Businessman on Start Line of Running TractOne of the questions I am asked quite a lot is ‘how do you find the time to train?’ This is always going to be a problem for us endurance types, as whereas the casual jogger can get by on a couple of short 5k runs a week, the kind of events we do tend to demand that we run or walk for hours and hours in preparation.

In fact it can put some people off endurance events altogether, but that’s a real shame. Look- I get it. Just when do you find the time to train when you have a full time job, a couple of kids and a spouse who doesn’t share your endurance interests and demands that you spend time with them (I mean, just how unreasonable can you get!?)

I understand. Ok I may not have the spouse and kids, but I have the full time job plus two very demanding and attention seeking kitties.

Please don’t let your commitments force you to give up on your endurance dreams, as that would be such a waste… I want to tell you that it is actually possible to squeeze in training and still have a life. I am going to share with you some handy hints I’ve picked up- most I’ve tried, some I haven’t.

Train early. I must admit, I have not done this as it takes me all my time to prise my bulk out of bed when the alarm goes off, but my sister is an endurance cyclist and she regularly gets up at 5:45am, goes to the shed at the bottom of the garden for a workout on the turbo trainer (a nifty device that turns your road bike into a stationary bike) before showering and sorting everyone’s packed lunches out. If you are a morning person you can fit in a work out whilst everyone’s still in the land of nod.

Train smart. Make your workouts shorter but tougher. Try interval training or do hill reps- turn up the intensity and make yourself work. A shorter, tough workout can actually improve your endurance fitness better than just doing the long, slow runs.

If you have young children and can’t leave them to go out for a run then consider buying a piece of exercise equipment such as a treadmill, elliptical trainer or stationary bike. That way you can work out in the comfort of your own home when the kids are in bed or doing homework- heck you can even get fit while you’re watching Eastenders (if you really must!) Just try them out before you buy as some can be quite noisy and waking up the household would be counter productive.

Have a family or partner? Suggest walks or cycle rides together and make it fun, but make it more difficult for you- wear a heavy rucksack, put your bike on the little wheel or wear ankle weights. That way you get to spend time together and still do a training session.

Use your lunch break. Most of us get a full hour lunch break at work but do you actually regularly take it? Well now’s the time to reclaim it. An hour is just long enough to fit in a quick gym workout or run, but if you don’t have access to a shower then just a brisk walk can make all the difference. You’ll probably avoid that mid-afternoon slump too!

I know that endurance training is mostly about the long walks, runs and hours on the feet, but every little helps and any exercise counts and keeps those muscles working. Get a little creative; instead of ringing or emailing a colleague, can you walk over to them? Take a regular break from typing or staring at a computer screen and go for a brisk march around the car park. Use the stairs instead of the lift; where I used to work we had to climb four flights of stairs to reach our office and two to three times a day I used to leave my desk and walk to the bottom just so I could run all the way up!

Try parking further away so you have a bit more of a walk, or get off the bus a stop or two earlier. If you live near enough consider walking to work.

It’s quite easy to find the time to train for your next endurance adventure- you just need to have a little imagination and determination!

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