People are usually surprised to find out that I run about 20-25 miles per week. Their first reaction is inevitably, “How do you manage to fit that in to your schedule?” Staying active is a big part of feeling healthy for me and even though I’m working 60-80 hours per week and running this little corner of the internet here, it’s something that I make a priority.
Fitting running and workouts into a busy schedule is equal parts time management, creativity, and goal-setting. I’m so excited to share some of my strategies for staying fit even when I’m busy in partnership with the Jawbone UP24. I just started using the Jawbone UP24 fitness band in order to help me get in shape for the upcoming Nike Women’s Half Marathon and I’m excited to share my journey with you.
Click through for my tips on fitting workouts into your busy schedule!
Here are a few of my tips for fitting running and fitness into your busy schedule:
- Find your time: For me, this means waking up at the crack of before dawn to run because I know that I just can’t get my act together to run at the end of a long day. It’s never easy to roll out of bed when the alarm goes off at 4:15am but it’s dang near impossible for me to not come home and sprawl out on the couch with a plate of dinner at the end of a 12 hour day. One thing I love about the Jawbone Up24 is that I can chose a 20 minute window to wake up and it will gently vibrate to wake me up at the optimal time in my sleep cycle. This means it’s easier to get out of bed and I feel more refreshed.
- Ramp up slowly: The worst thing you can do is ramp up to your fitness goal too quickly. If your baseline is couch, don’t go from a three mile run to 10 miles the first week. A good rule of thumb is to not increase your mileage or the length of your longest run by more than 10% per week.
- Be accountable to someone: This doesn’t necessarily mean someone you run with. Most of my workouts happen alone since I run at such odd hours. It works just as well to have someone to check in with about planned workouts. Tell a co-worker you are going for a run after work and ask them to check in with you in the morning to make sure you accomplished your goal. I use my Jawbone Up24 to keep me accountable. I can use it to set activity reminders and I can make sure I’m meeting my step goal for the day.
- Mind the gap: If you’re a visual person like me, it may be helpful to actually diagram out your day so you can see where your free time is. You may be surprised how much unscheduled time you actually have. Commit yourself by actually penciling in a run.
- Have a route: I have a favorite running route that I can shorten or extend based on my time and goals for the day. Having a predetermined end point keeps me from throwing in the towel early and gives me satisfaction that I’ve accomplished my goal.
- Pick a goal: A girlfriend convinced me to sign up for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon (#WeRunSF!) and it’s really made me take my training up a notch. Knowing that I have a “judgement day” coming up motivates me to get off the couch because everyone is going to know what my finish time was. My Jawbone Up24 also allows me to set fitness goals and gives updates on my progress. I love to watch the steps add up after a workout!
- Take your running shoes with you: I never leave town without my running shoes. It takes up hardly any room to throw in a set of running clothes. This ensures that I keep up with my mileage and can enjoy those dinners out on the town without guilt.
- Make friends with dry shampoo: Think about how much time you spend washing and styling your hair every day. You’ve probably read in every beauty magazine under the sun that you’re not supposed to shampoo every day to keep your hair healthier. I started spacing my shampoos and use the time saved for a run.
- Find running shoes that fit: Especially if you are just getting into running, it’s 100% worth it to go to a qualified running store to get fit for the right pair. This involves running on a treadmill and sometimes getting video taken wearing different pairs.
- Cross train: You’ll get far more out your workouts and avoid injuries if you don’t run every day. That means throwing in a day of yoga or cycling here or there to use different muscles and keep from getting bored.
- 20 minutes still counts: It’s way better to sneak in a 20 minute run than it is to roll over and hit the snooze button. You’ll keep building that routine and 20 minutes is still more than enough time to improve your fitness. One of my favorite short runs is a set of intervals:
4 minute warm up
1 minute medium intensity, 1 minute jog
1 minute high intensity, 1 minute jog x2
1.5 minute high intensity, 1 minute jog x2
2 minute high intensity
3 minute cool down
Trust me, you’ll be thankful that it’s only 20 minutes!
- Give yourself permission to take a break: Even after all of these sage words of advice, part of building a consistent workout plan is knowing that some days it just isn’t going to happen. Every so often I just roll over and turn my alarm off because I know that what my body needs is more sleep and not a run that day. An injury is wayyy more of a setback than taking a day off.
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