Working full-time while trying to maintain a regular running schedule is difficult at the best of times. But in 2021, trying to stay active while balancing stress, family, and the newly restrictive nature of an (almost) post-pandemic world, “difficult” doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Most people will find that time management is the biggest challenge when it comes to exercise and work commitments. If you’re working remotely (like 32% of the rest of the world is), chances are you’re struggling to separate work hours from personal hours—an issue that persists for many remote workers across the globe.
Even if you’re one of the few that still heads to the office every day, managing the tightrope between fitness and work responsibilities comes with no shortage of challenges.
Whether it’s the kids that need dropping off at practise, your boss Zoom calling you every other hour, or the pile of laundry that needs throwing in the machine the minute you arrive home, striking a healthy balance in life really isn’t a walk—or a run—in the park.
If you’re struggling to find time to release all that pent-up energy through the powerful practise of running, this article is for you.
Let’s look at some of the different ways you can start to incorporate regular runs into your busy lifestyle without compromising on mental or physical health.
Plan Your Running Schedule
While you’ve likely already attempted this one, it’s worth a second try.
Schedules can be difficult to follow, especially when the issue is time management. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stick to one with enough determination at your side.
Before getting too overwhelmed by your already jam-packed schedule, spend some time looking at your weekly calendar.
Take note of any 30-60 minute time gaps that could potentially get filled with a run. Even if it’s just once or twice a week, having it calendarized can help you to see it as more of a tangible plan than a hopeful whim.
Actively scheduling in your running will cement the idea in your mind and encourage you to be more deliberate about using that time for fitness.
If you don’t schedule it in, chances are that by the time it arrives, you’ll get bombarded by a million other things on your to-do list.
Be Creative With Your Timing
When planning out a running schedule, it will probably feel most natural to pick times of the day you’re used to setting aside for fitness or leisure. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that approach, it can be limiting in terms of what’s realistically achievable.
If you’re struggling to find time for running, it’s probably because all of those familiar time slots are currently filled with other tasks or responsibilities.
Instead of looking in all the usual spaces, try to be more creative and flexible in the times you choose to spend getting those steps in.
Rather than feeling frustrated that you can no longer run in the mornings due to school drop-offs or compulsory meetings, consider finding time at night or in the afternoon instead. After all, adaptability is the key to progress!
Seize The Moment(s)
Sometimes, planning can be futile.
Despite our best efforts, life can sometimes feel like a never-ending carousel that waits for no one. However, adopting a more spontaneous streak can help you adapt to the chaotic nature of this world.
Instead of trying to cram 15 minute runs into an already jam-packed day, waiting until a moment naturally arises can mean you get the most out of your session. All without sacrificing any extra time to work or leisure activities.
Now, it’s not likely that moments like these will arrive very often. But when they do, you’ll know exactly what to do: seize them! This can make for a fun, organic relationship with running that never feels pressured or constrained by your other responsibilities.
Appreciate Every Run
When you do manage to escape the house for a hard-earned run, make sure to appreciate every moment you can get. Notice the scenery, the people, the breeze and every other little detail you can absorb. This will make for a highly rewarding running experience.
Because you aren’t able to go for as many runs as you would like to, trying to appreciate each and every little moment spent doing what you love will help to reinforce your relationship with this form of exercise. Plus, it will encourage you to make it more of a priority in the future.
For many people, running is about taking your mind off work or stress and focusing on the simple steadiness of one foot after the other. However, if you’re reading this article, chances are you’re no longer able to do so the way you would like to.
It’s time for some smart time management and a bit of compromise.
Even though the idea might put you off at first, using your running time as simultaneous work time could be the only way for you to get your legs pumping on a regular basis.
By slipping in your earphones before a run, you could catch up on pre-recorded Zoom meetings or have Siri read aloud unread emails. This way, you don’t come home feeling like there’s still a mountain of work to get through.
While this isn’t the ideal way to spend your running time, it could be the only way for you to stretch your legs without being overwhelmed by other responsibilities.
Remember: Every Step Is Progress
While attempting to reintegrate regularly running into your weekly schedule, it’s important to remember that progress doesn’t happen overnight.
There are probably many extremely valid reasons for why you’ve had to put your favourite sport aside over the past while. And bringing it back into your life is going to be a slow process.
Try to find solace in the fact that each time you manage to break away from the house to engage your body and mind in running, you are taking one step closer to returning to optimal physical and mental health.
Every session is a reward, and every step is progress.