Last summer, while watching a friend compete in a half-Ironman triathlon in Michigan, my mind was adrift with thoughts about the triathlon participants. In particular, I wondered about their common characteristics. Beyond a superhero level of fitness, proficiency in three endurance sports, and the ability to put up with loads of discomfort, it occurred to me that each possessed an ability to squeeze lots of training time into their schedules. How else could you compete effectively in three demanding sports?
If these people have jobs and families and are able to make time to train for three endurance sports, then keeping up with one endurance activity should be snap, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. As a runner and someone with friends and family members who run, I regularly hear about time pressures sidelining a running routine. People with jobs, friends, families are continually poring over their schedules with the hope of eking out a little time to run.
If you find yourself wanting to run more, but can’t find the time, maybe some of the following suggestions will help.
Make a home run. For most people, running home is a better option than running to work because you can shower afterward. Carry your wallet and keys in a small fanny pack and leave the work papers at work. Home is too far? Take a bus or train part of the way.
Run for lunch. If you’re running during the workday, it helps to have access to a shower in the building where you work or at a local health club. Alternatively, some people use a washcloth or disposable wipes to clean up afterward.
Go short and fast. Instead of running at your regular pace, focus on sprints, intervals, fartleks, or whatever you want to call them. For maintaining fitness, shorter, high intensity runs can be as beneficial as longer, slower runs. And usually, it’s over in half the time.
Get a running buddy. Don’t want your running to interrupt your thriving social life? Combine them. Run with a friend or a running group.
Run errands, literally. Get a small, snug-fitting backpack to carry necessary items as you run to and from the library, the bank, and the video store.
Scale back television viewing. A bit of TV now and then provides a relaxing-occasionally informative-diversion. Too often, though, the experience leaves us wondering how our time got sucked away. Reign it in.
Make a schedule and stick to it. Planning for the run is key. If you can’t consistently slip away with your running shoes at certain times every week, plan out your runs a couple days in advance.
Bring the kids. Head out to a nice long path, putting the youngest in a running stroller and the older ones on a bike to pedal alongside you.
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