One of the most common responses I get from people when I tell them I’ve started running is “Oh gosh, I wish I had the time to run!” It makes me want to say “I wish I had the time, too!” Because, honestly, I over schedule the heck out of myself.
Right now I’m not working, but I’m home with the kids, which makes going running impossible without an at-home treadmill (which we have no space for) or a jogging stroller (which we don’t have). Plus we have mom groups, library story times, school pick up, errands, and, you know, just trying to spend some quality time with the kids.
On top of that, I’m in my last semester of grad school before I start student teaching full time in January (which will be interesting to see how I fit running into my new schedule ). So my evenings are filled with attending class, reading, writing papers, and all that school business. Plus I teach religious education one night a week. Plus the boy has extra curriculars.
With what little time I have already, I also don’t want to take that time away from my kids. It’s not fair for them to have me gone all the time with my other obligations PLUS time spent away from them doing something just for me.
To be completely honest, this was the main excuse I had for years as to why I just can’t start working out. I just don’t have the time right now and I don’t want to sacrifice time with my kids.
Then I started paying attention to Tracy at Sellabit Mum and her marathon training. She also does not want to take time away from her children and so when she does her long runs, she has to start them at 3:30 in the morning! I thought to myself, “if she can get up at 3:30 to run 20 miles before her kids get up, I can wake up at 6:00 to run/walk a mile and a half.” So I did.
I started getting up with Tim right as his alarm went off, doing my runs, and getting home right before he had to leave. As my distances got longer, I started setting my alarm clock for earlier times. As mornings got darker and the need to cross train arrived, I joined a gym 10 minutes from my house, meaning I had to plan 20 minutes of driving to my time at the gym.
All this leads to where I’m at now. I get up at 5:30 am four days a week (at least I’m scheduled to do so, it doesn’t always work out that way) so I can get my booty to the gym, do what needs to be done, and be home by 7 am.
I keep my “longer” runs for Saturdays which does take some time from my family, but I try and incorporate them into my running. For instance, the boy has soccer Saturday mornings, so I help get them ready, then leave before them to run to the soccer field. They pass me on their way and wave and cheer me on. Then I meet them just as his practice starts and the rest of my day is for them.
Other times I’ll create a one-way route that requires them to pick me up. The kids get into it by watching for me, cheering me on, and giving me “treats” (Gatorade) at the end. I may even try making routes that end at a playground so we can spend time playing before I head home to crash.
So the short answer to how I have time to run is that I make the time. I sacrifice a couple hours of sleep in the name of fitness. Plus that hour I get to myself at the gym is actually fun! I get to get caught up on my TV shows, I can listen to whatever crappy music I want (read: not the Frozen soundtrack), and it’s an hour I get to dedicate to just me. And really, don’t we all need that time?
Now, this story will probably change completely once I start student teaching. I have no idea what my schedule will be, so I don’t know if morning workouts will be possible anymore, and I don’t know how tired I’ll be after working all day. But I do know that if I want that time for me and my running I have to consciously make it. Sleep be damned!