The running season has arrived and across the country people everywhere are donning shorts and trainers to race across great distances.
You might be doing Tough Mudder, the Great North Run or Race for Life, but even if it’s ‘just a 5k run’ you need to train.
“But I don’t have time!”
Me neither, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. But as someone who has (foolishly) entered a couple of races, I’ve got to get my act together, stop making excuses and somehow find the time to train.
So here’s how you can fit some running into your busy schedule.
Our running guide for busy people:
1. Don’t kid yourself
You’ve got to be realistic. There’s no point resolving to run every day when you know it’s never going to happen. It’s much better to commit to 2-3 runs that you’ll actually manage.
2. Get up earlier
It sounds horrendous, but if you can, set your alarm just 20 minutes early and go for a quick run around the block. The mornings are lighter now anyway and it does get easier… eventually.
3. Build up gradually
If you’re not used to exercise, start with walking and increase the distance each time until you’re comfortable walking a fair distance. Then ‘run a kilometre, walk a kilometre’ and gradually reduce the walking time.
4. Be prepared
Lay your running kit out and make a healthy packed lunch before you go to bed. This gives you more time in the morning so that you can squeeze in a run before work or the school run.
5. Phone a friend
If your friend’s doing the race as well, you can train together and motivate each other. You could even arrange it so one of you trains while the other babysits.
6. Get the family involved
If you’re doing a race, see if there’s a mini version for kids and then encourage them to enter. If your family support you it’s much easier to get motivated, especially if they tell you off for skipping a run.
7. Every little helps
If you can’t run more than once a week, try to increase your overall exercise level. Take the stairs instead of the lift, cycle to the shops, spring clean the house or play football in the park with the kids at the weekends.
8. Take a lunch break
We’re a generation that eat lunch at our desks, but why not take your lunch hour and go for a jog? It might not be the nicest scenery, but at least you’re getting outside and getting the time in.
9. Switch the commute
If you can, run to and/or from work, or if you get public transport to work, run to the bus stop or station. Even small bouts of high intensity training can make all the difference in a race.
10. Core counts
Don’t feel that you need to ditch other exercise in favour of a run. It’s important to work on core strength and stamina as well. Try running to your fitness class or cut your swim time slightly and hit the treadmill.
The bottom line is to fit short runs in whenever you can and just do your best. There’s no shame in walking part of a race, especially if you’re doing the Race for Life in a pink tutu and fairy wings!