I don’t have the time to run.
            If only I had a dime for every time someone said that to me, I could buy a new GPS watch.
            There was a time when people believed that new technology would make life easier and create more leisure time, but everyone seems busier now than ever before.  Training time often dwindles down to a few precious hours a week, and hopes of properly preparing for a marathon are quickly crushed.
            It doesn’t have to be that way.  With a little planning and creativity, you could not only get in your weekly runs, but even train for that marathon you’d been hoping to sign up for.  Here’s how.
            Obviously, the biggest issue is scheduling, so first figure out what your key workouts are and when you can do them.  If you no longer have the luxury of going for a run every day, it would be unrealistic to plan to do that.  But if you target the most important runs, you can find that you can be as fast and strong – or more so – on fewer running days.  As I explain in Smart Marathon Training, intensity is more important than sheer volume.  If you can’t run every day, make each run count. 
            Long endurance runs will probably have to be on your days off, so build your program around that.  Here are options for your other workouts:
            1. Get up earlier and run. If you need to get up at 5 or 6, it can be done.  I do it, as do my training partners, and you’ll be surprised to see how many other runners you’ll see out there at that time. It takes a little getting used to, but the best part is that no matter what happens later in the day, you’ll have gotten your workout in (which is why I hate to schedule my runs for after work — I’m tired, hungry, and not in the mood then, and if a work emergency comes up, I can’t do it anyway).
            2. Go for quality over quantity for mid-week runs. An intense 30-40 minute tempo run once or twice a week could really improve your speed and fitness, without taking up too much time.
            3. Figure out how to run-commute to work. Find out if there is a locker-room/shower facility that you can use, or join a nearby gym. In a pinch, wash up in the restroom. Bring in clothes once a week and leave them at work, and if you have a long commute, park/metro miles away and run the rest.
            4. Do a stairwell workout.  This can be a great and convenient way to build explosive power, improve running from and economy, and to do a relatively low-impact alternative to running. It’s also time-efficient; an intense workout takes just 20-30 minutes.
            5. Two-a-days. Split your workout into mornign and evening runs. The benefits will almost be as good as one long runs, and you might even be able to sustain a stronger pace for the two runs than you would be able to hold for one long run.


About horowitzrun

Jeff is a certified running, cycling, and triathlon coach, and is the author of "My First 100 Marathons" (Skyhorse Press 2008) and "Smart Marathon Training" (Velo Press 2011). An obviously addicted runner, Jeff has run at least one marathon in every state and on 6 continents, including marathons in South Africa, China, Bangkok, and Antarctica. Jeff is available for group, one-on-one, and virtual coaching. Options include: 1. Basic Training Plan. This includes a customized training schedule geared towards a goal race, with a detailed running schedule that would include all distances and target times for each workout, including speedwork, tempo, and endurance sessions. 2. Complete Fitness and Race Plan. This includes the plan listed above, plus the non-running workouts and drills that runners need for better overall fitness and performance. You would get strength & core workouts, as well as run-specific training drills and stretches. 3. Virtual Coaching. This includes all of the above, implemented on a week-by-week basis. We review each week's progress at week's end so that adjustments can be made. The program is tailored to suit you right up to race day. It involves more contact, on a weekly or even daily basis. 4. Full Coaching for athletes in the Washington DC area. All of the above, plus a weekly workout together including speedwork, drills, and strength training. 5. Individual track sessions. One-on-one track-based workouts. Contact Jeff for pricing.
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  1. Kimberly / says:

    Great ideas here! So that I have running partners, and motivation to finish my long runs, I start my Saturday long runs at 5 and meet up with my group at 7. I get my miles in and and have people with fresh legs to push me through the final miles.

  2. David Dobson says:

    Great ideas Jeff! Thank you for updating this blog so frequently. I am doing a good job fitting in my runs and strength workouts. I am having a hard time finding more than 1 day a week for a longer bike ride. I have had too many close calls on the roads, so I ride a hybrid on our local Greenway system. I am still getting a great aerobic workout while balancing out the legs. Usually my week is 2 quality runs, 2 strength workouts, and then a long run and ride on the weekend. Obviously I can up the intensity to shorten the bike workouts, so that I can fit them in….but you like cross training to stay around6-7 RPE. Any ideas? Thanks so much!


    • horowitzrun says:

      Thanks for your message, David. While I do like using moderate intensity rides to build an endurance base, that’s not a law of training — you could also do your rides at a high intensity to raise your lactate threshold, and rely on running alone to build your big endurance base. You might also consider breaking up your ride into two shorter ride
      s that you could do on the same day — the training effect will be just about the same as doing one long ride, but it might be logistically easier for you to manage. Good luck!

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