Time Management Tips for Race Training

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | running tips

Apr 07

Do you have a busy schedule and struggle to find time for race training? These time management tips will help you balance it all!

I am so excited today because I am co-hosting the Tuesdays on the Run Linkup with April at Run the Great Wide Somewhere, Erika at MCM Mama Runs, and Patty at No Guilt Life!  Since I am wrapping up my training for the Cherry Blossom Run and looking forward to training for the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon, I thought it’d be great to share and learn some time management tips on how to balance life while training!

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time management trips for race training

Time Management Training Tips

If you’ve ever trained for a race, you probably learned quickly that it easily takes up a LOT of your time. With warming up, cooling down, stretching, and cross-training, not to mention running itself, you’ve basically got a part-time job!  It’s so important to balance training with your regular life, and while it can be challenging, there are some tried and true methods that make it a lot easier!  Check it out below!

Evaluate Your Goals

How serious are you about your upcoming race?  Is this a fun run, are you shooting for a big PR, or are you somewhere in between?  Are you coming back from injury?  Knowing your goals for your race will tell you how much time you’ll need to dedicate to your training.  For example, when I trained for the Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon last summer, I was running 3 days a week since it was my first half marathon in nearly 2 years due to past injuries, and I didn’t want to push myself too hard.  For the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, I’ve been running 4 days a week.  I’m hoping that the extra time I’m taking to train will pay off when I reach the finish line!  When you know how much time you’ll need for your goals, you can schedule accordingly.

This is my “I’m in serious training mode” face

Write It All Down!

Now it’s time to make your schedule.  Do you use a planner?  Keeping a running journal is extremely helpful not only to monitor your progress, but to get a good gage on your time management.  I work with a running coach, and I record all of my training runs on Final Surge, which is awesome!  My coach assigns my training runs, and when I complete them each week, I upload the data and add my own comments.  Each week tallies how many miles and how much time I spent running, which is so helpful!  It’s also easy for me to move around my runs to better accommodate my schedule.

My training calendar on Final Surge.  Very helpful to keep track of my runs!

But there are so many other ways that you can keep a log of your training.  You just have to find what works for you.  Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Runkeeper
  • Nike+ Running – a really great app that I use year-round
  • Google Calendar – I still place my runs here so that I don’t forget
  • Blogging – I do it every week!
  • Simple Pencil and Paper! 
You may also like:  Rock 'N Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon Training Weeks 9 & 10

Set Your Priorities and SHARE Them

Once you know what your goals are for your race, you have to set your priorities between training and everything else!  The bottom line is this: sacrifices will have to be made.  It’s important to let your friends and loved ones know how important your training is to you, and that you may not be as available as you normally would be.  And don’t feel guilty about that either!

Sometimes training for a race can be an isolating experience.  Maybe your family doesn’t understand why you’re always out the door heading for a run.  Try to see things from their point of view and make sure you’re not using your training as an excuse to be distant from difficult people or situations!

Let your loved ones be a part of the experience whenever possible.  Push your child in the stroller on one of your easier runs.  Invite your friends to cheer you on at your next 5K.  Post training photos and share your accomplishments on Instagram or Facebook!

Bret saved me last summer during my RnR training runs!

Bret saved me last summer during my RnR training runs!

Make Yourself Flexible

As much as you may try to schedule your day down to the hour (I know I have done this SO many times!), there will always be something unpredictable that will throw off your training – an impromptu night out, a rescheduled appointment, terrible weather, or a sick family member.  Everything can’t be planned.  Sometimes, believe it or not, training has to take a backseat to “real life”!

One way that I try to prevent these situations is by reviewing my racing schedule at the beginning of each week to see where I have room for flexibility.  For example, this week I had two runs scheduled for Monday and Wednesday as part of my taper, but since there is rain in the forecast for most of the week, I need to move my Wednesday run indoors on the treadmill after work.  I know that this will get me home later than usual and will impact where I’ll be able to park my car when I get home.  It’s a small sacrifice and somewhat inconvenient, but I’m getting my run done no matter what!

Here are some other ways that you can stay flexible and stay on track with your race training:

  • Split up a long run over 2 days
  • Squeeze in a run or workout during your lunch hour
  • Move a morning run to the evening or vice-versa
  • Keep a set of running clothes at work or in your car

Race training can be one of the most rewarding experiences you have as a runner, and managing your time effectively will provide huge dividends at the end of the day.  Hopefully, you’ll find these tips useful when you start training!  What are the strategies that you use to keep your life balanced while training for a race?

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