We all live busy lives, let’s face it. Work, family, hobbies, studying and travelling fill lots of our day. If you’re not careful, it can soon become difficult to squeeze a run into your day. In this article, I’ll be sharing my top 5 tips to always squeeze a run in no matter what you’re doing and how busy you are.
1. Get up early and run first thing in the morning
Without a doubt, I think this is the best way to always squeeze a run into a busy day. Set your alarm clock 45 minutes or an hour earlier than usual, get up and go for a run before the day properly begins.
There are a couple of reasons why I love running first thing in the morning.
By running first thing, you’re demonstrating a huge commitment to yourself. The run is the first thing you do to start the day, before work or studying or fulfilling family commitments. If you leave running until the evening, you’re more likely to be tired from work and everything else you’ve been doing so you’re likely to blow the runoff.
Getting up earlier for a run communicates to your subconscious that you value yourself enough to put in extra effort to ensure that all-important run is completed. This will do wonders for your self-esteem as you are clearly showing you have a degree of respect for yourself.
Also, running first thing is great ‘me time’. It can be hard to get quality time with yourself sometimes. Getting up and running an extra hour earlier than usual means you’ll be the only one awake in your household and the outside world will be relatively quiet. Great running conditions for quiet, ‘me time’. Running first thing in the morning not only means you always squeeze a run in, but it also means you get quality time with yourself.
Top tip: Set out your running gear the night before. There’s nothing worse than waking up, still a bit groggy, and trying to decide (and then find) the clothes you’re going to wear for the run.
Do yourself a favour and do the thinking and finding the night before. Once you’ve found your clothes, lay them out conveniently by your bed so all you have to do is roll out of bed and jump into the already laid out clothes. Easy.
For more information on running first thing in the morning, check out the following blog post:
2. Schedule running into your travels
Lots of runners I speak to tell me that they want to run on their travels, for both leisure and business, but they just don’t know how to find the time.
I always ask the same question, ‘did you schedule running into your itinerary?’ When the answer is no, I tell them that to ensure you’ll maintain good running habits on the road is to schedule running into your plans for the day.
It sounds pretty obvious, but the amount of times people travel and leave out running from their daily plans is staggering. It’s almost like people either forget about running completely when thinking about their travels. Fair enough; organising any travel can be demanding and have its stresses. However, forgetting to think about running altogether often means not doing it altogether when on the road.
To always squeeze in a run on your travels, consciously schedule a slot for running into each day. For example, if you were travelling to Paris for leisure be sure to manually insert a slot for running in each day you are in the country.
I always make my running slot first thing in the morning an hour before everyone else in my group has their alarms set for. If there’s a group itinerary, I’ll add this slot into the plan so that everyone knows about the running and can make the decision as to whether they’d like to join me on the run.
I find scheduling an early morning slot for running first thing on travel itineraries best, particularly when in a group. Scheduling the run here means the rest of the day can be filled with different activities and there is no run to think about doing as it’s already been completed and ticked off.
If you don’t already create and use travel itineraries when you go away, I’d strongly recommend creating them as they mean you have a logical plan to follow and they ensure you don’t miss anything important. Plus, they can help you always squeeze in a run. Give them a try.
Here’s a cool video on creating a travel itinerary with a free excel template to use. You can use this to create a daily plan your travels, being sure to incorporate a run into each day (or however often your running schedule dictates).
3. Consider getting a treadmill
Whilst running on a treadmill is something I don’t do or always recommend to people, I think they are a good option for some people with very busy lives.
I love running outside, whatever the weather or time. Rain, wind, sleet, sun, morning, afternoon or night; running out in the open is the best.
However, some people easily get put off when it starts raining or it gets too late. Unfortunately, these people that get put off by these things are the people that tend to not go for their run.
If you’re someone who doesn’t like the idea of running in bad weather or when it’s too late at night, getting a treadmill might be the option for you. Of course, there may be times when it’s just not practical to run outside on the roads full stop i.e. when it’s icy and it’s a blatant hazard to your safety.
A decent treadmill can be purchased for a few hundred pounds, dollars, euros, or whatever currency you use. Once you have a treadmill, put it in a spare room or workout space in your house and use it whenever you don’t feel like going outside for a run. This means you’ll always manage to squeeze in a run, regardless of what the environment is doing.
4. Join a running club
Okay, this one isn’t about being smarter with your timing schedule per say. Instead, it’s about adding more importance to running as an activity so you see it with more value and are more likely to prioritise running. If you prioritise running, you’re more likely to squeeze in a run when you need to.
Clubs are great ways to ensure commitment to a particular cause. A club is a group of people united by a common interest who usually meet on a regular basis i.e. once or twice a week.
Signing up to a running club means you’ll be committing some of your time once or twice a week to running.
If you’ve joined a club that runs on Tuesday and Thursday nights, you’ll be more motivated to show up and run to not let those in the club down.
This is particularly effective at ensuring you always squeeze a run in when you start getting to know people in the club. The running community are a friendly bunch and you’ll make lots of friends at a club in no time.
Having friends to turn up and socialise with is another great reason joining a running club is great for ensuring you always squeeze in a run; you’ll be more motivated to turn up each and every time.
5. Run during your lunch break
Okay, this one has two important points that I need to make you aware of before we get going.
The first is to only consider during lunch breaks if there are showers available to freshen up and get changed in. This is mainly for hygiene reasons, but it’s also for your own good. You don’t want to run at lunch, not shower and then meet an important client in a sweaty and smelly state. That’d be quite gross for the people you’re meeting.
The second point is to not substitute it for eating lunch for running. Lunch is an important meal and it shouldn’t be skipped. It provides your body and brain the energy and nutrients it needs to keep you working efficiently throughout the afternoon.
If you skip eating food at lunch for a run, you will be setting yourself up for poor mental concentration and possible health consequences like feeling light-headed. If your method of always squeezing a run in is to run during your lunch break, make sure you eat still eat food at lunch and have access to showers.
Okay, now we’ve got those two important points out of the way let’s talk about why running during your lunch break is a good idea.
By law in most countries, workers are entitled to a lunch break which is usually between 30-60 minutes. Some people use this time to go on their phone, chat to mates, get some fresh air, read a book or whatever else they fancy doing. However, the lunch break time can also be utilised to ensure you always squeeze a run in.
Since you’re going to be at work and on a lunch break anyways, it’s a great time for a busy person to squeeze a run in.
Running during your lunch break can be good for socialising too. Some organisations have healthy workplace initiatives where employees meet up and run during lunch. You could even take a proactive approach and ask colleagues if they fancy joining you on lunchtime runs. This can be great for catching up on important work-related matters, getting to know colleagues on a personal level, all whilst getting the run-in.
Using your lunch break for running is also a great way for getting you fired up and ready to take on the world, particularly if it’s been a slow start to the day.
Of course, you’ll have to remember to pack your running gear and a change of clothes each day you go running during the lunch break. If you’re super organised, you can bring all the necessary gear with you at the start of the weak and put it in your workplace locker (if you have one) so it’s readily available when needed.
Running during your lunch break can be a great way to always squeeze your run in. Be sure to give it a try.
There you have it. Five practical tips for ensuring that you always squeeze a run in. I hope you’ve found them useful and wish you all the best on your process to becoming the best runner you can be.