Tuesday, November 4, 2014

6 Ways To Fit Running Into Your Busy Life

I have spent the past two days in an all day training in Denver. Tomorrow will be the same (the training has been really interesting – I will be teaching parenting classes to at-risk families and I have learned so much. Nothing like taking a parenting class to make you realize how much better YOU could be as a parent. My kids will be in therapy for sure).

This training schedule  means I am gone from home from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. 2+ hours of that is in traffic. I know that many of you do this day in and day out, but I don’t. I work from home, so I’m not accustomed to being gone certain hours or having this much structure to my day.

How I felt this morning:

I am used to seeing my kids off to school, working in my PJs for a few hours (maybe farting if need be), going for a run, looking in my refrigerator for leftovers, walking the dog, working some more and being here when kids get home. Yes, I am a bit spoiled with this schedule, but there are pros and cons.

The cons mostly include working weird hours – days, nights, weekends.  Also, working from home means you don’t have colleagues to shoot the shit with or play practical jokes on. I miss that side of being in an office (did I tell you about that time we put laxatives in the staff meeting muffins? I was really immature back then).

The real reason for this post is to find out how those of you fit in training/running with an incredibly busy schedule. I think we could all learn from each other.

Tonight for example, I rolled in after 5pm, had a few moments with the kids, grabbed Ken and off we went for a 6 mile run. In the dark and cold. With head lamps. Driving home from Denver I had to really psych myself up to run when all I really wanted to do was snuggle on the couch with wine. Instead, we had a brisk run, caught up on our days, got our hearts pumping, and released some pent up energy from sitting all day. Ken summarized it well when he said, “Thanks for the run. I really needed that.” Me too.

I’m no expert, but here are some tips I have for fitting in your running when you think you simply don’t have the time:

1. Use your legs or bike instead of your car to commute. When we lived in Denver many years ago I used to ride my bike 12 miles each way to/from work.

2. Sneak out for your lunch break. If you have an hour for lunch squeeze in a 3 to 5 mile run. Leave yourself a few minutes to clean up and eat (that’s what wipes are for).

3. Be organized in other areas of your life so you can fit it in after work. For example, tonight I had all the ingredients in the house for a quick dinner. I knew that even if I didn’t finish my run until 6:15 p.m., dinner would still be on the table before 7:00 p.m. If your kids are older, get them to cook while you run.

4. Watch one hour less of TV per day and substitute with exercise

5. Get up early. Yes this is a drag. Yes it might be dark and cold. But, this is THE BEST WAY to ensure you will get your run in and not blow it off after work.

6. Take the kids. Part of why some people run is to get away from their kids, so this may not be an option for you. However, pushing kids in a stroller is not only a great workout, it means you get to multi-task being a parent and running at the same time.

What is your best tip for fitting it all in?

 

SUAR

55 comments:

  1. I think my main motivation is saving my relationships/sanity - because I sure can be a cranky bitch if I don't get some sort of movement in daily! A couple days of stagnation and I don't even want to be around myself! I need to work on #5.

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  2. How about... quit your job, homeschool your kids so you don't have to deal with all that school crap, sell your giant house so you have less housework, minimize other things in your life that you don't really care about, and then you can run more!

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    Replies
    1. I'd venture to say homeschooling takes up more time than sending them off to school.

      I'm hoping this was tongue in cheek!

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  3. Completely agree. It's even harder when you travel for work. I wrote about that here:

    http://cuckoolemon.com/2014/10/02/13-ways-to-keep-your-fitness-mojo-while-traveling/

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  4. Thank the Lord that my kids can finally ride bikes. If I don't have child care, I can take them on the run. They can bike for miles!

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  5. These are GREAT tips. I don't drive and I never have....yes, yes....I know that as a parent that seems shocking but I'm used to living in a urban area where parking costs just as much as rent (if not more). I cannot tell you how many people consider a short commute "far"....I've had people tell me that they won't walk downtown - we live in a rural town now where nothing is more than a few blocks away. My husband drives but I just don't have that great desire, even after we purchased a second car specifically for me. I'd much rather get around on my bike.

    One great thing that I did was buy a cheap exercise bike off Amazon (less than 200 bucks) so that I can pedal away WHILE watching my favorite TV shows after work.

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  6. Ack, I hate when my schedule is thrown off like that. As someone who leaves the house at 8:30am and doesn't get home until 7pm five days a week I can say that you really just get used to your routine. I know as soon as I walk in the door I am going to immediately walk to the closet, pull out my running clothes and hit the road 10 minutes later. Most days I don't think about the other things I could be doing, I just do what I need to do. Plus, it's exactly like you said, after sitting at work all day and then sitting through an hour long car ride home I am READY to run at night - for both the physical and mental benefits!

