A while back we asked our social media fans, “If you could ask Kara Goucher anything about her training, what would you ask her?”
The question we kept hearing back was, “How does she do it all? She’s an elite runner, a wife, a mother; how does she manage to get it all done?”
We asked her, and this is what she said.
The Eternal Search for Balance
By Kara Goucher
People are always asking me how I balance everything in my life. How do I run full time, raise a child, maintain a healthy relationship with my husband, make meals for my family, and actively participate in the companies that I have partnered with? The truth is, the balance is constantly shifting, and I am not always great at everything all at once.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a lot of help. I have a husband who fully supports my career and steps in when I need more help. I have family who steps up to help when Adam is out of town. Colt has a nanny who plays with him in the mornings until I get home from practice. I abandon some projects at certain times of the year and let other people take over. I am not great at all of my roles all of the time.
For me the key is a shifting priority based on where I am in my life at any given time. Before a major competition, running becomes the priority. Adam steps up to take Colt to the park and pool because I am trying to nap and rest in preparation for my big race. The whole family will shift for a month or so and let my running take the lead. But as soon as it is over, family becomes the main priority again. Colt and Adam are my number one concern and I focus on special time with them.
When I got injured in March, running became low on the priority list. I still cross trained everyday, but I focused on my family and the companies I represent. I traveled and dove into business meetings, brainstorming, and photo-shoots. I took full advantage of the time away from heavy training to get more out of the business side of my life. I enjoyed the process tremendously but definitely missed my training.
Now that I am healthy again, the focus is on staying healthy, coming back smart and cautious. This is actually the time when my life seems the most balanced over all. Getting back into the grind, not in it enough that I abandon my sponsors, having lots of quality time with my boys. These are the days when I am pretty good at everything, but not necessarily excellent at anything.
There are times when I focus on my training and my family goes along that ride with me. And there are times when I focus on my family, and the running is fit in to my family life. The point is that it is constantly shifting and changing. For me I look at my life overall- Did I give myself a fair chance to achieve my goals? Did I let my son and husband know that they are the most important? Was I a true player in the companies I represent? While at one time or another one thing may win out, over the course of the year I want there to be balance.
And that is my point. You can’t be perfect at everything all of the time. It is impossible. Forgive yourself for that. Do the best you can in the overall scheme of your life. Your priorities will constantly change, and that’s OK. Finding balance is about tending to what you need to at that time. Speaking of which, Colt just asked to go for a late afternoon swim, so I guess we’ll be doing take-out tonight! Balance!