Jeep Team's champion paddler Hank McGregor

There’s Always Time to Train


Come the end of the year and there’s usually a mad rush in the form of end-of-year closing, long working hours before going on leave, family get-togethers, last-minute Christmas shopping, and ensuring you have everything bought and packed for the holiday you’ve been planning for the last six months. So, while you might feel overwhelmed, there’s always a way to fit training into your hectic schedule.

The best way to approach training over the next two to three months is to actually sit down and plan. Look at the calendar, identify the days where you can or can’t train, and decide what session you will do on the days you’ve allocated.

If you plan your training and think about it up front, you know what you need to do and there’s a good chance that you will do it. On the other hand, if you’re waking up each morning and thinking, “what should I run today? Should I do a 10k or 800m repeats? Maybe I should do hill repeats. Ah, I’ll decide later…” then there’s a very good chance that you’ll simply end up skipping the session altogether. You’ll probably end up saying, “I don’t really feel like training today,” or “I’ll do a hard session tomorrow,” and before you know it January has rolled around, you’ve lost your fitness, packed on the pounds and have a huge amount of work ahead of you. So plan your training, put your run session into your diary or calendar, and you’ll find that you have the time for it.

If work pressure is simply too much, then you’re going to have to squeeze some training in where you can. Everyone needs to take a break at some point during their work day, so prioritise that time for a short quality run. Not only will this ensure that you keep your fitness levels up, but it will also rejuvenate you and leave you feeling fresh for the rest of the day.

The other possibility is to run to and from work. Now if work is only 5km or so away, a run there and back is perfect – and it definitely beats sitting in traffic! But what if you work 10km from home? In that case, try the following. On Tuesday, drive to work with your running kit and a change of work clothes for Wednesday, then leave the car at the office and run home after work on Tuesday, and run back to work on Wednesday morning. Take the car home on Wednesday evening. Not only is this a great way to fit your training in, but it also adds something different and adventurous to your training. (Oh, and shower facilities at work are must-have on this one.)

If you’re going to supper at friends or family, tell your spouse or partner that you’ll meet them there and run from your house to theirs. Your spouse can always drive the same route you’re going to be running, just in case you’ve bitten off more than you can chew and need a lift for the last few kays. Another option is the gym, as most gyms are open until 10pm during the week. If you simply cannot get to your run before, during or after work, try going home and spending some quality time with your family before hitting the gym and getting in your run on the treadmill. Set it to between 1% and 5% incline and give yourself a solid 30 to 45min session.

You can always fit your running into your busy lifestyle and schedule. Just give it a little thought and planning and you’ll come up with many creative ways to do so. If you’re dedicated to your fitness and goals, then scheduling training will become a priority.