Struggling to fit in your workouts? Here are some tips.

Let’s face it – life is busy. Whether your regular agenda includes loads of homework, housework or job work, you have a lot going on. Your desire to run is great but your responsibilities are even greater. Making time to run with an already busy schedule requires some creativity and a whole lot of commitment, but it can be done. You don’t have to spend hours a day training to achieve your running goals. Here are some excellent tips to help you squeeze in running with an already busy schedule.

Treat Your Workouts Like they are Appointments

This is one of the best ways to ensure you get your runs in. If you tell yourself you will run when you find time, you may never get your run in. There is almost always something that will come up and the day will be over before you know it. To ensure you are able to get out of the door (or onto the treadmill) for a run, treat it like an appointment and schedule it ahead of time. Write it in your planner, set an alarm on your phone for the time you want to lace up your sneakers and stick with it. You wouldn’t show up late to a work meeting, so approach your workouts with the same mentality.

It may be beneficial to check the forecast the night before in the event that inclement weather may force you to adjust your running “appointment” time.

Focus on Quality Rather than Quantity

Although you may have friends who log 50 or more miles on a weekly basis, you do not need to run that many miles (not even to train for a marathon)! There are more ways to train for a race than reaching for the stars in terms of mileage quantity. In fact, focusing on quantity is not even the best way in some cases (if adequate sleep and recovery time are interfered with in order to attain high mileage goals).

Instead, focus on the quality of your workouts. If you can only run three days a week, have a long run, an interval workout and an easy to moderate run. You do not need to run more than 30 to 60 minutes per run if you are deliberate in purpose. Seek to add more intensity to your workouts rather than miles.

Prepare the Night Before

Take time to dig out your running clothes the night before, regardless of what time of day you plan to run. If you plan to run on break at work, pack your bag the night before. Have a pre-run snack ready and make sure your phone is fully charged (or take a charger with you to work to plug it in ahead of time, thus eliminating that excuse). If feasible, go ahead and prep a post-meal snack as well so you can refuel quickly after your run.

Know It Is Okay to Miss a Run

If you miss a run for some reason, remind yourself it is okay and it does not mean your entire training plan is done-for. One or two missed runs will not ruin your fitness goals. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss an occasional run or throw in the towel altogether. Just carry on with your planned training and your body will make up for lost time!