March 12, 2017
People often ask me how I manage to train for my races alongside everything else I have to do in my life. I am a single parent, I run a global business, I do CrossFit 2-3 times a week, I can normally be found working on a new book, and I travel a bit to give talks and of course run races…so yeah fitting it all in can be a bit challenging….but not impossible.
After having my daughter Rose in 2013 I realised if I wanted to keep on running, and do anything for myself, I would have to find creative ways of training, ways of multitasking. So at first it started off as walking long distances with Rose in the pushchair…so if I wanted to visit friends or family I would walk or run there.
I even entered a few races with Rose pushing the pushchair.
I once ran from Stratford where I live to Bank (6 miles) to buy a coat I had seen earlier in the week.
I would get up and do parkrun religiously on a Saturday morning while the baby was still asleep and in the care of Dad, and I would do lots and lots of workout’s at home when I didn’t have childcare.
When Rose went to nursery it gave me a bit more flexibility, and I would often run straight from the nursery gate and still be back at my desk showered and dressed for 9.30am.
Having races in the diary helps keep me motivated, because else my training would slip off my agenda.
In 2015 when I was training for the London Marathon I had to start getting really creative, as by this point Roses Dad and I were not really seeing eye to eye, and every training run had to be negotiated or caused some kind of logistical nightmare.
During the days she was at nursery and I had a day full of meetings, I would look at the locations of the meetings and work out if I could run to and from them. 10am meetings in Kings Cross were always a treat, with an 8am nursery drop off and 2 hours to travel the 7 miles along the canal and get myself cleaned up in the loos (Classy hey)
I often used to meet colleagues from England Athletics at the Royal Festival Hall, and run there and back, much to their amusement. Now I am sure they have seen their super fit, super running like folk run to meetings, but the sight of me doing so I think did make people a bit uncomfortable as I sat there red faced during the meetings snacking on flapjacks.
But the point is.
If you have a busy life and you want to be a long distance runner, you just have to get the miles in by any means necessary. You have to look creatively at your schedule and carve out time to do the mileage, even if that means doing things that other people think are strange. I know women who visit their in laws at the weekend and then run home leaving their hubby and kids for an extra hour while they cover some miles.
Many of my Clubhouse ladies are training for The London Marathon at the moment, and I am really enjoying watching their progress. The tips and tricks they deploy to get the job done.
- Sleeping in Kit
- Being dropped off 14 miles away from home with no money
- 6 mile loops with planned loo stops at home
- Runs to parkrun, parkrun, then runs home from parkrun
Like seriously, by any means necessary.
I am not training for a spring marathon. I find this time of year too manic in my business, so my attention has been on half marathons and then my distance will increase over the Summer as I prepare for the SpitFire Scramble and Beachy Head Marathon in the autumn.
However, next weekend I am running the Jerusalem half, which I am incredibly excited about. Training has been a bit stop start if truth be known, I know my body is strong due to the CrossFit I am doing, but mileage has been quite low.
So yesterday there was only one thing for it.
I was scheduled to attend the London Region of The Proffesional Speaking Association, of which I am a member. The day long event is held in Marble Arch and I have been a member for long enough to know that turning up in my running kit wouldn’t be too much of a problem.
I did get a few odd looks from new members, but actually it turned into a great conversation starter, and most people know what my speaking topic is, so I was just walking my walk…or running my run.
It was a long day though and by 5pm I was really dreading the run home.
I headed off and realised what a tough run this was going to be. Saturday night, Central London…with every bar and pub playing the rugby match…luckily I had my headphones so I couldn’t hear any of the comments shouted out as me as I passed many of them.
Through Shoreditch and Liverpool street, Whitechapel and Mile End…it was really really tough, and really really slow, mainly due to the amount of pedestrian traffic and the stop starting at traffic lights.
But all I kept thinking was
It doesn’t matter, I’m getting the miles in and its all time on my feet
2 hours and 17 minutes later I arrived home in East London in the dark having covered 9 miles exactly.
This morning I have woken up feeling amazing knowing my last long run is out of the way, and now I can just do a couple of shorter speedier sessions next week to keep my legs ticking over.
Plus, today I can stay indoors all day in my PJs and enjoy the peace and quiet before my daughter comes back from her Dads…a day to myself is something I rarely get.
Today I get to rest like a Kenyan…I will eat and sleep and dream about smashing those hills at my race next weekend. No rushing around , no housework, no just popping to the shops…I will let my muscles and my mind recover just like they need to.
So, next time you find yourself saying you haven’t got time…chances are it’s not time you are lacking but creativity…treat your training like a bit of a strategy game…have fun fitting the runs in, the crazier the logistics the better.