This time of the year brings with it a number of things: Hot days, afternoon and evening thunder showers (up north), shorts, T-shirts, slops and braais. But it also brings a little chaos! It can be very stressful time of year, and fitting a run into the mix may sometimes seem impossible, but there’s a will, there’s a way! – BY RAY ORCHISON
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. But, while you might feel overwhelmed, there’s still 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, 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. 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.
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 choice is to run to and from work, which definitely beats sitting in traffic! Or try driving to work one day with your running kit and a change of work clothes for the next day, then leave the car at the office and run home after work, and run back to work the next day. Not only is this a great way to fit your training in, but it also adds something different and adventurous to your training. (Shower facilities at work are a must-have on this one.)
If you’re going to supper at friends or family, tell your partner that you’ll meet them there and run there. Your partner 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 till late during the week. If you simply cannot get to your run before, during or after work, get 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 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.