Finding the Balance
When it comes to life, finding balance can be challenging. I have always been a believer in the philosophy that espouses quality over quantity. Although, admittedly, history suggests that I was not always the best at implementing this approach. While more convoluted and nuanced then the following, the basic idea is to remove as many so-called “junk miles” as possible and for each run to have a “purpose” (base-building, recovery, anaerobic-stimulus, etc.). There seems to be a growing sentiment (especially in the marathon/ultra-marathon community) that to run (and compete) at these types of distance, one’s training must reflect a high-mileage approach, with the end goal of simply running as many miles as possible.
However, in my view, this is simply not accurate. I recently came across an article in Outside Magazine that supports this position. The article explained, backed up by interviews with two prominent ultra-running coaches, that you can run 100 miles on a marathon training program – again, quality over quantity.
In addition, there is also the practical reality that, for many us, running 15 to 20 hours a week is simply not feasible in light of other commitments. As a practicing lawyer, this is certainly true for me – indeed, simply fitting in a handful of runs a week is considered a success. This means I have to be particularly conscious of the need to ensure quality over quantity.
The purpose of this post is to share a few of the things that I try to do on a weekly basis to ensure that I meet my minimum running needs and maximize the running time that I do have.
Tips for Fitting in a Run on a Busy Schedule
1. Ready to Run:
At my office, I have about four pairs of running shoes and a couple pairs of shorts. Excessive? No doubt, but you get the point. While I often try to schedule in my runs throughout the week, the reality is that schedules change and when I have an opportunity to get out for an hour, I take advantage. In short, I try to be adaptable and always prepared to take advantage of a window of opportunity when presented.
This is a real time saver and one of my favourites – the ultimate in multi-tasking. Fortunately, I have some great options from my doorstep to my office that make my “run-commute” quite pleasant and largely traffic free. Either way, running to and/or from work can be an excellent way to fit in a run when you are tight on time.
Fartlek runs – “speed play” in Swedish – are a great way to ensure that you incorporate some aspect of quality into a run, even when you may not be feeling up to it. Many days (especially if I am running at the end of a long day), I tend to not have the mental discipline to commit to a particularly structured workout. Fartlek runs are a great way to let your body control the run, but also guarantee that you are able to inject some quality into the workout. Invariably, I always feel better at the end of a fartlek run compared to when I started.
In the end, the takeaway point is that running more does not always equate to running success. This, of course, is good news for those of us who have only a limited number of hours each week to lace up our shoes and head out for a run.
Kintec Race Team