Learn how to apply motivation to set goals and make the most of your training time.
Written by: Kevin Beck
Time. This constraint puts a clamp on countless recreational running careers. Between work, child care, and sundry inescapable responsibilities, some people cannot realistically put in the training time they would like to; many cannot even run every day. Nevertheless, out of all of the limitations on training volume, this one seems to be the one for which people constantly offer advice on work-arounds: “Well, if you get up a half-hour earlier, that’s three or four miles right there.” “Just run at night when the kids are in bed.” “Can’t you sneak in a run on your lunch break and eat at your desk later?”
Sometimes, this well-meaning advice is applicable; at other times it merely invites problems. A lot of working Americans—not to mention stay-at-home parents of young children—are chronically on the hairy edge of sleep deprivation as it is, so the suggestion to rise earlier in order to get in a run may not be wise. This underscores the fact that there is a lot of interplay between the “functional” consideration of time and the recoverability issue discussed earlier in this series: If you have to legitimately fight to make time to run, then increasing your workload most likely implies cutting into necessary rest time and thus may not be helpful to your performances at all.
Still, depending on how important training is to you, how compliant and accommodating your spouse or partner is (as a coach of adult marathoners I have found it prudent to never, ever encourage runners to cross their mates by being gone too often on weekend mornings, even when a compromise seems reasonable), and your financial resources, you may be able to employ workable strategies in this area. If you have a treadmill in your home, for example, you can literally run while watching your child or children; a baby jogger presents a similar, less expensive option. Some of the options mentioned earlier—getting up early, running late—may in fact be useful, and these tend to be more palatable to both runners and their spouses if such habits are developed with the understanding that they’re part of a finite training cycle (e.g., a three- or four-month marathon build-up). And if you’re training for a marathon, since the weekend (usually) long run is the most important training run you’ll do every week, you may be able to work out a domestic compromise, if such applies.
In the end, though, many people simply run afoul of being able to put in the kind of training they read and dream about, because there are only so many ways to create breaks in a busy lifestyle. This is just reality, and in no way implies that running and racing cannot remain an important and enjoyable aspect of busy people’s lives, even if it means that some will forever wonder what heights they might have reached in a parallel universe offering thirty-hour days.Pages: 1 2