Timing it right

Finding the time to train can be difficult. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Juggling work, family, horses, writing and studying has sometimes meant that I didn’t have time for a run.

When I set my PB challenge last year, I knew I needed to organise my time better. Instead of being casual about when I ran, I had to have some structure. Running had to move up my list of priorities.

Being a morning person, I like to get my trainers on and go. If I leave it until evening, that’s when the trouble starts. By then other things start to take over; it gets later, and the six mile fartlek I’ve planned may turn into a three mile jog, and there’s a chance I’ll not run at all.

As well as training in the morning on my own, I also joined a running group who train in the evenings. I have to be somewhere at a set time, which means I plan my day around the training. And, it’s working. I’ve not missed a session. Time management no longer seemed to be an issue, until last Friday that is.

My coach had planned a monster hill session: two sets of four reps up Smithies Hill to the traffic traffic lightslights. It would have been fine: meet at coach’s house at 6pm, jog to the hills, do the session, jog back, have a recovery drink and flapjack, drive home. But this particular Friday, Coach was recovering from an operation, other members of the group were racing or working or on holiday, so it was just Chris and me, which meant we had flexibility over the training. ‘We’ll run at 6pm like we normally do,’ I said on Friday morning. Despite the million and one things I needed to do, I was determined to stick to the routine.

Friday was a busy day. As well as work, one of the ponies had cut his leg, which needed cleaning and bandaging, then my sister rang asking if I could babysit for an hour. Then I’d got a writing deadline, paperwork which took longer than I thought, and a visit to my elderly grandparents. Six o’clock came and went.

I was annoyed we’d let it get so late. But after such a hectic day, I needed to run more than ever. So, very late on a Friday evening, when most people are in the pub, or in bed, we were powering up the hills of Smithies. I’d got to the traffic lights on my last rep when a man in a van wound his window down. ‘It’s a bit late for running,’ he said. ‘And, you look knackered, love.’

I’d climbed 790 feet, covered six miles (Chris had done seven). I was bent double, gasping for breath, sweat pouring out of me. Plus, it was so late it was nearly Saturday. I managed to raise my head and nod. He had a point, our timing wasn’t quite right, but I’d already made a mental note to get out earlier next week. With the best will in the world things don’t always go to plan, but at least I could go to bed knowing that I’d done the session. Timing isn’t always everything.

How do you find the time to train?  I would love to hear your views. Reply to this post, or find me on Twitter @championrunning.

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