Training for a half- or full marathon means weekly long runs. As a full-time worker who also travels frequently, I am sometimes challenged to fit these runs into my week. Now that I’m running the Boston Marathon in 2015, getting my training miles in is top of mind. Here are a few ways to help a long run fit into a busy life:
Option 1: Weekend run
This is the easiest option, if you can do it. Plan your long run for Saturday or Sunday, and go in the morning or afternoon as you prefer. I like doing long runs on Saturday so I don’t have to worry about enjoying myself Saturday night or getting up early on Sunday. Unfortunately, travel may make the weekend run impossible during a given week, which means it’s time to explore other option.
Option 2: Weekend-adjacent run
If you can’t run on the weekend, the next best thing may be running on Monday or Friday, adjacent to the weekend. Friday tends to be easier for me, since I can sometimes block some work time to get in a late afternoon run (and then return to work after). If you don’t have the option to work from home like I do, it might be easier to run in the morning so you can shower before work.
Option 3: The mid-day run
This is another one that works best if you work from home, although many offices have shower facilities. Sometimes my work schedule permits a lengthy break mid-day that is just right to squeeze in the long run that couldn’t fit over the weekend.
Option 4: Break it up
This is not my favorite option, but it’s better than not getting the miles in. Consider breaking your long run into shorter segments you do on the same day. For example, run seven miles before work and another seven after. You could argue that this gives you a different type of experience running on tired legs, although I would also argue it doesn’t offer the challenge of continuous mileage.
Option 5: Step it back
The marathon training plan I followed for LA incorporated step backs for every third long run. You shouldn’t do this too often, but if it’s really hard to fit a long run in during a specific week, consider making it a step back week where you reduce your long run mileage. Just make sure you are doing the full long run the week before and after (and obviously, this is more critical for marathon training than for half training).
I’m always looking for ways to mix travel, work, and leisure, so would love to hear your thoughts too. How do you fit long runs into a hectic life?