How can I balance my family life, my hobby?

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a male company employee in my 30s, and I have no idea how to balance my family life and my hobby, running marathons.

I began running about 10 years ago to keep fit and lose weight. Since several years ago, I’ve participated in full and half marathons.

The harder I work, the better my times get. Last year, I ran a full marathon in under three hours for the first time.

I usually train for about an hour after I get home from work and tuck my child in for the night. I want to train more as my time is not improving these days.

However, this may be difficult as my wife works, too, and increasing my time for training means she will become busier with household chores and taking care of our child. I nevertheless want my wife to allow me to increase the amount of time I spend on training so I can become an elite runner who can complete a marathon in less than 2½ hours.

Fortunately, she understands my interest in marathons, so she lets me go for training without complaining and comes with me when I participate in races.

What goal should I have for the future and how can I keep motivated?

R, Kanagawa Prefecture

Dear Mr. R:

You can run in a full marathon within three hours. That’s great! Your ankles are probably sturdy and your figure is probably slim. As you said, in marathons, the harder we work, the better our times become. Also, you must be pacing yourself better now than before because you are more mature, so marathons have become more challenging and rewarding.

However, don’t overdo it as it could cost you. An acquaintance of mine was so enthusiastic about improving his time that he spent all of his days off training and participating in races. As a result, one day his wife declared she wanted a divorce.

You are lucky because your wife comes with you to races. Don’t forget to thank her.

If people just enjoy running as a hobby and have no Olympic ambitions, it’s best to run in marathons without being preoccupied with the results. If you try too hard to run faster, you will probably lose focus on the people around you, resulting in losing some friends.

On the other hand, if you run slow, you will have more chances to talk with people while running and make more friends. These two ways of running are somewhat similar to the way we live our lives.

So why don’t you try to keep running marathons in under three hours as long as you can, rather than trying to finish in under 2½ hours? This is the season for cosmos flowers on the roadside to bloom, you know.

Akemi Masuda, sports commentator

(from Sept. 11, 2015, issue)Speech

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