It once came as a surprise to someone when they found out I don’t run all day, every day. I work full time as a lawyer, but that doesn’t mean I can’t train for marathons too.
No matter what you do for work, it can be overwhelming trying to do everything you want to. But learning how and what to prioritise can help. It did for me. I often get asked ‘how do you do everything you do?’ and ‘how do you fit training in?’ so, here’s how I make it work for me:
First of all, I want to make it work. I never train because I feel I have to. That’s an important start.
My alarm often goes off between 5:30am and 6:00am, but I will say it now… I also prioritise my sleep (crucial for recovery), so I am usually in bed by 21:00.
This has become routine, and routine is what I find helps. Find a routine that works for you and fits in with your work/life balance. Stick to it – but remember to be realistic with your planning. The idea is to make good use of time, not squeeze everything in.
I prefer to train in the morning because I generally feel that’s better for me. I feel better, it sets me up for the day and there is no risk of anything coming up at work during the day which means I can’t leave at 18:00pm and run.
On a Sunday, I prepare my kit for the week. So I can take a ‘grab and go’ approach to packing my bag the night before. Even if you don’t set out your kit for the week though (I realise this might seem extreme), doing it the night before definitely saves you time in the morning.
My run commute is too far for a mid-week run at the moment, but I do save time by commuting to work before my run. This means I get up, eat and by the time I’m at work, breakfast has settled and I’m ready to run (I’ve also woken up). I then just need to shower at work (or a gym nearby if that’s easier for you) and head upstairs to my desk – to work and for a second breakfast.
I double-up some days. Generally, the day of the week I have my hard run session, I strength train that evening. An easier or recovery run usually follows that day, so I am able to take that session really easy. Hard days hard, easy days easy works for me.
Combine running with friends. Two birds, one stone as they say! Parkrun and brunch is usually a good sell. This can also keep you accountable, if you know you’re struggling to stick to your routine.
It really is all about enjoying training and finding what works for you. I am a big fan of routine and it really does help. Remember to prioritise your rest too and not just the training.