We typically begin a training program with the best of intentions. We’re committed to doing whatever it takes to meet our goals. We’re ready to wake up early to run before work. Or wait until evening to run after work. Or mix up our workout days and go to the gym for some weight training or swimming. Then things don’t go as planned, and it gets tough to stick to that original training program. It can be really difficult finding time to train when life gets busy.
However, as with most fitness goals, you’ll have a better shot at finding time to train if you’ve prepared well beforehand. If you’re reading this and you feel like you’ve already given up on your training plan because life got too busy, fear not! You can always revamp your plan and try again. It’s not too late to set a new running goal and make better training plans.
Finding Time to Train with these Helpful Tips
1. Be realistic about your schedule.
Before setting your training plan, take a genuine look at your day-to-day schedule. Writing it down can be helpful for visualizing your time. Once you’ve written out your schedule, analyze it to find out when you are actually available to run and when you are not. Some questions to ask yourself include:
- Are some days busier than others?
- Are your daily time frames set in stone (Ex: you must be at your desk by 8 AM Monday through Friday)? Or are they flexible (Ex: so long as you get your work done, your boss doesn’t care when you do it)?
- What amount of housework and household errands do you need to complete each day?
- Are there any parts of your routine that you are simply not willing to give up (Ex: sitting with your morning coffee before getting ready for work, watching TV before bed, etc.)?
Once you have taken a hard look at your schedule and figured out what can be moved and what is set in stone then create your training schedule. Designing your training schedule around your permanent schedule will help you be more successful in meeting your goals.
2. Prioritize running.
If you really are committed to finding time to train, you’ll need to prioritize your training time. There are a million things that will pop up to steal your time and interrupt your training plan. By prioritizing your training, you ensure that you will still have time to train even when life gets busy.
Keep in mind, this will likely mean saying “no” to things that try to steal your time. For some people, saying no to things that pop up can be really difficult! If you find that you’re getting too busy to go running even though you know you made a good training plan, think back on whether or not you’ve been saying “yes” to too many things. Maintain running as one of your priorities, and be willing to sacrifice the things that don’t matter as much to you.
3. Make training fun.
Sometimes, life isn’t actually too busy. It’s just too busy to make time for something that you don’t want to do. Plenty of people stop their training because they just don’t enjoy it. Even though they want the results that come from running, they don’t actually have fun during the workout. So, they procrastinate the workout and end up running out of time to train.
Look for innovative ways to make your training more fun. Some popular methods include:
- Trying new running routes so you regularly get new scenery.
- Joining a running group so you get to socialize while you run.
- Making a killer playlist so your training includes music that hypes you up.
- Signing up for races that inspire you to keep training.
4. Cross-train throughout the day.
If your day-to-day life is packed and you don’t have much time left over for cross-training, fit some exercises in throughout your day. Look for little ways to exert extra energy throughout the day and work some new muscles. You can do things like:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Use a hand-held basket at the grocery store instead of a cart with wheels.
- Research small workouts that you can do in your office space with what you have available.
- Do traditionally big-impact/short-timeframe workouts such as planks or wall sits.
5. Double-dip on your time.
Adult life is busy! There’s a lot of stuff to fit into a day, especially if you have kids. If you find that you’ve got an annoying amount of downtime waiting for your kids to be done with their activities so you can pick them up, use that time to go for a fun run. Start keeping some running clothes and shoes in your car so you will always have them at the ready. Then if you end up with an extra 30 minutes that you would otherwise spend waiting in the car, you can go for a quick run.
Finding time to train when life gets busy is no easy feat. There’s a lot that pulls at our time and demands our attention. If you really do want to meet your running goals, don’t let time commitments get the better of you. Plan ahead appropriately and get creative with your workouts. If you prioritize your training, you’ll be surprised how much time will open up in your schedule.