I am looking down the horizon again and thinking about my next big race in early June. I am running the North Face 50 mile challenge and a couple marathons in the fall. Working full time, dealing with a long commute, and making the most of my family time, there are key ways I find time for training. Here are 5 key tips to balancing training and enjoying life in the process.
1. Schedule, plan and tell someone!
The best way to ensure you have time is to involve your family, ensure your schedule is worked out and that it is part of your day to day activities. If you know you need to run a lot of miles one week, tell your significant other, make sure they know when you need to accomplish things by so you can plan around. For example, on a Monday I tell my wife “I have big run coming up this weekend, need to figure out where to fit in.” She knows it is coming and by the time the weekend hits, we both already have it set that it will happen.
Ok, now you have a plan, and everyone is aware. Keeping consistent will allow you to fit miles in. Turn your running into a habit. Keep yourself in the same mode everyday so that you can mentally handle when things need to get done. Also, if you keep consistent you will be able to keep other things in life on schedule too. Schedule running like it is your job. You go to work at the same time every day, and you try to leave at the same time.
3. Be flexible
So many hiccups come along the way. As much as you want to be consistent you need to find ways to adjust along the way. Running at the same time each day is best but if you need to travel, work has you in early, or your kids are up half the night and you can’t wake up, there are always other options. Flip your schedule, do something at night or vise-versa. Don’t let everyday excuses be the reason you can’t “get a run in” everyone’s life is hectic.
4. Pack your bags and find the squeeze!
One of the most fun ways to knock out miles is to always be prepared. The easiest one is to always have your gear ready in the morning or the night before. Don’t spend hours trying to figure out if something is clean or where did you put your watch. Planning ahead saves a ton of time. Have a handy-dandy bag packed with you with all your running gear. At the end of a long day or 30 minutes at lunch, who knows, you might be able to squeeze a quick run in.
5. Forget about the pressure and make it fun!
So many things come up that affect training goals. It is so easy to come up with excuses “I don’t have the time, ” “There is too much to do,” or “Work is getting in the way.” We tend to “force” the run in and lose sight and remember joy of running. Find ways to keep it fun for yourself so you always look forward to the next run. Tricks could be meeting up with others, coming up with mind games (contact me for more ideas.) If you miss a run, don’t feel you have to make those miles back up. The mental elements of training are just as important as the physical ones.
Enjoy your miles,
Brodie, AKA Tarzan Runner