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I run everyday with rare exceptions — even when I’m traveling for work, which is fairly often. Marathon season is upon us and I get asked a lot about how I carve out the time. My schedule has always been dynamic, even pre-kids, but now smart planning is essential to getting anything important done. Exercise is no exception.
Running started as a way to relieve stress and has transformed my life for the better. Once I made the commitment to daily exercise I wove it into the fabric of my routine.
Here’s how I set myself up for daily running success:
- Schedule it. Morning is my ‘Plan A’ time for running, ideally before my children are awake. After many years of (unsuccessful) experimentation with ‘lunch time’ and ‘after work’ I’ve learned that the best way to run daily is to do it in the morning, when I mostly just contend with my desire for sleep.
- Check your calendar the night before. It seems obvious but make a quick check of your calendar a part of your pre-bedtime routine. It’s amazing how often something unplanned (i.e. that dentist visit you scheduled 6 months ago) or sudden (mandatory department meeting called for 9 am) can change what you expect your day to look like. Plan your wake-up time accordingly.
- Have a “Plan B” running time. I know, everything was scheduled ‘just so’ and then life happened. No worries, you have your ‘Plan B time’, for me this is after dropping off my son.
- Wear your workout clothes to bed. I feel you wincing… so unsexy…but believe me, if you have to fiddle around to find a sports-bra and running clothes in the dark wee hours of the morning without waking your partner and children, you will realize how brilliant this move is! Not to mention, strong is the new sexy! I also put everything I don’t wear to bed (fleece, headband, socks, etc.) under the bed in an easy to reach spot.
- If you like to run outside, also have a “Plan C”. Unless you live someplace with consistent, beautiful weather (unlike Boston) you will need a foul weather back up. For me, it’s a gym located a short walk from home and a treadmill at home (worst case scenario). Then the inevitable snow/sleet/rain/wind/ice storm that comes up will not threaten your run.
- Get a running stroller. If your child or youngest child is a baby or toddler, a running stroller is a must (after they’re about 8 months old). I love my BOB stroller and it’s a big part of my weekend running routine.
Exercise, was the most popular stress-reliever shared by Moms in the most recent Mom’s Hierarchy of Needs survey.
My children, as babies, were often lulled to sleep in the bouncy chair watching me run on the treadmill and there have been desperate days where I have run with my youngest, bundled in about 3 layers of clothing, through the freezing rain to fit the workout in. Like introducing any new habit, you’ll need to experiment to figure out exactly what schedule and back up processes work best for you.
What are you waiting for? You’ve got this!
Questions? Thoughts? Challenges? Please leave a comment and I’ll respond. Please join the mailing list for updates!