In September 2013, I took my first running step ever. Why? My workouts weren’t effective anymore and I needed to shake up the routine. I registered for a 5K, but had no idea how to run! Fast forward to current day and I have now completed seventeen 5K races, two 8K races, and three sprint triathlons. In between, I learned that working towards a fitness goal improved my work-life balance in a way that I didn’t think was possible.
New professionals sometimes feel that they need to say yes to everything to prove their commitment to the job. It takes time to learn to say ‘no’ in a professional manner. However, if one works 24/7 with no downtime, burn-out is inevitable, and one may no longer love their job. Creating a balance between personal and professional lives is imperative to maintaining both health and mental well-being.
This triathlon journey for me did not start out seeking to complete a triathlon. It began with learning how to run, then friends conned me into joining them in a sprint triathlon in 2015. Training requires a schedule and management of time. It requires one to create time for oneself, reaching out to groups for assistance, and putting oneself first for a change. It requires not saying yes to everything that is offered, and to being realistic with one’s own time. This can be difficult for many on this journey, as well as for the friends and family who may be used to a different way of life.
The first step to training is taking that plunge and to make time in your schedule. For me, I know that an early morning (before work) swim does not work as I am hungry all day and crash after lunch. In the summer, I prefer to run before work because it is cooler. The best time for me to work out is after work. It forces me to leave the office on time, especially when I sign up for a group class, agree to a group run, or am meeting with a personal trainer. Knowing a workout is scheduled right after work forces me to be better organized at work, and to get through my list more quickly and on time. This allows me the time I need to focus on me before heading home for the night. Typically, a workout during the work week is about an hour. On the weekends, when the weather improves, I am in an outdoor cycle group that goes for about 2 hours. Following the ride, we meet for drinks at Starbucks to socialize after working out.
Training for triathlons has focused me, made me become even more organized, and I am in a better place mentally and physically than ever before. I’ve even made some great new friends in the process, outside of higher education. Am I the fastest? Not at all, but that isn’t my goal. My goal is the journey, crossing the finish line, and doing a little better than the previous race. Interested in learning more? Feel free to follow my journey at http://triathletelisa.com/ or https://www.athlinks.com/athletes/234476837.
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Paige Erhart at firstname.lastname@example.org.