How To Squeeze A Run Into Your Tight Schedule
The great thing about running is that you can do it anywhere. All you need is a pair of shoes, some active wear, and motivation. And a little bit of time.
How do you squeeze runs into your already chock full schedule? Roger Bannister, the first man to break four minutes in the mile back in 1954, was a veritable master at making it work with little time for training. Reportedly, he did almost all his training during his 30 minute lunch break while in medical school at Oxford.
What follows are some top secret pointers (you could call them “running hacks“). They’ll help you get your run done amidst the demands of work, travel, family time, and life. Armed with them, and some creativity, you don’t have to push running onto the back burner anymore.
1. Use Google Earth while traveling
One of the first things I do while traveling or visiting new place is look for places to run on Google Earth in satellite mode. The area around rivers is a good place to start. Oftentimes there are greenways with bike paths or trails along rivers. Look for large parks and green spaces with road access. If you need a track, they’re easy to spot in satellite images. If you’re staying in a hotel, it pays dividends to find potential running areas nearby before you check in. Running while traveling is one of the best ways to see a new place! Don’t let being out of your comfort zone stop you from getting a workout in.
2. Wear running shorts as underwear
This really solidifies your identity as a runner. And makes you feel like a super hero. If you’re really in a pinch after work or other engagement, being able to discreetly whip off your pants and be instantly ready to run saves precious seconds. Just make sure to pack real underwear if you have an engagement afterwards.
3. Run to work
Or home from work. If you’re fortunate enough to live within running distance of your place of employment, getting to or from work via your daily run can be a huge time saver. The biggest concern here is showering, changing, and carrying work materials you may need. Consider using public transportation or a cab / über to get to work so you can run home, or vice versa. If there is a gym with locker rooms close to work, consider getting a membership so you can shower and change as needed, not to mention get your strength workout in.
There are light weight running packs out there that you can use to carry your change of clothes, wallet, and keys in on the run. By planning ahead creatively and running to work, you can save a ton of time!
4. Run in the morning
Wait, really? Perhaps the best way to make sure you get your run in is by getting it out of the way with first thing in the morning. Trust me, it’s worth getting up earlier for. Once you adjust to the new schedule, you’ll thank yourself. Running in the morning sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. Physiologically, you recover from a morning run better compared to an evening run. There are even weight loss benefits, as you kick your metabolism into high gear first thing each day. It’s also a great excuse to drink more coffee! Always make sure to eat a small carbohydrate rich snack before you run in the morning.
5. Bring the kids
One of the biggest barriers to exercising for parents with young children is finding time to run. Here’s an idea: bring the kids with you! Babies and toddlers can be pushed in running strollers. Older children can have a ton of fun biking or rollerblading alongside you on the run. By involving the whole family, you can get your precious run in and spend quality, active time with them.
6. Carry a change of clothes and deodorant everywhere
This one goes along with running around work and social engagements. Designate a backpack or bag for your running supplies. Carry it with you everywhere. If you have a spare half hour between meetings or time before you have to pick the kids up, get in a quick run. You’re a runner! Don’t be bashful about showing up to informal engagements with running clothes on, having just taken on the world. We do recommend using that deodorant though.
7. Run with a friend
Let’s be honest. Often motivating yourself isn’t so much a problem of fitting your run in, but simply being exhausted from the day. Scheduling runs with others is the best way to hold yourself accountable. You’ll be much more likely to show up to run at a set time. Working towards your goals with others is hugely motivating, and you won’t feel alone while training.
8. Run on a treadmill
If you simply can’t get outside during the day to run, a last resort is the treadmill. Owning a treadmill or getting a nearby gym membership allows you to run at night, very early in the morning, or during inclement weather. It’s a reliable and safe running outlet for those with a busy schedule. If you spend a lot of time on the treadmill, I recommend setting the incline to 1%. It more closely simulates outdoor running’s wind resistance and helps prevent injury.
9. Something is better than nothing
If it looks like you aren’t going to be able to get that hour long run in this evening, it’s better to get at least something in than skip running all together. Even a squeezed-in 15 minute jog can loosen you up and make you feel accomplished for the day.
Think of running as your daily “me” time. It’s a chance to relax, meditate, and let all your worries slide away. A run might seem daunting when you’re tired or stressed, but just remind yourself how good you always feel after a workout and you’ll be out the door in no time.
How do you make time to run when your schedule is busy?