Q+A: I'm a gym instructor. How can I run too?

Our experts answer real-life questions


Posted: 9 September 2002
by Bud Baldaro

Q How do I fit running around my job as a fitness instructor? I take several classes every weekday, except Thursday, and find it really hard to fit in more than two or three 40-minute runs a week. I really want to run a half-marathon, but how can I make the best of my time?

A All runners need to manage their lifestyles effectively, but in your case it’s probably even more important. Have you considered doing some shorter runs before a couple of your aerobics classes? That way you might be able to fit a few more runs in each week. They don’t have to be at a hard pace, but a nice steady three or five miles will be of some benefit. You’ll certainly be well warmed up for the classes!

Do this and you can concentrate on fitting in what we call your ‘quality’ sessions on your days off – Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. For instance on Thursday you could try four or five miles at a pace faster than the runs that you do before your classes. You could even try this as a ‘tempo’ run – running at the pace you think you could race that half-marathon.

On Saturday, try an interval-type session of shorter bursts of running with a timed recovery between each burst (eg 6-10 repetitions of distances between 400 and 1000 metres). These don’t need to be flat out, but at a pace faster than you do for your longer runs. Follow that up on Sunday with a long, relaxed run – eventually running at least half-marathon distance, and if possible a couple of miles more.

I’d plan your training schedule at the start of each week, as it will help motivate you and show you that you can fit it all in. Of course, the fitness you gain from your aerobics can only benefit your running, as does the strength, mobility and flexibility. I certainly think a half-marathon is a realistic goal if you try to incorporate some of these suggestions into your week.—Bud Baldaro, coach


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