After completing R.E.D. (Run Every Day) January for Mind Charity – I have become a master at how to fit your runs in. And yes I get more inventive than wake up early – which after a broken nights sleep can be one self inflicted punishment too far.
1. Need to Run an Errand (hint, the name is in the title)
These days active wear is quite fashionable, so you can get away with your running gear, around the shops, school run, post office, anything. What do you need – a running belt, arm holder, or small backpack for your card, phone, and any snacks you might need. And then just factor in the time to run, I like to plan a rough route – so that I end up where I want to be.
Bonus tip: if you have to be somewhere at a certain time – like the school run, you will feel the pressure to be there on time and can practice some speedier sections in your run – to make sure you are not late.
2. Skip the guilt, run at strategic times
Mum guilt runs thick and deep, and is hard to escape. For example, I feel guilty taking an early run, as my husband is not at early riser, and then I also feel guilty taking up a chunk of the weekend – family time – up for my run. So I have figured out a few guilt skipping runs that work for me – the late-Sunday run, the Friday-night run, the kids-are-in-the-bath-and-have-been-fed run. For you it might be different, the early run might work as your kids sleep late (lucky you, I’m not jealous at all) or a runch (run-time at lunch-time) which might be your workday treat and a guilt free solution to boot!
3. Do what you can, not what you think you should
A run (any run) is better than no run, especially when you are dying to pound the pavements. If you are getting ready for a race, you might be following a training plan – and it might call for something that you just can’t squeeze in. The pressure builds, you start swapping your days around – and then all of a sudden you have a big run (or two) and the end of the week is nearing – panic stations. This is where running looses its fun for me, this plan-pressure is just yuck. Leave it – buh bye – just do what you can, and replace your required miles with quality. For example run an intense 3km fartlek, warm-up for 10-minutes and then do hill reps on repeat, or practice your form over a 20-minute run. Any of these quick sessions will improve your running more than just putting your head in the sand (flamingo style) and letting the pressure get you down and out.
4. Be ready at all times
Remember that internet video that mocked women for wearing active wear – so funny. But that’s me, I wear active wear (actually running gear) quite a lot, you know, just in case the opportunity arises. And yes, people ask me – hey, did you go for a run… uh no, not yet… But hey, I don’t care, if it helps me get out the door and out for a run. Keep your watch/phone charged, live in your sports bras, keep your belt, earphones, etc… all ready to go. That way if you get done work early, your partner comes home unexpectedly you can take advantage of the situation, etc…
True story – I’ve been so eager to go – I’ve just gone, and forgotten I had on my falling down running tights and a bad sports bra and I spent the whole run holding my boobs down and my tights up – I must have looked a sight, but I just turned up the tunes and ran faster 🙂
5. Claim your time
Sometimes you can be as strategic as Winston Churchill, as ready as the road runner, and as adaptable as – well something really adaptable… but life will just push in the way, and sometimes you just have to push back! Take some pride in your desires and your dreams and carve out your time to do your thing. Your family will admire you for it – even if they grumble sometimes – and you will come back a better person, runner, mother, wife, worker, whatever… as a famous sports brand once said – just do it.