    So my tip would be just to have a set time that you get your run done and make it part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth when you get out of bed is part of your daily routine! :)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I agree. Just needs to be part of what you do each day - make it non negotiable!

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  7. I prefer to go early in the morning and if that means REALLY early I do because the best way I can start my day is with a run but I am a realist and on some days I just don't want to leave the comfort of my bed. On these days I run instead of eating lunch with my workmates in the lunch room or I have even been known to run to get the dinner supplies and run back home. I've decided if I carry of the contents for dinner on my back it counts as weight training as well!

    On a different note, I wanted to thank you Beth. One the weekend I did my second marathon, a hilly, hard as sh*t marathon with so many damn hills I didn't think I was ever coming down on trails. I used a number of things I picked up from your blog.... 1. Orange Mud hydration pack - loved it and soooo much better than a hydration belt. I have been won over. 2. Getting my friends and family to give me a song and dedicating that km to them when their song came on. Man, those kms went by with a HUGE smile on my face. 3. Telling the pain when to come on down, we finished that damn thing!!!

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  8. My tip for fitting in a workout is to find exercise you love and when you are most alert. For example, i have no desire to wake up early to workout, so I wake up, blog, and run after school.

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  9. Wake up early. Only thing that works for me.

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  10. I commute to my full-time job too and it's so hard to get in running time. I usually wake up at 4:30 to go to the gym so I can get it done first thing. It sucks. By the end of the work day it's wine and couch time, though, so I have to start off the day with a workout!

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  11. I'm a big early morning fan. Can be a drag, but only way to make sure it's done.

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  12. My tip is just simply making it a priority. We have time for the things we make a priority in our lives. For me, it's sacrificing TV time at night so I can go to bed early and get up early to run. But to me, running is more important than TV.

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  13. When people tell me they don't have time to exercise, I just look at them. Seriously? I work full time (not from home, I couldn't see patients there!), have 2 active teenage boys--if you want to do it, you will find time. I find that getting up early is the only way for me to get it done.

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    1. I couldn't have said it better! Plus don't you think running helps you to deal with those teenage boys?

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  14. I drag my ass out of bed at 5am to get my hour of running in. I am a Mom to 2 active teenage boys and work FT. Luckily I live only 4 miles from work so I don't have a long commute. I do travel during the day to meet with clients about 3x a week and to combat driving and desk butt I do yoga after dinner. When I have to do overnight travel I google map my run for interesting running routes and then book my hotel close to that running route. Much better than staying off a busy highway and having to use the treadmill!

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  15. Running in the morning isn't a possibility for me as I am out the door at 3:30am without running. But I like to find meals I can put in the oven. I prep everything, put it in the oven head out for a run while it cooks and am back in time for it to be done. This of course doesn't work with all meals but I do find it works with a lot to free up time for me.

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  16. I plan dinners a week in advance and do most of the week's cooking on Sunday so that I can run/workout after work and still have dinner ready before 7pm.

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  17. Working full time and 3 active kids has taught us some good tips. 1. Always prepare. I don't go to bed without workout gear packed for the next day. 2. Look for opportunities. If kids are at practice, I will get in a run or find a way to get in a body weight workout. I can still watch some of their practice and it shows that exercise is a priority for everyone. I talk to so many parents who sit and watch their kids practice and complain they don't have time to exercise. 3. Know the difference between mental fatigue and when you need to let yourself physically recover. 4. Split long week day runs. While the weekend long run is important, the 10-13 mile run during the week is a challenge. Instead of a 10 mile run on a Wednesday, I will do 6 in the morning and 6 in the evening.

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    Replies
    1. Brilliant...these are some great ideas...

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  18. Planning is the best way. Everyone knows I run or bike or both 5 days a week. I have a treadmill, if it is too dark or nasty out. I picked up a cheap exercise bike off of craigslist for winter bike workouts. Planning ahead for meals also helps.

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  19. I'm not the busiest person out there, but I work about 50 hours a week and have a some volunteer/social/church obligations. I always make sure our food is planned out (or at least our lunches and dinners - breakfast can be on the fly). Hungry people don't want to exercise! And in general I remain organized and plan ahead, so that if I have an early meeting I can switch my off day or something.

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  20. I wake up at 4:30 a.m. and meet with my running partners. Otherwise it doesn't happen.

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  21. With 40+ hours of work each week, commuting, three kids and their endless extracurricular activities... I am forced to get up in the wee hours of the morning- usually 5am. I must get back by 6am to shower and get ready, get the kids up and fed, and out the door by 7:15 just to get to school by 8:15. On Saturdays, I am usually heading out the door for my long run before 6-7am. I squeeze strength workouts in twice a week before dinner (built a gym in my garage so I don't waste time with a membership and going to and fro). It just is what it is... When people tell me they don't have time, I always want to reply- "You just don't want it bad enough!"

