minutes per mile blog

how to “make” time for running & exercise

I often have people tell me that they would love to run more, but they don’t have time to. Unfortunately a lot of us have demanding jobs that limit the time we have available to work out. Or people have families/kids they have to look after, meaning there’s no time to get outside for a jog. Or they’re “just not morning people” and can’t wake up early to exercise (I don’t understand) :) . Anyways, I have a few pointers on how to “make” time for running and exercise, so if you or a friend are looking to find more time for fitness maybe these tips can help!

1. Wake up early and get it over with. I’ve written a number of posts on being a morning person so I’ll keep this short! Working out in the morning is a time-saver because there’s rarely anything else that can come up and distract you at 5-6 a.m. while the rest of the world is asleep. Also, since you go straight from PJs–>workout gear–> real clothes/makeup/hair you save yourself from having to get changed/showered twice, as you would with an evening workout. I also know a lot of couples who tag-team morning and evening workouts so that one parent is home with the kids. Efficient! Related: 8 ways to become a morning person

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2. Fit it in over your lunch break. I had one job where our building had a small gym and showers we could use. It was amazing! If I missed my morning run I could head down and do a few miles on the treadmill over my lunch break. Although my current job doesn’t include that perk, I’m still able to get outside and go for a walk over lunch. Thanks to Anne for explaining why taking a lunch break is important

3. Focus on HIIT/speed workouts. If you’re pressed for time, a short workout is still better than no workout! There are tons of 15-20 minute high intensity interval training workouts you can find online that will kick your butt in no time :) . Here’s a photo of me dying during a 15-minute WOD at CrossFit 615, for example. Related: Tips for becoming a faster runner // 500 ab workout (<– this will hurt in about 10 minutes)

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4. Work out at home. If you need to stay home to watch kids (or watch a loaf of bread in the oven, like I often do!) an at-home workout is a big time saver. I also work out at home sometimes when I don’t have the extra 10-15 minutes it takes me to drive to and from the gym. Just clear some space in your living room and grab some heavy stuff (like actual weights if you have them. Or bottles of laundry detergent, bags of dry beans/rice, anything purchased at Costco also works) to get started!

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5. Make fitness a priority before non-urgent tasks. I’m very much a delayed gratification/rip-the-band aid-off type of person, so I typically tackle my to-do lists in order of most difficult to least difficult. If you generally don’t look forward to exercise, put it first on your list of things to do and make it a priority before tasks that are easy or tasks you know you’ll do. For example, you probably know that you’ll check email/eat dinner/call your friend no matter what. Plus, you can do those tasks at just about any point in the day. Put your run first so that you can go when the timing is right and knock it out with no excuses! Related: 5 tips to boost your running motivation

6. Run with your kid/spouse/family. If you can’t run because you have to be home with your family, see if they will join you! I don’t have any jogging stroller experience, but I hear it’s a great workout :) . I do have a husband and I make him ask him to run with me often! Related: Running & relationship tips

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7. Outsource your chores. If you can save a little cash to invest in a cleaner, meal delivery/food prep service, or other sort of life hack that saves you time to do the things you love, do it! We hired a cleaner about a year ago and I think it was one of the best decisions we ever made. Anthony and I have about three extra hours on the weekends to sleep in, go for a run, do yoga (or at least think about doing yoga), read, etc — all of those little things that make you a much happier, healthier person in the long run :)

What tips did I miss? Tell me how you make time for running/exercise in the comments!

2 thoughts on “how to “make” time for running & exercise

  1. I’m like you–I usually get up at the butt crack of dawn to run, but lately I’ve been doing a lot more Hiit/circuit/strength workouts since I’m sort of burnt out on running and life in general… 😜 I love an evening bootcamp class. In general I start by blocking my workout first in my day, then planning everything else around that.