An inner athlete's manifesto.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fit Your Run In

We've all been there, wanting to cry and punch ourselves in the face after a long day of work or procrastination; time slips by us, soon it is midnight, and all we can think about is how we missed another day of running.

Why is it so hard to make time for something that makes us feel so awesome? Well, there are only 24 hours in a day. Whether laziness or uber-busyness is your personal culprit, there are a few ways to get in that run.

1. Get Up Earlier: This is by far the suckiest, yet most successful option. Who actually wants to get up earlier? No one. I like sleeping in, and I never want to leave my bed. To do this, you must remember that the most difficult part is simply going to be not returning to your bed after you get up and use the bathroom. DON'T DO IT. Put your running clothes and shoes on as fast as possible and never look back. I recommend trying this option two days a week at first, right in a row, and shoot for a half hour run on both days. Ease into it. That way you don't feel as traumatized. I also think 6:30am is the magical number for people who have night jobs, or go to bed late. You can always take a nap later on in the day, and as long as you get at least six hours of sleep, you'll be able to get up. Getting up early, running in the crisp, fresh dawn air, and dealing with less sounds and people is truly relaxing. Give it a few tries, and you will enjoy it. Just remember to eat sometime light before you go out, or you will feel zapped of energy.

2. Carry Your Shoes Wherever You Go: You don't carry around things you don't use, do you? So carry your shoes in your bag all day as a constant reminder of what you have to make time for today--running.

3. Eat Right and Skip the Booze: The healthier your habits, the more healthy habits you want to adopt. It's like a domino effect. Each time I go on a big running kick, if I change my habits as well, I often train smarter and run harder. Eating better just naturally gives me a boost and makes me feel good even on days I don't run. Skipping the booze lends a big hand to Number 1, and falls right into line of being responsible for what you do to your body.

4. Watch the original Rocky, then go download the theme song onto your i-tunes. This kept me going for about 13 days straight once. I felt like a total badass.

5. Focus on a 15 Minute, Out-and-Back Route: This method is extremely successful for me on busy days. I wear my watch and head out the door, clipping at a decent pace for the first eight minutes. Wherever I am at eight minutes, I turn around and run back for the other seven. I use the same route every time I only have 15 minutes to run so I can see if I get any further within the 15 minutes. You can see a lot of improvement, and that is very satisfying, even if it is such a short chunk of time. Make your 15 minute run the best, most badass part of your day, and own it.

Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up if you don't get your run in. Just remind yourself of how important it is to do the next time. You can always justify reading, watching a show, taking time for yourself as mental training for any longer races you're training for--what else are you going to be thinking about during four hours of marathoning? I have definitely found it helpful to have a plethora of quotes memorized on those runs with longer mileage, but I also needed time at some point to memorize them. Do something great for your mind if you can't run, and again, don't be so hard on yourself. There's always tomorrow.