Tight for Training Time?

Running short on that valuable commodity called time? Marathon coach and Olympian Dick Hooper always says “There are 24 hours in a day” to fit in a run. And it’s true – but sometimes you will have to adjust and re-assess how much time is due to work, family and social life, along with any unexpected demands that crop up. When time is tight, rather than just ditching your training session, why not use the time you have available more wisely? Here are some ideas to help you find the right times, combinations and sessions so that you can benefit from your running and keep up with everything else going on in your life.

Fitting running in around work, you’ll have to decide between running

  • Before work
  •  During a break at work – generally lunchtime
  • After work

Other things to consider include whether there is a shower in work and the practicalities of getting clean clothes and a towel into work, that can either be left there or carried in a running bag. If you want to train at lunchtime, you will have to decide whether you have enough time to run and eat. Can you eat at your desk? Bring a packed lunch or ask a workmate to get your lunch for you.

Family, personal and social

Your passion for and addiction to running sometimes has to be balanced with the requirements of a healthy (hopefully) personal life. But you can still get your endorphin fix with some understanding and forward planning. Simple ideas include exercising when bringing children to activities, getting up earlier or running to the social venue you’re going to. Why not get someone to bring your clothes and grab a shower when you’re there?

20 minutes-short, sweet and sweaty

You’re running short on time with just 20 minutes to spare, so you’ll obviously have to cut down on the warm-ups and resort to do some improvisation. Can you get some calf raises in while the kettle boils at work and get in some stretches on the sly? You could even activate the glutes at your desk. You can do a little bit of stretching when you get back. Session: a quick tip around the block might do the job, but how about getting the blood flow going by running easy for 6 minutes for warm-up and 6 minutes for cool-down? 4x200m or 30-45 seconds with 1-minute recovery This can be done at a steady enough pace. Obviously, don’t dash out like Usain Bolt, but you can certainly run at your 1-mile pace or a bit faster than 5K pace. You can gradually go faster as you go. Probably not one for the injury-prone runner, but with reasonable durability and common sense you’ll be fine.

40 minutes-enough time for some extended intervals

40 minutes – enough time for some extended intervals With 40 minutes on your side you can get in 10 minutes of easy running to warm-up and 10 to cool-down. You should even have time for one or two light strides. Try 5×2 minutes with 1-minute jog walk recovery. Aim at 5K pace for these.

60 minutes- time for a progression run

You have a little bit of time to get yourself sorted either side with some stretching and strides. 50-minute progression run – run slowly for 10 minutes at your ‘easy run’/long run pace and then pick up the pace by about 20 seconds per mile or 10 seconds per kilometre every 10 minutes after that. So, for example, the first 10 minutes may be run at 9-minute mile pace followed by 8:40, 8:20, 8:00 and so on – the last 5 minutes should be at an easy pace. You should adjust the pace according to your standard which will mean quickening up the pace or slowing it back. Again use your mile time from the Irish Runner Paced Miles or 5K time as a guide.

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