I started a new day job about a month ago. Twice a week, I get up at a ridiculous hour in order to drive to a bus, which I take into the city where I write for eight hours. At the end of the day, I do the 75-minute commute in reverse. Then, I pick up my son, and we go home to let out our three dogs. My brain is exhausted from writing all day long, and I need to make dinner and get my son’s lunch ready for the next day.
My old schedule was much softer. I got up at 7, got my son to the bus, went to work, and came home before he got off of the bus. I had a choice about when I ran or exercised. I could get up early and work out or I could do it when I got home. No big deal.
Now, having two back-to-back long days of work has given me renewed appreciation of the struggles of full-time working parents. Honestly, I don’t know how you people do it five days a week. You are stronger than me. After eight hours at work, I feel like I’ve gone a couple rounds with Ronda Rousey. The last thing I want to do at the end of those days is work out. But I still manage to get it done. How?
No, I don’t have a coach. And I don’t have some magic energy pill. In fact, I struggle with anemia and Hypothyroidism. Lack of energy is a major issue for me…and all working parents, really, whether you have health problems or not. Because you are tired from thinking all day and commuting, and helping everyone else.
I was talking to some new coworkers and running came up in conversation. The other person mentioned they wanted to run, but didn’t have the time. I understand…especially now. They asked me how I did it. Here’s what I always say when this subject comes up:
First, you have to want to run. Do you love to run? Because if you just aren’t that into running, you will never find the time. So, I say, if you don’t really want to run, why not find something else active that you actually enjoy doing? Trust me, you will find a way to work it into your schedule if you really love to do it. It may not be running for you. It may be water aerobics.
Be realistic about your time. If you only have 30 minutes two or three times during the work week to run, then that is what you have. It’s okay! You can definitely train for races with that amount of time. I once ran a full marathon on just three runs a week: two short runs during the work week and one long run on the weekend.
Run on your lunch hour, if you can/have one. I realize not everyone has a lunch hour these days, but if you do, use it for your run! I used to! That’s how I did my two work-week runs when I was training for my first marathon. Get some unscented baby wipes so you can “shower” before you change back into your work clothes, and you’re good to go!
Consider buying a treadmill. If you are serious about wanting to run—you just looooove to run, but you are having real trouble finding the time, then make an investment in yourself. Get a treadmill. It is a great option for busy people. I like to run outside, but sometimes my workouts are done at 5:30 p.m. while the chicken is baking and my son is doing his homework. I can knock out a 20-minute sprint sesh with little drama. And, no, getting a gym membership is not the same. It takes too much time to get there, and then sometimes the treadmills are full. Use that money toward your own equipment, instead.
There are other little tips and tricks—like putting your clothes out ahead of time or finding a running buddy—but if you don’t love to run, those won’t work for long.
Be sure what you are finding time for is something you really want to do, and I know you will make the time for it.
Kerrie Turcic is a runner from Maple Valley, Wash. Kerrie is currently a copywriter by day, and also a