A major knock against people picking up running as their activity of choice is that it takes too much time. Between warming up, running, cooling down, and stretching, a normal training run could take at minimum an hour out of your precious 24. If you’re passionate about running and activity and also work a full-time job and want to spend even a modicum of time with your family, friends, and loved ones, it’s important to keep your time managed and balanced between all aspects of your life. For anyone struggling with finding the time to manage your daily work, daily workout, and still have time for all of the other people and pleasures in your life, there are a variety of tips that we here at Charge have learned from years of experience that can help keep that see-saw level day after day.
First, don’t think of it as a see-saw. Ignore my analogy above completely. A see-saw denotes that while one side flourishes, the other falls. Allowing yourself to think in negative correlations will automatically limit your ability to enjoy all of the elements of your day completely. Instead, think of it as a workout (see what I’m doing here?). A workout is structured and linear; it allows for certain variations (effort versus pace, indoor versus outdoor), and each respective step in a workout leads you to the next part, building off of each other in mutual promotion until you reach the goal. Coming to that end produces a ton of pride, joy, relief and ultimately exhaustion (bed time!).
Next, throw out a bit of your perfectionism. There’s a lot of specificity in running and training. Getting things exactly right can be key to staying injury-free and getting maximal physiological development. However, when trying to fit in time to be social, uphold the rigors of your job, and enjoy your running, allowing things to be slightly less than perfect can be the relief that you need. It’s okay to do 35 minutes versus 40 minutes of running, especially if that extra 5 minutes will allow you the time to get to a movie with friends or to work a bit earlier to earn an earlier exit. If anything, training included, is done safely and smartly then it doesn’t have to always be perfect. Everyone has a day when things just don’t break their way, and on those days don’t be afraid to be a bit imperfect so that you can go ahead and really get the most out of what you have ahead of you.
After that, start small and build your way up. A little bit of trial and error to get your schedule to be properly balanced is inevitable. Start with small changes and additions and work your way up from there. Instead of trying to fit in 90 minutes of running, 30 minutes of lifting, 2 hours of family fun time, a 1.5 hour pottery clinic, 8 hours of work, 30 minutes of pleasure reading, and time to eat and sleep every day of the week, start on a smaller scale. Maybe take days off of lifting when you have your pottery clinic or decrease your run to 60 minutes during week days and add some time on the weekends. It’s all about finding what works best for you and for the sake of your sanity don’t try and do it all at once right away. Slowly build your way up to full schedule capacity, just as steadily and smartly as you would build your weekly mileage.
Finally, live in the moment while keeping a basic routine. Note that some things should absolutely be consistent parts of your routine and should be planned out for the future—sleep and food/nutrition being the main ones for everyone. However for a lot of your daily activities allow yourself to live in the moment and be present during them. Enjoy your seminar on oceanic currents while you’re there, have a blast playing paint ball with your friends, revel in your culinary skills during your Malaysian cooking class. Whatever you’re doing, make sure that you live in that positive, enjoyable moment and don’t stress too much about how it may force your schedule to be a bit more packed that day or necessitate some flexibility and adaptations. If something comes up that is fun and will make your day a bit brighter, it’s okay to reschedule your run. If your run is in fact that thing that will make your day brighter, then by all means get out there and enjoy every step of it, no matter what has to happen later!