6 ways to squeeze in a training run

There is a commodity that none of us ever have enough of, time. We are short on time, there’s not enough time, and sometimes time is ever wasted. Constraints at that time are one of the biggest obstacles to a marathon training run. When your boss is pushing you to finish by the deadline and the kids need to be shuttled to their various activities, your daily run is the first thing to go.  But when you consider that your goals are for your mental sanity and physical health, it should be more of a priority.

1. Time management for a training run

I totally get it.  We all have families, a job, and other constraints on time. I have skipped many training runs because I got “the look” from my sweet wife. You shouldn’t have to tear apart relationships or neglect your duties to get in that 6-mile training run. Fortunately for you, running happens to be one of the easiest activities to squeeze in even when time is short. It doesn’t require a gym or a ton of equipment — just a good pair of running shoes, shorts, and an iPhone with a killer Huey Lewis playlist. The key to fitting marathon training into your busy life is to remove those obstacles that stand in the way. By employing simple time-management strategies and removing obstacles, you will find that even the busiest runner can find time for a workout. Here are a few tips to help in your efforts.

2. Plan your to succeed

Marathon training requires a long-term time commitment. The very act of planning a run ahead of time puts you on track to actually complete the workout.  It has something to do with synapses in your brain or something like that. Research has shown that people are 42% more likely to accomplish a goal simply by writing it down. So if you plan ahead and write down your goal to run at 6 AM, you have a greater likelihood of accomplishment.  Take a few minutes once a week and look at your schedule to see when you’ll actually have time to run. By scheduling a run, actually typing it into your calendar the same way you would a work meeting or dentist’s appointment, you’ll be less likely to allow other obligations to get in your way.

If you share your goal with someone you are 78% more likely to be successful.

3. Quality over Quantity

When it comes to fitting your marathon training into a busy schedule there’s no such thing as a crappy run. Something is always better than nothing. If you do find yourself short on time, try increasing the intensity to get more bang for your buck. Research has found benefits related to exercise performance when comparing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) like sprints to traditional endurance workouts. Simply put, when you increase the intensity of some of your training runs, you can actually build fitness in less time.

4. Be Prepared for a training run

Let me paint a picture for you.  You have been slammed all day with meetings, phone calls, and appointments. There’s a little voice in your head that keeps reminding you that you should have done your training run this morning instead of sleeping in. Now you find that you have an unexpected hour of downtime when an appointment is canceled. If you only had your running shoes. A missed opportunity right? Always be prepared by packing your running shoes and shorts, just in case.  

Pack your running gear

If you have a job that requires more formal attire, make sure you have a running bag ready in your trunk or under your desk. This may require you to have a separate set of running gear at work and home. This way, you never find yourself without them when you’re ready for a run. Always be prepared.

5. Be social with your training runs

The things that we always put off because of other obligations are exercise and social engagements. What if you could combine them. Instead of talking to friends about meeting up for dinner, suggest a run instead.  

Friends can keep you motivated

I have a friend that is very smart and interesting and we always have a great convo. I asked him if he’d like to train for a 15-K with me and he accepted the challenge. The best part was that we could spend more time chatting while we trained for the race. It’s a great way to nurture relationships while training for a marathon. It also makes those long runs much more pleasant.

Training run accountability

With social running, there is also some built-in accountability when you have a training partner. This makes it much more likely that you’ll follow through with your plan and get out and run.

6. Bring the Kids on a training run

Parents with young children are one of the groups who struggle the most finding time to run.  Believe me, I know what it’s like, I have 3 young kids. I’ve found that sometimes it is easier to bring your kids along for the ride. A jogging stroller is a great way to involve the little kids on a quick run. I’ve taken my kids to the park to play while I ran laps around the perimeter. I could keep an eye on them and they could still be outside and play.  Another benefit is that you will be an example of healthy behavior for your kids. It may take more effort to involve your kids in training runs, but you’re actually doing something beneficial for everyone involved.

Wrapping up ways to squeeze in a training run

Your training run is a priority. It helps you stay healthy, physically and mentally. And that has positive repercussions in all aspects of your life. If you plan effectively, you can create the time you need to complete your training runs, even in the busiest of schedules.