6 Tips for Busy Runners

"I'm too busy" is a common reason why runners can't maintain a consistent running schedule or train for a race. If you're one of those people who find there aren't enough hours in the day, here are some ways to log some more miles.


Make running a priority.

Two women running on dirt road
Jordan Siemens/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Writing down everything you're doing in a typical week will also help you figure out what you're doing that you can really do without. Maybe there are some things you're doing that you're willing to cut out in order to make more time for running. Everyone's priorities are different, so it's up to you to decide what you can live without. I like to keep a clean house, but I definitely like running much more than cleaning. So I'm willing to sacrifice a perfectly clean and tidy house. Scrubbing the floors can wait -- I need to go for a run.

Also see: How to Make Running a Priority


Plan your runs at the beginning of the week.

Training schedule
Christine Luff

When you have a hectic schedule, if you don't plan time for your runs, they may never happen. At the beginning of the week (Sunday is always a good day for planning it out), look at your calendar and make time for running. It also helps if you make plans with a running buddy, so you're both held accountable. It's a lot harder to blow off a 6:00 a.m. run when you know your friend is waiting for you. And if you keep a regular running date, everyone in your life is more prepared to deal with it. So, for instance, the kids know that running with Michelle on Wednesday nights is just part of mom's routine.

Also see: How to Find Running Partners


Look for wasted time.

Treadmill running watching TV
PM Images

Track your time over a week and look for opportunities to avoid wasted time and squeeze in more running time. You may find out that you're spending several hours a week plopped on the couch watching television. Why not DVR your favorite shows so you could watch them a lot faster and use the extra time for a run? Or, run on a treadmill or do another workout while watching your favorite shows. If you spend a lot of time shuttling your kids back and forth to activities, see if you can arrange a carpool with other parents to save time. Or, try running in between drop-off and pick-up instead of wasting time driving back and forth from home.

Also see: How Parents Can Find to Run


Get your partner on board.

One training obstacle that people tend to overlook is an unsupportive partner. Your mate's resentment or jealousy may get in the way of your runs. Talk with your partner about how important running is for your physical and mental health. Have an open and honest conversation about what you both think is a fair balance between time spent training and time spent together. Good communication will help avoid future conflicts.


Don't think: "All or nothing".

woman on treadmill

If you don't have time to do the run you originally planned today, don't throw in the towel. Running two miles is better than running zero miles. You'll still get some benefits and you'll feel much better mentally for not skipping your running completely.


Practice healthy habits.

When I'm extremely busy, I find that some of my healthy habits, such as eating right and getting plenty of sleep, go right out the window. My poor nutrition and lack of sleep lead to low energy, which makes it much harder to get motivated to run. Try to eat a balanced, healthy diet and have your doctor check for any nutritional deficiencies. An iron deficiency, for example, can wreak havoc on runners' training because it can lead to feelings of sluggishness and low energy. Aim for 7-8 quality hours of sleep a night -- the right amount for most adults. Getting to bed early may even inspire you to run in the morning.

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