There’s no doubt that running is a phenomenal hobby. If you’ve made it this far, it’s because you’re really dedicated to making running a priority in your life. Whether it comes easily or you still struggle through each mile, you’ve discovered the joy and satisfaction of the sport.
However, no matter how much we want to prioritize running, sometimes lacing up and getting out there is easier said than done. The obstacles a busy schedule creates are sometimes enough to make us rethink our priorities and skip our runs. Running obstacles can be challenging to conquer, and this one is no different.
How to make time for running.
In week 3 of this overcoming running obstacles series, I’m writing about a challenge that is near and dear to my heart: making time for running. Finding the motivation to run can be a struggle on its own, but feeling motivated and still not being able to run due to a busy schedule is a big let down.
Running for busy people is especially tricky. There are so many things fighting for our time each day: family, work, travel, carpool, church, friends, volunteering and other hobbies. Hoping to run a marathon some day or pursuing any other race goal means that you need to find time in your busy schedule to free up hours each week to run.
While it may be tricky, there is a way to train and still have a life. If you feel like you have no time for running, it’s time to take a step back and reconfigure your balance. Running is an important hobby for so many of us. Not only is it a healthy hobby, but it gives us time to ourselves each week to destress, work towards a goal, and become a better person.
Finding the time to run is important. Here are a few tips to make time for running each week, no matter how busy your schedule may be.
5 Running Tips for Busy People
Experiment with different times of day.
Finding a time of day to run where you feel motivated, energized, and least stressed is key. If you have always wanted to be a morning runner but can’t seem to make yourself wake up earlier, maybe it’s time to experiment with evening running. If you have an hour-long lunch break, try fitting in some of your shorter runs at lunch. Maybe you run best after dinner, before the sun, or right in the middle of the day. You’ll never know unless you experiment with different times.
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Set your clothes and gear out the day before.
Whether you run in the morning or evening, get your clothes and running gear out the night before. Even if you think you’ll have time to get everything together after work the next day – don’t put it off. Having everything out and ready to go takes away one step in the decision-making process. After a long day of work or really early morning, knowing that you still have to gather all your running supplies may be the thing that makes you decide to skip your run. Prepare ahead of time to make your runs that much quicker and easier.
Run immediately when you get home/wake up.
I can’t say it enough – don’t put it off. Now that you have your clothes and gear all set and ready to go, it’ll be so much easier to walk in the door (or wake up) and just go. Change into your running clothes immediately when you wake up or get home from work, and then don’t sit down or dilly dally. Get your run out of the way at the time you have planned it to avoid wasting any extra time. Mentally prepare yourself for this every day, and don’t give yourself the option to back out. Even if you’re strapped for time, you’ll likely feel better squeezing in a run than scrolling through your phone for 30 minutes.
Give each run a purpose.
If you have limited time to run, make sure you aren’t wasting that precious running time on junk miles. Give every run a purpose during your week. Is it a speed run, long run, or recovery run? If you have a few miles scheduled in your training plan just to say you ran, get rid of them. Make sure every run is purposeful to ensure you are not wasting valuable time. If you need to cut some runs out or lessen your mileage because you don’t have enough time, find the junk miles and swap them out.
Find a low mileage training plan.
I wrote during 25k training a few months ago about how running lower mileage has made running feel easier, and I truly meant it. If you are a really busy person who is struggling to make time for running – take some time to find a low mileage training plan. These low mileage training plans offer fewer runs, but each run has a distinct purpose. There are plenty of marathon training plans that schedule runs just 3 days a week, and many runners find just as much success with this method as running more frequently.
Decreasing my mileage and running just 3 days a week was the gateway to some of my best months of running in 6 years. Running less frequently during the week allows your body some extra time to rest and recover, which helps you feel fresh and eager for each run. It prevents running burnout and is a great way to train while still having a life.
One of the biggest obstacles for new runners and seasoned runners alike is finding the time to run. If running is a priority for you, then it’s time to make a plan for it to happen. Don’t feel guilty if that means cutting out your Friday run, or spending 30 minutes out by yourself each evening. Running is a tool that helps us each become the best version of ourselves, which is priceless. Finding a training balance can be tricky with a busy schedule, but it’s not impossible.