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What to do when life gets in the way of running

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

I’ve had a really hectic week at work this week. On at least three occasions, I’ve carried my running clothes and shoes to the office with me, but have been too busy to get out for a run. Outside of my 9-5, doctor appointments, physio appointments and just generally being tired have interrupted my plans as well. So what do you do when life is too busy to stick to your running schedule?

Cut yourself some slack: If you are swamped and tired, chances are you might not feel 100% in your sessions. Trying to push too hard might mean all that you achieve is making yourself more tired. You are probably better off backing off a little bit and feeling strong, then finishing feeling even more drained than when you started.

Do what you can, when you can: This one comes back to my mantra of maintaining the habit. As much as possible, take your opportunities to get a run in, even if it’s not as long or hard as you might have planned. It’s much easier to pick up again when life calms down if you have stuck to your routine. This week, I could have easily kept hitting the snooze button a few times, but got myself up for a short run when my husband was going. I also took the opportunity to do a couple of lunch runs with a friend at work. We run at her pace, but I enjoy it and think there is value in keeping up some consistency.

Cross train: If running isn’t an option, cross train if you can. As I’m typing this, a huge crack of thunder has me wondering if my plans to run when I get home might be interrupted by a storm. If that’s the case, I’ll most likely get on the bike my husband recently hired (very handy). That might not always be an option, but think about what options you might have to do some kind of cross training – get off the bus or train early and walk, do some skipping at home, go the gym if it’s available.

Tweak your weekend plans: This doesn’t necessarily mean to kill yourself to make up for missed sessions, that probably also won’t achieve much! But see what options you have to alter your weekend plans slightly, you could perhaps extend a run, add a recovery session (doesn’t have to be a run, you could swim, ride or walk), or increase the intensity of one of your sessions a bit, perhaps by adding some hills. You definitely need to fit this in with what you already had planned, again you don’t want to overdo it. But increasing things a little bit after a light week could be an option.

Recover: It might not be what you want to hear if you are mid preparation for a big race, but perhaps a busy week is life’s way of telling you to get a bit of R&R. It might reinvigorate you for the following week of training!

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