Life is busy, but taking the time to run can help keep it all balanced. The minutes spent running can be refreshing, leading to improved focus throughout the day. To make running a habit, it helps to fit your runs as seamlessly into your day as possible. Here are some ways to get started.
Plan your day
As you’re mapping out your day, ask yourself: “Where does my run best fit in?” Consider if running fits best in the morning, over lunch break, after work or even late in the evenings. If you’re juggling parenthood with running, the ‘ideal’ time may vary in different stages.
Parents of young children might do well with a late evening workout after the kids go to bed. As they get older, morning runs often become easier when the kids are old enough to have some quiet time without needing monitoring in the morning, even if the other parent is still sleeping. While starting an early morning workout habit can be challenging, it’s also empowering to get it done early in the day!
Once you know the time of day you plan to run, put it on your calendar- whether it’s hanging on your kitchen wall or stored on your phone. This carves physical space in your day for a workout, and you may find over time you don’t need the reminder anymore.
Plan your year
If you are building up to a long distance race, think ahead. If your work (or family life) is particularly seasonal, it’s best to put your peak race at the end of your less intense block of the year. Pushing yourself to increase your mileage will be easier when your schedule isn’t quite as hectic, and then you can back off the training when your work / life demands are peaking.
If you have been racing for years, take stock of what seasons you typically perform your best. That may give you helpful trends to consider when planning out your next year. Training programs can be stacked one after another (with a short recovery period) if you are moving up to a longer distance.
A coach can help you map out a detailed progression if you’re looking to take your training up a notch with extra support. Here is an average training program duration to keep in mind.
- 5k/10k: 8 weeks
- Half Marathon: 12 weeks
- Marathon: 16-20 weeks
Even with the best of plans, life happens. Take a deep breath when your workout time falls through. If the day allows, consider pivoting to a late evening workout. You could also switch up your workout type into an easy walk on your break or a short core workout. These formats may not give you the cardio you enjoy, but they can often be done without breaking a sweat. This creates a simple workout without the extra time needed to spruce up after.
When the chaos really hits and you miss a day - or a week - recognize that each workout plays just a tiny part in the big picture. Keep moving forward, and you’ll be rewarded with progress in the long run.