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Finding Time to Run on a Busy Schedule

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    One of my favorite reasons to run is that you can do it anywhere, anytime. The only problem is that sometimes there simply is no time  to run. Challenges to your running schedule come from everywhere, whether it's work, family or other commitments that are getting in the way. And when life gets crazy, running becomes an understandbly low priority.

    Here are a few ways to help take on a challenging schedule that allow you to find time for running, even when life is crazy:

    Set a goal.

    Are you flirting or in a committed relationship with running? How committed are you? Have you set up goals for yourself? If not, it can be easy to skip a run in favor of something else. When I’m training for a race or committed to a weight loss goal, I’m motivated and committed to finding the time.

    If  goal setting is a struggle, maybe take a different approach or create smaller goals. Whatever method of goal setting works for you, having a strategy will keep your focus and allow you to find the time necessary to run.

    Find the time of day that works for you.

    Runners can be creatures of habit sometimes, but scheduling conflicts can get in the way of running at that perfect time for you.

    If you’re a morning runner, set your clothes and gear out the night before. If everything is laid out the night before, there’s less temptation to sleep in.

    If you run late in the day or at night, make sure you have a gym bag with you when you're out during the day. If you go home first, you may be tempted to check the mail or clean the house and then find you're all out of time for a run.

    If running in the morning or after work aren't going to work for you, what about running during the workday? This is where I get a couple of runs in each week. Look for gyms or park districts near your office. Chances are they might even partner up with your employer for a discount. This is a great way to save time and still get that run in. It also leaves you feeling refreshed and ready for the rest of the day.

    Know your routes
    .

    Have a couple of routes in mind when you’re short on time. If you’re leaving the house (or office) for a run but not sure where you’re going, you might be gone longer than you think.

    I have a couple of go-to routes in mind based on how much time I have. If I’m running in the morning, I have a 3- or 4-miler that I know allows plenty of time to shower, eat breakfast and still help with the kids.

    If I’m at work, I have a few routes ranging from three to six miles. It all depends on my schedule that day. I’m usually aiming for a run around lunch time so most days I can get in at least four miles.

    The key is to know and plan your routes accordingly. This allows you to focus on running and not on figuring out which direction takes you home.

    Partner up.

    If procrastination is your enemy, find a friend or join a running group that can hold you accountable and help you prioritize running.

    Sometimes we just need a little friendly push to see that we get our roadwork in. Plus, it’s a great way to stay social while staying fit.

    No matter what your schedule looks like, what remains constant is that we only have 24 hours in a day. The good news is that you have a few strategies to choose from to keep on track, to stay fit and to hit those running goals. When the going gets tough, keep on running.