Finding time to train

countdown-clockIt’s the oldest excuse in the book – I was planning to train but then something came up. Or perhaps it was the old too tired to train – even though you know even a short session will get the endorphins flowing and give you a lift. Sound familiar? What can you do about it?

Setting goals is easy. For example, my partner and I spent some time looking at all the possible trail runs we could run this year and then picked a handful that would give us targets through the year to train towards.


It’s also a great place to keep race stickers and numbers, as a reminder of what we’ve achieved through the year.

If you look closely, you’ll notice we’ve written in the race distances and distances for long runs in the lead up to each event (I can;t really call them races as we’re not fast enough to compete with the elite runners but we love running so they’re more like events for us).

How do we make time for those runs?

My typical running week will include three or four runs of different distances at different paces. The staple for almost all distance runners is the weekly long, slow run that is designed to build endurance. But we also do shorter sessions where the focus in on pace, as well as hills training.

One of my runs is a split run – where I run, take a break and then continue. Why do I do this? Because I can get a moderate distance run in to go to my kids’ tennis lesson instead of driving. It means I leave an hour before the lesson rather than 10 minutes but that’s a relatively small difference. Then, instead of the 10 minute drive home, I run home, taking a shorter route so I can get some more miles into my legs but at a lower intensity level.

I’m lucky as I work from home so I have the luxury of being able to integrate my runs into my work day. For example, yesterday, I worked in the morning, went for a short, sharp run at lunchtime and then resumed work. As I’m home, I don’t have to rush to the shower so I can get back to work and then shower later.

My partner, on the other hand, has a different schedule so she wakes up really early on two mornings to run with there training squad and coach. By paying for a coach, you get pretty committed to not missing training sessions!

We schedule long runs in for first thing each Saturday as that’s a time when we’re both most likely to have free, uninterrupted time. For us, that means we leave most of the weekend wide open. Others like to run on a different day or in the evening.

The point is, you need to find what works for you. And then build it into your schedule so that it doesn’t become a chore.

My tips for creating a training schedule that works for you.

  1. Look for opportunities to train that fit into other activities
  2. Plan ahead and set goals so that longer training sessions aren’t done without a good reason
  3. Use your diary to schedule training sessions. And don’t automatically cancel sessions if something comes up – reschedule
  4. Have an accountability partner who checks in on your training
  5. Find ways to make sessions fun

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