Some days, you're absolutely sure The Rolling Stones had it all wrong. Because when it comes to getting in your run, it seems that way, way too often "Ti… ii… iime" is not on your side. Survey after survey reveals that lack of time – whether actual or perceived – is the biggest barrier to getting in
a run or running as much as we would like. Well, we feel your pain. And we’re here to help.
The way we see it, time problems fall into three categories: making time (questions of when, where and how); saving time (little dos and don'ts that add up to serious savings); and re-thinking time (new ways to examine the relationship between your running and the time you need to do it).
We’ve pulled out 35 of our can't-fail time-management tips . If you're a Runner's World UK magazine subscriber, you can see all 35 here. Otherwise, enjoy these 10 as a preview - and if you want to subscribe, you can save 30% right here.
1 Make time in your schedule for a run every other day with your most important client – yourself. Do this first thing, at the start of the week, before the blank spaces start filling up with other priorities.
2 Get the most out of what you have. Several times a week, think quality, not quantity. Finding time for a 20-minute run – outside, or on a treadmill, wherever – can be pretty easy. Just make every minute count. Alternate one minute a little faster than 5K pace with one-minute recoveries. Or, one of my favourites, run four times two minutes at around 5K pace with 90-second recoveries. Do a two- to four-minute warm-up first and a similar cool-down afterwards.
3 Get an unexpected bonus! You don’t just get stronger, but leaner, too. Alternating fast and slow running not only builds running strength and speed, it also burns more fat. What’s more, according to a 2001 study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, alternating fast and slow running helps you lose weight faster than a steady pace effort.
4 Run before anyone else gets up, because nothing gets in the way of an early morning run. If rolling out of bed at 5.30am still doesn’t serve up the minutes necessary for the run you want, then…
5 Get up earlier, advises 1972 Olympian and running coach Jeff Galloway, “and have a stronger cup of coffee.”
6 Get a dog, because there’s no way to ignore a wet snout in your face saying ‘now, now, NOW!’ Having to exercise the dog will push you to get out in the mornings.
7 Swap your responsibilities. One morning, afternoon or evening, let your other half look after the kids while you run. The next day, reverse the roles.
8 Leave the children. Many gyms now feature in-house nurseries. In mine, staff link the kids together with some kind of rope, and lead them around like a band of tiny chain-gang convicts from one activity to another. The children think it’s hilarious. In 90 minutes, you can get in an hour on the treadmill and a 20-minute circuit-training session on the weight machines – an excellent all-round work-out.
9 Give them the run-around. While the children are playing football (or whatever), run loops around the outside of the field. "I do this twice a week," says mother-of-two Judie Simpson. "Once as a steady one-hour run. The second time I’ll pick it up on the long side of the field and jog the short side for 45 minutes or so."
10 Forget rush hour. Take your kit to work, and do your run from the office after work, while everyone else is spending a miserable hour in fingernail-gnawing gridlock. By the time you’ve finished your run – sweating, pleasantly tired, totally de-stressed after work’s rigours –the whole smoggy mess should have cleared out, and you can cruise home comfortably (feeling very, very smug).