Our Readers On Carving Out Time To Run

Our readers weigh in to answer Team WR’s question of the month:

What are your best strategies for squeezing in workouts around your kids’ (or your own) school schedule?

“I’m no stranger to getting up in the dark to train before my son wakes up, but there are days when sleep is more important or I have more flexibility. Because every day seems to be different, I start the week by looking at the calendar and actually writing in my training plan for each day. When I plan to wake up early, we pack lunches and backpacks the night before. On days with after school activities that I’m driving to, I sometimes run out and back from the school while my son is busy, or I’ve run laps with strides and fartleks on the sports field while he was at soccer practice. Now that my son is older, we run together after school, and I can use our runs as my day of recovery or lighter training. The key is to be creative with your options, plan ahead and let it go if the workout simply doesn’t happen.” —Kristina Pinto, health and wellness counselor, author of Fit & Healthy Pregnancy, Bolton, Mass.

“Finding time to squeeze in workouts between my busy schedule was a lot easier for me because of how much I love working out, so it never felt like a chore! My favorite tip is to write it down in your planner–if it’s squeezed in between class and work, and it’s written down like the rest of your day, you’re less likely to cancel. Writing it down helps make it official!” –Laura Macchiavelli, spin instructor, Berkeley, Calif.

“Since my son’s school is only three and one-half hours long and is a 15-minute drive from home, I try to utilize every minute of his time at school by wearing my running clothes to drop him off and running in a park a couple minutes from his school instead of driving all the way home or to the gym. From there, I have several routes: a long run, hills, a trail run and a flat loop perfect for tempos and speed workout days. There is even a flat, grassy area near where I park that I use to do drills, strength exercises, stretches and roll out. It also starts and ends at beach bathrooms where I can quickly get cleaned up and changed before returning to the school for pickup. If I run with his siblings, I bring the stroller along and make sure to leave some time for the playground at the end of the run.” —Susanne Volk, stay-at-home mom of three, San Diego, Calif.

“If I’m training for a longer distance race (half marathon or longer), Bart Yasso’s book, My Life on the Run, has training plans based on a 10-day cycle rather than a seven-day cycle. With work and kids, it’s easier for me to schedule the long runs, the speed work and the rest days when I have more days to choose from.

“I also remind myself that if I work eight hours and sleep eight hours, I’ve still got eight more hours in the day. Running is great in that it doesn’t take a ton of time to get a good workout. If I have half an hour, I’ll do speed work. If I have more time, that’s when I can work on endurance. If I have to miss a day, I don’t beat myself up.” Nicole Howe, design admin and mom of two, Maryville, Tenn.

Related:

Motherhood Made Me A Smarter (And Sometimes Faster) Runner

Mother Runners On “Mom Guilt” And Finding Time To Run

4 Runner Moms Share The Best Advice They’ve Received