I ran my first half-marathon in 2012 and I’m currently training for my third marathon. I also ride horses, go to the gym, work full-time and I still have a social life. In other words, I’m living proof that you don’t have to give up your busy work and social life in order to train. Here are my tips on how to find the time to train–and enjoy every minute of it:
• Be picky. There are several online training schedules. You can also create your own, or even ask a runner friend to help create a schedule for you. Just make sure that you opt for a schedule that allows you time to train and still live your normal life.
• Stay flexible. You may not always be able to follow your set training schedule—and that’s okay. My long runs are never on the same day each week. I keep a consistent day to day schedule (riding on a certain day, a workout at the gym on another day, etc.) and then plan my runs around whatever else crops up that week. For example—I don’t turn down invitations to Friday night social gatherings because I have planned to run on Saturday morning. Instead, I go—and make an early night of it so that I can still wake up the next day refreshed and ready to run. For other events, like regular Saturday brunch with friends, I know that I can run early—and reward myself with brunch afterward.
• Invite a friend to join you. Long runs are easier to look forward to when you have someone to run with. Invite a running buddy to share your excitement as you hit your “furthest distance ran to date” –and whine right along with you when you have to run eight miles in the rain. Can’t find anyone who wants to share your runs? If you have a dog that is full of energy, take him or her with you! (Remember to start your pet out slowly, and build up your mileage together.)
• Avoid surprises. If you ran the race last year, you already know that Mother Nature doesn’t always deliver “55 and sunny” on race day—especially in Kentucky, where the weather changes from one day to the next. Train in as many weather elements as possible (as long as it’s safe).
Whether you’re setting up a training plan, searching for a running buddy, or adjusting to your specific work and social life, it’s all about finding what works for you. Once you get a few races under your belt, your training schedule and runs will become part of your life schedule. Remember: Life happens, and runs happen. There is no reason that you can’t do both—and eventually earn your medal!