Finding it hard to keep up with mileage demands? Finding yourself taking days off and skipping workouts?
If you want or need to run, but find much of your workout schedule daunting or find you don’t have the time you want/need to run… the key is to do a little bit of running rather than no running at all.
If your facilities, work attire, and the environment allow… go for a quick 1 mile or 2K run during a lunch break. This has the added bonus of priming the body for better nutrient absorption of whatever you ate for lunch, but it also gets you an easy 6-12 minute run.
If you commute home by bus or train, and you’re not carrying a bunch of stuff in a handbag… you can:
- Run a couple miles (or 3K-4K) to a different stop along the way, and catch your ride home there.
- If you commute to a suburban location from a close-by train station, wait until you return to your home station, then either run a couple quick miles/km near the home station before driving/walking home.
- Or if you commute from a suburban train station to home by foot or via bus, then run a couple miles/km along the way back home before going the rest of the way via normal means.
If you drive home, you actually have more options for how to get a post-work run in. You can actually change into gear before running. You can drive to whatever desired location you wish, like a park, or a quiet neighborhood more suitable for running.
If you drive home, you can pit-stop at a park or nice neighborhood, and get your quick run in there. Either go around a short neighborhood block or loop for however long you wish, or run off for 10-15 minutes before turning around and running back.
If you commute home via transit and you are carrying an unwieldy handbag or not dressed for any physical activity… I recommend you quickly Take Out The Trash, and by ‘trash’ I mean your temptation to be completely lazy and not run.
When we take out the trash, it’s a fairly quick and simple errand. It takes moments. You should have the same attitude for getting a quick run in on days you know you aren’t going to fully train.
Taking Out The Trash: As soon as you get home from work, drop your stuff, change into run-suitable clothes if needed, and immediately get outside for a 10-20 minute run. Force yourself to do it. Don’t think. Get outside, jog around the block a few times, then get inside.
Note for all of these scenarios that the above assumes you have no interest or intention of doing a full, scheduled workout. You are typically better off doing your scheduled full workout. But if you’re not feeling motivated to do it for whatever reason, all of the above are recommended alternatives.
Do what you can every day to get at least one such short run in, and you will guarantee you never run less than a few miles or kilometers per week. This I call your Running Floor. It’s your minimum base mileage.
Building a Running Floor also minimizes any loss of fitness from not running your scheduled workouts. A total absence of running more quickly atrophies your development than going on a run that’s far too short.
Perhaps you (heaven forbid) completely blow off your training schedule and get to the starting line totally undertrained. But if you’ve at least hit a Running Floor with a mile here and there every day… at least you’ve been running close to daily, even if that running was very short.
You may be closer to fit for your race than you think, though admittedly you probably won’t comfortably race anything longer than a 5K, or comfortably jog out anything longer than a 10K.
However, had you not run at all you’d be a total wreck on the course on race day. Running just a little bit every single day at least gives you a fighting chance had you missed most of your workouts.
And hey, if you actually complete a good portion of your scheduled workouts, you may be perfectly fit for anything shorter than a Half Marathon, even if you had missed several key workouts. Many toe the line at 10Ks running perhaps 3 days a week and thrash PR’s just fine.
For example, if you plan to run a 10K but miss half your workouts… yet still at least run a mile or couple kilometers on most other days, your body will be battle-tested for distance running. If you at least got in several of your 5+ mile (8K+) runs, you should have enough aerobic fitness to crush that race regardless of what other workouts you missed.
Habits make or break fitness. Do whatever you can to make the habit of running easy, so that even when you don’t feel like working out, you can still find the opportunity to get a little bit of running in. You’ll be glad you did.