Be the devil’s advocate! Let me know where you think there’s a gap.





{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Lisa @ Mile by Mile May 25, 2017, 1:52 am

    I agree, its all about making it a priority! Once I got into the habit of making running the first thing I would do each day, it was much easier for it to stick even when I was busy. I’m not really flexible about it because I never run after 9am. I think I ran in the afternoon once in the past 5 years and I felt awful. So I know if I’m going to run it has to be in the morning. I could probably get a little more used to running later in the day if I had to, its just not at all my preference.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 25, 2017, 6:38 am

      But see, being loose (flexible) about certain things and anal (dedicated) about other things is how we keep up the habit. You’re anal about the time of day you run and in being so, you guarantee yourself that run in the morning!

  • Susie @ Suzlyfe May 25, 2017, 4:14 am

    Life is about setting priorities. Last month, it became a priority for me to run. I knew it was what I needed to do to get through that time. Now I don’t run, but I get my walking in. And ice cream.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 25, 2017, 6:37 am

      Ya I mean, it doesn’t have to be running, but just some sort of priority or desire for new habits. Ice cream definitely fits the bill.

  • Amy Lauren May 25, 2017, 6:51 am

    I think these are great tips. It really is a mindset. Yes, I’m a runner and I’m so many other roles in life, but being a runner helps me be the best wife, friend, daughter, worker, etc. I’m with you on squeezing the miles in whenever you can too- I bet that’s a real concern for moms or people who work outside of the home (I’m lucky to work from home and have pretty flexible hours to train without a commute).

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 25, 2017, 6:43 pm

      I love that you can work from home. That’s AWESOME.

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets May 25, 2017, 7:21 am

    Yeah running’s just not a priority for me right now or really every. That being said, I do need to get a little fitness back into my life, partially for myself and partially as an example for the babe.

    Junkitalia. Ha!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 25, 2017, 6:43 pm

      Vagina is a powerful word but once in a while it calls out for something a little extra

  • Megan @ Meg Go Run May 25, 2017, 8:37 am

    See, I have the OPPOSITE mindset of all of this right now. I used to do 2 hours of cardio a day. It CONSUMED me and it was horrible. Now, I have a much more healthy relationship with running and I’m so much more mentally healthy for it. I also don’t like my identity to be consumed by running because I am so much more than a runner and running is seriously probably the least interesting thing about me! Plus it makes me nervous because what if I consume myself with being A RUNNER and then someday I can’t run anymore? Then what am I?

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 25, 2017, 6:40 pm

      That sounds like slavery. I’m SO glad you’re out of that now. I can’t even imagine you being enslaved to anything! I look up to you so much for how independent and strong you are.

      I didn’t have the laptop today because Andrew needed it for work so I was able to really think about your comment for a long time, and it was good for me to chew on for a while. I need to self-check, because I’ve got an addictive personality (thanks, dad) and it’s easy for me to get caught up in things and let them consume my life.

      Since going through all my therapy (say adios to thousands of dollars, seriously) whenever I get caught up in self-reflection, I boil it down to whether I’m acting out of love or out of fear. If what I’m doing is fear-based, then it’s destructive. If it’s love-based, then I’ll be okay. So far, for right now, my running feels healthy and based on care-full actions for myself, for my mental health, to feed my passion for my sport and makes me feel alive, not dead. If it ever got to the point where I was running out of fear, of gaining weight, or anything of that sort then I’d have to detox.

      I’m a wife, I’m a mom, I’m a runner, I like to think of myself as a writer. These are all components of my identity but they’re not WHO I am. Andrew can die, my kids can grow up and leave home, and I could lose my legs but I’m still Suzy. I’ve got a strong will, and I’ll make a mark with whatever body part I’ve got left. I’m not gonna take any value away from my identity as a wife with the thought that maybe Andrew will die or we’ll get divorced or something just like I’m not going to take away my identity as a runner just in case someday I can’t run anymore. It’s that tricky balance between sinking our feet into what keeps our fires burning without getting choked out.

      I love your comments. They’ve always been my favourites. XO

      • Megan @ Meg Go Run May 26, 2017, 1:42 am

        I love how your fear/love check. You have said that before just about various things. I was definitely running/working out out of fear. I mean, I still did truly love doing it (clearly because I am still running) but I got into something dark and I wasn’t doing it BECAUSE I loved it anymore. I’m glad you like my comments! I try to only comment when I have something to add to the conversation which is why I don’t sometimes comment on the pregnancy posts. I read all your posts, but I have nothing substantial to add to a pregnancy conversation!

  • Ana May 25, 2017, 11:12 am

    Can I say that I admire you so much!! It bothers me when people say “I don’t know how you do it!” because it is so clear to me that people who are out there doing what they love and enjoy, are making those things a priority! exactly like you are saying here! I never ask myself how speedy runners, like you, do it… I know you are putting the sweat, blood and poop out there to get it done! and that is to me amazing!!

    To fit my passions in life, I schedule them in… If I want to stay strong and be a strong runner, I need to be out there running, not inside wishing to be running. And that means running in the cold, in the heat, mornings, sometimes nights…. this is why I don’t watch a lot of TV, there isn’t enough time in the day.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 25, 2017, 6:27 pm

      I have yet to meet a divorced mom that works out AND watches TV. Oil and water, baby. Oil and water.

  • Laura @ This Runner's Recipes May 25, 2017, 1:07 pm

    YES. It’s such a flexible/anal balance. I’m a morning runner now, but I used to run during lunch time or later in the day because it’s what worked for me in college. I didn’t become a morning runner until I was 22 and now it’s been such a set routine for 5.5 years.
    I make it work by letting myself not have to do it all – I still struggle with this, but I learned in college that if I wanted to run, be an honors student, date, volunteer, and work, I had to say no to things that weren’t necessary or I wasn’t passionate about. The same now – I put my family, faith, work, and running above smaller things and just say no when an opportunity doesn’t support those priorities.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 25, 2017, 6:24 pm

      YES. I think I may have written about this story once before but I used to say yes all the time, no matter what, and then be a no-show. I was known for it. When my friend Lora asked me to go with her to Boston (she was in the middle of a divorce and her husband was giving away tickets) I immediately said yes. But our friend Alain had told her that “Suzy always says yes and then doesn’t go…so be careful.” Lora courageously told me what he said and it was my wake-up call. Now? I have a thing I ALWAYS SAY NO MATTER WHAT (ask my friends and family and they’ll attest to this!) and it’s: “Lemme think.” I only say yes when it’s 100%, otherwise it’s no.

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