I am a runner, and I know that only hard and smart work can bring results in this area of my life. But I still want to keep a balanced lifestyle, which means enjoying my family, friends and social relations.
Keep control and work hard
It is possible to conciliate high level of work amount and healthy life conditions. It all depends on the degree of control you keep over your activities; stay in charge and things remain in a sort of homeostasis that prevents you from derailing. To build a life infrastructure that supports the execution of a high running mileage, days after days, weeks after weeks, months after months and on a consistent basis, takes time and patience. Several years of cautious progression are necessary to give the body the opportunity to adapt, the mental to support changes and the lifestyle to steadily transform.
Discipline reinforces itself
The beauty of discipline is that it reinforces itself. The more you put yourself into the work, the more you are capable of executing high running volume. That's why to adopt a mentality that dictates to limit yourself to do things in moderation is a sure way to fail in all your endeavors. Moderation should be practiced towards harmful habits or behavior, but surely not towards virtuous activities that ask for always more practice to reinforce.
It's as if we'd say to a learning musician: moderate your hours of practice and you will progress better. As long as health, integrity and general well-being is preserved, the more and the longer one individual practices, the better he becomes in his domain. All things equal the practice should obviously be focused, smartly planned and executed to give more benefits; but at a same quality of practice, more is better.
Many people deny this way of living, the one that strives for excellence, they argue that it is not healthy or normal. But in fact, they are perhaps those struggling the most to keep things balanced in their life. They don't succeed staying in charge of goals and projects and often succumb to temptations, to cravings that inevitably affect their mood in the short term, and their self-esteem in the long run.
Procrastination and passivity generate resentment
Because accomplishing high amount of quality work, attaining goals and resisting to take the path of least resistance gives gratification and sense of responsibility, one better should delay gratification and endure hard work for a moment than always seek short-lived comfort.
Always succumbing to whatever appealing present at the moment is a far more unbalanced way of living than putting a huge amount of work in different more austere but virtuous activities such as long distance running.