We love to run. Most runners talk about running more than their professions and plan their weekends around when and where they are running. Does that make us obsessed? Maybe, but we are okay with that. The bad news is that no matter how invested we are in our sport our chances of being professional runners are slim to none. This means we must balance our time between family, work, friends and whatever else is on our plate with our need to run.
TAKE YOUR GEAR
Having gear with you lets you be ready to run if you have the chance. Keep a pair of shoes and seasonal gear in your car or in a drawer at your office. Then you can get some miles in during your lunch break or head to the trails after work and have everything you need. You can also keep a gallon jug of water, a spare water bottle and vars in your car so you’re prepared for an impromptu run. By taking your gear with you rather than heading home first you are more likely to actually get your run in and save time in your day.
MAKE IT SOCIAL
You don’t need to give up your social life to be a runner. Planning time to run with a friend can give you some social time and a good run. If your running buddy doesn’t work out you can always find group runs or search Meetup’s running page for groups in your area. You can even plan your running route to end at a restaurant and meet up with family or friends for a casual meal.
USE SMALL WINDOWS OF TIME
Even when your day seems crammed with meetings, errands and toting kids around, you can find small windows of time to get your run in. If you have to taxi your kids to after-school activities, use their practice time to get in some speedwork or a quick recovery run. You can run repeats on stairs at stadiums or in buildings. Wake up a little early and get your day started with a run or give yourself a bit of time after work before dinner plans. The good thing about having shorter time during the week is that it is perfect for building your speed.
Heading out for a run when you’re hungry isn’t going to make for a very good run. Living off of bars and snacks isn’t fun either so prepping and planning your meals is important. It will save you money, guarantee that you are fueling right and give you more time to run. Afterall, who wants to head home to cook dinner after work instead of going for a run? Pack lunches and snacks with you when you head out for the day so you can get your run in when you’re ready. Plan your meals before the week begins so you don’t have to take up extra time by going to the store multiple times or resort to eating out.
PUT TIME ON YOUR CALENDAR
There are a million types of calendars out there (iphone, Google, Outlook, paper and pencil). Use whatever method it takes and schedule your runs on your calendar. Stick the miles of your training plan on your calendar. Don’t keep them separate. Take time to look at your week to plan when you can run and what that run is going to look like (distance, effort, location). When you have it on your calendar and what exactly you are supposed to accomplish, you are more likely to make your run.
This may not work for everyone but running to do small errands can be a way to get some miles in during the week. Need to go to the bank? Forget a small item at the grocery store? Need a bottle of wine for dinner (yes, this is a pretty common running errand for us)? Grab your hydration pack or a small backpack and head out.
Being a runner is time consuming, but with a bit of planning and a little creativity you can make it work in your busy schedule. Now get off your device and go run!