Find the Time to Train

Five tips for working your workouts into a busy schedule

People once believed that new technology would make life easier, but everyone seems busier now than ever before, and training often ends up taking a back seat. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With planning and creativity, you can still find time to train for that next marathon.

First, figure out what your key workouts are and when you can do them. If you no longer have the luxury of going for a run every day, target the most important runs, and make each one count. As I explain in Smart Marathon Training, intensity is more important than sheer volume. Long endurance runs will probably have to be on your days off, so build your program around that.

Here are some options for your other workouts:

1. Get up earlier and run. If you need to get up at 5 or 6am, it can be done. You’ll be surprised to see how many other runners you’ll see out there at the crack of dawn. It takes a little getting used to, but the best part is that no matter what happens later in the day, you’ll have gotten in your workout.

2. Go for quality over quantity for mid-week runs. An intense 30 to 40 minute tempo run once or twice a week should improve your speed and fitness without taking up too much time.

3. Run-commute to work. Find a locker-room/shower facility that you can use, or join a nearby gym. Or wash up in the restroom. Bring in clothes once a week and leave them at work. If you have a long commute, park/take public transport miles away and run the remainder.

4. Do a stairwell workout. This is a great and convenient way to build explosive power, improve running form and economy, and substitute in a relatively low-impact alternative to your running routine . It’s also time-efficient; an intense workout takes just 20 to 30 minutes.

5. Two-a-days. Do morning and evening runs. The benefits will almost be as good as one long run, and you might even be able to sustain a stronger pace for the two runs than you’d be able to hold for one long run.