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  22. I live in Westminster (right off of US36) and work in Uptown, Denver. I am bummed that the bike path they’re putting in with the light rail goes from Westminster to Boulder – I wish there was some clear way to ride a bike from Westminster to Denver – I’d gladly ride every. single. day. I stay on track by running on my lunch hours. Some days I have to run after work, if the prescribed run is too long to squeeze in during a work day. Many nights my family has to “fend for themselves” at meal time, because in addition to my full time M-F gig in Denver, I do legal billing from home for private clients.

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  23. I hate when people make excuses and say I just don't have time to workout. Well people that workout don't have any more hours in the day than others, we just make the time to do it because it's important to us. -L

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  24. I work outside the home 40+ hours per week and have 4 kids (3 boys age 3-8 and 1 daughter who is disabled). It's hard. My boys aren't old enough to all ride bikes with me and the older ones and too old for a jogger. But the real problem is my daughter. She's physically challenged. Too old for the gym kids care, but requires supervision upstairs in the gym at all times. It sucks. But for the most part I get my runs in. I live in Utah and through summer I was cycling to work (10 miles each way) 3 days per week. And I run 3-4 days per week. Try and get a couple classes in at the gym a couple more nights. My tips: 1. Meal plan (even if you don't prep a ton, just having a plan makes a big difference, you can plan around the gym nights etc). 2. Take advantage of lunch breaks. I run on my lunch break during the weekdays. It's a little tougher when training for a Marathon, but upwards of 6 miles a lunch break is enough time. 3. Get a running buddy to get you out of bed on the weekends when you finally get a "break". (this is always the hardest for me). I have a treadmill at home and I'm buying a spin bike this month that will reside in my living room for TV time. 4. I pretty much have given up on weeknight TV. I DVR the best stuff and will gorge on the weekends a little. My weeknights include exercise, dinner and homework with the kids. The end.

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    1. I just want you to know that I think you are awesome. Meal planning is a great tip, too! It does facilitate the evening activities so you can hit the gym. I heart the slow cooker.

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  25. I have to agree with you if I don't get up early and I haven't planned a group run after work it most likely isn't going to happen. It has been hard this week though because it is getting so cold here in Utah but I got my headlamp set up and am ready to take on the winter.

    I also once the snow falls I make sure to run in my trail running shoes.

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  26. Get up early in the am and run before I wake up the kids up for school. If I don't do it before everyone is up then life gets in the way and I can't fit it in. The con/pro of it is that on non-run days my dog still thinks it's a run morning and wakes me up well before dawn!

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  27. I envy those of you who have the gumption to get out of bed in the early morning to run-- it seems by far the best strategy but I am SO not a morning person! I am gone for work from 7:30 until 5:30, and rarely have more than 20 minutes for lunch (so a nooner is out of the question). I do a shorter run (4-6 miles) at least 3 nights a week after work- either do it while supper is in the oven baking, or while the kids are at practice. Occasionally I have to wait until they are all in bed if they all had lots of activities to get to (so yeah, that's me on the treadmill at 10 pm. Bleh!) I do my long runs on the weekends- oftentimes have to do back-to-back long runs on Saturday and Sunday. It sucks, and is probably not the best strategy-- but it's what works for my schedule. And hey- my Sunday runs are on tired legs, so better for simulating the end of a marathon, right?????

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  28. Reminding myself that I need to make myself a priority, just like I make everyone else.

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  29. I can't get my butt out of bed in the morning for an early run before work so I have everything ready the night before for an after work run. I down a cup of coffee and make myself zip out the door. And I use my crockpot A LOT! There is nothing better than dinner all ready for you after your run.

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  30. I'm so glad you posted this topic! My husband & I are not morning people but we've come to really enjoy running in the early a.m. to start the day. We just became first-time parents (our daughter is 5 wks old) & we're getting used to sleep deprivation & zero scheduling. My Type A personality struggles with that but that's a different topic... It's taken a lot of hard work but we're still managing to fit in our running/workouts (& still in the mornings too). The absolute key has been the ability to be very supportive of each other & super strong communication. It's exhausting but we're constantly discussing who will take what shift, who wants to get what mileage or time running, etc. We both work full time too (I go back to work next week). Is our daughter our priority? Absolutely. Have we taken this time to not have any goals for training or set too high expectations for our running? Yes (although we both struggle with this often :)). Is our house in desperate need of a deep clean/we're barely keeping up with laundry/we can't seem to get any projects done? Totally. But certain things are more important to us & we're willing to let some things slide - we'd rather spend time as a family or fit in a run instead of worry about vacuuming or dusting. We're not living in filth but we wouldn't pass the white glove test. :) I think we'll be able to keep up the morning runs (these are damn early, as in 4 or 5 a.m.), also knowing we have to be flexible & may need to throw in a lunch or evening run (we're blessed to have flexible work schedules that allow us to take a long lunch on occasion and live in a small town that only has a 15 min commute). And we also bought a treadmill before the baby, full well knowing we may spend a lot of hours on it, especially this winter (we live in MT, so plenty of cold weather).

