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Time to Run

As runners, there are three very related things we’re almost always aware of: distance, pace and time. We often up our speed and our distance in an effort to decrease our times in races. The one thing we can never run away from, however, is that no matter how fast we are, running takes time. For an elite runner, it’s a full time job that usually involves a cycle of sleeping, eating and running repeated twice a day. Even for those who’d just like to complete a marathon (at any speed), training becomes a part time job.

So, how do we fit training into our already busy schedules? Here are some tips:

Schedule it

Often, it’s not enough to say, “I’m going to run 5 times next week”, or even “I’m going to run 3 miles today”. If you schedule your runs in advance as though they were an appointment, you’re far less likely to skip them. So, “I’m going to run 3 miles on Monday at 8:00am” and “5 miles of 1/4 mile intervals on Tuesday at 8:00am” are schedules that are more conducive to successful training. Better yet, write your training schedule in your daily planner (or set a mobile device’s alarm). If you must replace your run with another appointment, find a time to reschedule and record the rescheduled time immediately.

Run in theĀ  morning

If possible, run in the morning. Wake up, have a snack, lace up and get out the door. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to face the day. Research has shown that runners who train in the morning are more consistent with their running than those who train in the evening. That’s because the day often brings so many different fires that need to be put out. Little things get in the way of running, or the stress of the day just leaves you exhausted and ready to veg in front of the TV when you get home.

Find hidden time pockets during the day

If you can’t consistently get up in the morning to run, you can often find some downtime in your busy day that you might normally have blocked off for other things. Have to take the kids to soccer practice? Drop them off, park and go for a run. Have to listen in on a conference call? Mute yourself and listen on the run. Have to do the laundry? Put it in the washer, run a loop while it’s washing, then put it in the dryer and run a loop during the dry cycle – wash, rinse, repeat as needed to complete the laundry and your run.

Precook your Meals

Spend the weekend leisurely preparing some meals and freeze them for the rest of the week. It’ll allow you to get a run in after work and then slip your dinner into the oven while you’re in the shower. That way, you’re not eating at 9 PM every night! Better yet, learn to use a slow cooker. You can throw everything in before heading off for the day – and you’ll have a yummy dinner ready when you return.

Running is a pretty simple activity. It doesn’t take a whole lot of preparation. You just lace up your shoes and go. So, you can fit in a run just about anywhere and anytime. Take a look at your typical day and see where you can find more time to run.

Written by

Brian Darrow is a running coach in St. Petersburg, FL who specializes in online coaching for beginners. Follow him at

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One Response to "Time to Run"

  1. Sandy says:

    Very informative! I definitely need to learn to use the slow cooker more often!

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