For the past three years I’ve been working two jobs, one full time and one part time in the evenings. My days have been consumed with work, often burning the candle at both ends.
The problem with working 16-hour days is that you get very little time to yourself. No time to relax or reflect, let alone run. The time that you do get is spent sleeping or comatose in front of the TV. Energy levels seem at a constant low and the only thing to stop you falling asleep is a never-ending supply of caffeine and sugary snacks – not the best diet for a runner.
Of course I’m not the first person to work long hours, and I sure won’t be the last. But if you struggle, as I did, to gather the momentum to lace up and head out for a run, I hope that the lessons I’ve learned could go some way to helping you too.
- Become a lunch-time runner
If your workplace is fitted with showers then this could be the best way to add mileage to your week without impacting on your evenings. A 30-minute run should be enough to get three or four miles on your legs, plus you’ll be back in time to take a shower and grab a healthy snack.
- Run to work (or home)
As above, if your workplace has shower facilities then running to work is a great way to start your day. Releasing endorphins into your body, you’ll feel energised, sharp and ready to face whatever the day has in store. It’ll also give you time to mull over your schedule and could provide much needed clarity over big decisions.
Alternatively, if you don’t have accessing to a shower, take your fitness gear to work and go for an after hours run. Leaving your clothes in a locker and taking them home the following day really isn’t a problem unless you’re looking for an excuse.
- Make time in your schedule
16-hour days leave very little time for running, granted. However, if like me, your second job involves an aspect of freelancing; ask for a lighter schedule on one or two nights per week, or squeeze extra work into other nights. This will free up the extra time needed to head out for a run.
Once you’ve turned your one or two nights off into a routine, both you and your employer will know the score and what to expect.
- Sleep smarter
In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ve always figured out that there are 24 hours in a day, you sleep six hours and have 18 hours left. Now I know there are some of you out there that say well, I sleep eight hours, or nine hours. Well then just sleep faster I would recommend.” Once you’ve watched the whole video, I guarantee that you’ll lace up for a run.
- Get a running buddy (or join a club)
It’s all too easy to turn down a run in favour of a cup of tea and an evening of movies on the box. One of the best ways to combat this is to get yourself a running buddy. He / she will not only provide you with added safety when running late at night / early in the morning, but you’ll both motivate each other – it’s hard to let down a friend after all.
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, why not join a running club? You’ll get all the motivation of a running buddy on a much bigger scale. There’s a good chance that your running will come on leaps and bounds too.
- Quit your job
It’s a bit extreme, but if you genuinely have no time to fit in a thirty minute run (that’s an episode of Eastenders), then perhaps it’s time to address your work-life balance.
I hope that these lessons will help to change the way you think about the 24 hours in your day. If you’ve got any tips that have helped you, I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.