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  31. Early morning, like 4:00 or 4:30 a.m. It's easier to get it done when I can get up this early and do it before I'm fully awake and able to talk myself out of it. I also find that my disposition is a little more pleasing if I've hammered out some aggression before the sun's up:)

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  32. Don't break the chain of green dots! Get a calendar and every day you planned to run and did, mark it with a green dot. If you miss a planned day it gets a red X. It's amazing how motivating it is to keep the calendar pretty and green. I did this for a long time until the habit was deeply ingrained. There are smartphone apps for this, too.

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  33. But I just can't get used to the taste of the wipes!

    Ha ha ha!!!!

    So, anyway, I have to say thank you. As I did my half marathon on Saturday, and the frigid weather triggered unbeknownst to me asthma and it got harder to breate, I never panicked. Instead I chanted "embrace the suck" and thought of many of your posts on getting through those last difficult miles (8-13.1, unfortunately). So thank you!

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  34. I get up early or drop off my toddler at daycare a half hour earlier and run before work. I think finding a person or group who will meet you at the pre-dawn hours helps immensely. I also load the weekends so that the weekdays aren't much of a struggle. Of course, I have a 3-year-old who doesn't play sports or have his own social calendar yet.

    I also started teaching classes. It makes the strength training non-negotiable for me, the schedule and my husband.

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  35. My crockpot. I don't have kids, but I have an engineer fiance who is always exhausted when he gets home. If one of us can throw stuff into the crockpot before we leave for work, it's one less thing to worry about later. As a result, we eat a lot of soup.

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  36. I know if I don't run in the morning, it will not happen. So, I wake up at 4:00... get on the 'ol treadmill by 4:15 and run! By 5:25 I walk the dog for 45 min. Come home, shower (5-6 min), pray everyone woke up happy ( I have 2 young kiddies) give kisses and leave for work by 6:50 a.m. (I'm a teacher). I am lucky to have a husband who helps out and a babysitter who arrives to put kids on the bus! It's crazy but I can't start my day right without a good sweat! The weekends are for outdoor runs!

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    1. Damn you are one busy chick. Way to make it all happen.

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  37. Watch TV WHILE you exercise ;) I do this frequently on my bike trainer

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  38. I'm envious of your usual schedule (even the farting)! I commute 1.5 hours to work, so I'm up at 2:45am (yes, I'm insane) to work out at the gym before I carpool with hubby to work where I run with my friends before starting my work day at 7:30am. Once I get home at night, it's a race to make dinner, feed dogs and clean up before the chaos starts all over again. I cherish my weekend runs because I get to relax after my long run and actually shower at home!

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    1. Wow, that does sound like a crazy life. You pack a lot in!!

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  39. I work, and my husband is a full-time student, and we have a toddler. During the week, I get up at 6am three or four times a week to run 5 miles (headlamp, safety vest, go!), and on the weekends I try to get in longer runs while the baby naps.

    If I don't do it in the morning, it just tends not to happen.

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  40. Working mom w/ a busy 7 year old. 4:30am wake up for an early morning work out group. The group keeps you accountable and you also have people to bitch to when the weather is annoying since we work out outside always. Meal planning is a must b/c after a full day of work and running around to kid activities we are starving. On my off days my husband does the same so having that support and understanding also helps.

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  41. I'm in Denver this week for training too. This is the first time I've been here, and the traffic is crazy! I do envy you your weather though.

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  42. My work schedule is absolutely insane but I also write a blog and lately I have found it helpful to blog about the trails and tribulations of my workout successes. It helps keep me accountable no matter what my schedule is like.
    sunkissedredhead.blogspot.com

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  43. I have two small daughters and I homeschool my preschooler. My way of fitting it in is to do a post school/pre lunch run or ride (30-40 min) with a 20 minute park stop at the end. My kids will ride in the stroller/trailer just fine knowing they have something to look forward to and I get an extra workout pushing and towing 75 extra pounds around. The fresh air helps us make the transition from school to the rest of the day and settles everyone for nap time. Now my only challenge is figuring out how to fit my swims in when my husband is out of town for work (my kids won't go to the rec center childcare).

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