Finding time to run

How to fit running into your busy life

There’s a report to finish, a deadline looming at work, it’s parents evening at school, you haven’t been to the supermarket for days, where do you fit in a run?

Sound like an all too familiar list of excuses not to get your trainers and head out of the door?

All it takes is 30 minutes, three to four times a week; a maximum three hours a week for yourself and your health. Not much when you consider the time and energy you give to others or to work. The benefits are enormous. You’ll feel better, have more energy, sleep better, any extra weight will melt away and you'll have time to let yourself switch off all together.

Try the following ideas for fitting a run into your day:

1. Arrange to meet up with a friend to run; when it's an appointment you're more likely to keep it. You'll be amazed at how much easier it is running with someone else; it makes the time fly.

2. Get up earlier and head out for a steady 30 minute run. Getting out of bed early may require some willpower initially but it's worth it for the energy you’ll have afterwards. You'll sail though the day with a healthy glow, feeling virtuous for having done some exercise. Try building up to three or four times a week and you’ll be amazed at how good you feel.

3. Instead of driving, why not walk the children to school and run back home via a longer route so you're out for 30 to 40 minutes. If it is too far to walk, arrange to meet another parent at the school gate and set out from there for a run together.

4. Use your lunch break as running time. Think of the benefits; a break away from your desk, phone and email, leaving you more refreshed when you come back; boundless energy all afternoon instead of struggling to stay awake after a heavy lunch, and you'll be more productive. If you don't have access to shower and changing facilities at work find a local gym or leisure centre, they're usually happy to help. Alternatively try a brisk walk; you'll still be burning off the calories and raising your heart rate.

5. If you're short on time try running faster for a shorter time. You'll increase your endurance and strength while saving time. 20 minutes at a quicker pace will be just as beneficial as 30 or 40 minutes at a steady pace.

6. Pack your kit bag as you're going to bed in the evening, so that it’s ready to pick-up and go in the morning.

7. You don’t have to go out to run; invest in some gym equipment for the home and work out once the kids are in bed or while you're watching TV. It doesn't have to be expensive kit that takes up lots of space; a skipping rope or mini-trampoline will get your heart pumping and your legs moving.

8. Get dropped you off half an hour from home and run the rest of the way, or get off the bus or tube a few stops early. You'll feel great passing slow-moving traffic and you'll have more energy once you get home