How many times have you heard the words, ‘Run? Me? I don’t have time to run!’ There are many barriers to being active, and not having enough time is often at the top of the list. We all have busy work, family and life schedules and fitting everything into 24 hours each day is rarely straightforward – sometimes it feels impossible.
However, you do have a degree of choice. Creating balance in your life is about acknowledging the things that are important to you, making choices and prioritising. Do you really need another 40 minutes in front of the TV, or could you sneak a quick run in instead? How important is that lie-in, or could you get up and out for a morning run first thing? It’s about balancing the things you have to do with the things you want to do.
Invariably your freedom to make choices about your lifestyle will be constrained by other important demands on your energy and time, such as family, work commitments, your social life and your finances. Striking a balance may be problematic at times, but it isn’t impossible. The thought of adding a run to an already overbooked day might not thrill you, but once you make the commitment and create time to run, it gets easier and you’ll never look back.
Here are some ways you can make time to run…
1. Create balance
Acknowledge the things that are important to you, make choices and prioritise how you live your life. Balance the things you have to do with the things you want to do.
2. Protect your run time
Create boundaries and limits for how you use your time in the day and stick to them. Don’t miss your slot. Find a time in your day that will not be cut short or replaced by anything else. Protect this window. Once you’ve missed it, the likelihood is you’ll be playing catch-up and not get out running.
3. Be organised
Be creative and clever about how you arrange your daily schedule. Keep a calendar visible to your whole family, so everyone can see what’s going on. Keep all your running kit (maybe not your smelly trainers!) in the same cupboard or drawer, so you know exactly where to find it, and if you run early make sure it’s ready to wear.
4. Be disciplined
Have a schedule and arrange your week. You need to plan, but also remember that life, work and children can throw up unplanned occurrences.
5. Be flexible
When things don’t go totally to plan, don’t worry. Adjust and move on. Forgive yourself when things don’t get done and don’t feel guilt about missing your run. Perhaps you’ll have opportunity to reschedule for another day.
6. Don’t feel guilty
Don’t beat yourself up about having ‘me’ time. Remember that time made for yourself to do what you enjoy is still productive time. Don’t feel guilty about going for a run. Taking time out will not only benefit you, but also your family and work.
7. Make priorities for your time
Decide what is truly important to you and spend quality time doing it. Spend less time on tasks that are not priorities and more time on those that are.
8. Run early or late
Head out before the rest of the house wakes up and before you do anything else – it gets you up, raises your metabolic rate and gets you ready for the day. If you have young children, take it in turns with your partner to do the early shift so you have half an hour every other day to run. Or, run straight after work – before you get interrupted by things at home. Run directly from work or stop on the way home for your run. This will invigorate and refresh you.
9. Don’t procrastinate
It’s easy to keep putting a run off. Don’t find excuses as to why you can’t do it that day. Just get your trainers on, head out and do it.
10. Have quick sessions ready
It’s easy to feel like there’s no point running for ‘just’ half an hour. But by shaking up your sessions and having a few varied workouts at your fingertips, you can always make your 30 minutes count – try these quick running sessions for starters.