Girls Run Wild

Running When You Least Expect It!

Posted on: June 14, 2011

Last week’s events put a wrench in my early half-marathon training days.  A dear family friend, not much older than myself, was lying in the ICU with a traumatic brain injury.  My non-working waking hours were being spent just trying to be there for the rest of my family.  I knew, however, that if I wanted to stay sane that I would have to tuck a workout or two into my day when and where I could.  Over the weekend I tried to catch up on life things that I had been neglecting – grocery shopping, house cleaning, laundry…but I also wanted to be able to spend time at the hospital and not take another hour or two out of my day to fit in a workout.

Which brings me to…running (and working out) where and when you least expect it.  Finding time to train can be a huge deterrent to race training.  However, if you get creative and show some dedication, clocking the miles won’t feel like too much of a burden on the rest of your life.  Some ideas on how to get your workouts in without screwing with your waking, sleeping, working, and social schedule:

  • Rise and Shine and Give Your Workout Your Glory!  If you’re already a morning person, it’s much easier to adapt to a morning workout routine.  Working out in the morning can actually provide a huge amount of energy to get you through your day.  The gym is generally less crowded in the early AM, which means more open treadmills.  There’s also something to be said for hitting a trail before the day has fully begun.  If you get your workout in first thing too you know that you won’t have to face a workout later in the day.  Or, if you really want to challenge yourself, work out in the morning and double up by working out in the afternoon.  This is also a way to get your mileage in, just not all in one run.
  • Do Not Go Home, Do Not Collect $200! Work out the minute you get off work.  Do not go home, do not go to happy hour, just go straight to the gym or find a running route near work.  Keep yourself focused on accomplishing your workout first and socializing after.  If you head home first, the chances of you losing motivation increase.  Try and eat an afternoon snack 1.5-1 hour before your workout.  This will help to keep you energized for a 5 mile run, a 60 minute elliptical session, or a spinning class.  Some people believe that working out in the evening might disturb your sleep patterns.  No one really knows for sure, and of course it depends on the person.  Just be aware that gyms can be very crowded with the post-work crowd.  Have some patience – or try to find a less crowded gym.
  • Plan It Out, Check It Off!  When you’ve planned out your weekly training workouts, you know what each day holds in terms of your training time and effort.  Having a full weekly plan ready Sunday night can help you to figure out how you’re going to fit your workouts into your daily schedule.  If you know you have to go to a meeting Wednesday evening, try to get that day’s workout in during lunch time.  If you know that Friday you’ve got a friend visiting from out-of-town, make that your rest day.  Check off each workout as it happens and keep a log of running time, distance, and other cardio/weight lifting achieved.  As you move forward you can really look back and see how much you’ve accomplished.
  • Workout When You Least Expect It! Picking up someone from the airport and have an hour to kill?  Go to the gym on the way or find a running path between your house and the airport.  Doing laundry?  Set your timer once the clothes are in the washer and run around the neighborhood until its dryer time.  Put the clothes in the dryer and continue running.  Making lasagne for dinner?  Do a 30 minute home workout while it’s cooking in the oven and you’ll have enough time leftover to shower and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

If you make excuses for why you can’t workout, it’ll be a lot harder to get to 13.1 miles!  So, what’s your excuse?

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