Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Six Tips: Training + Time Management

Hi everyone!  Today, I decided to join in the Tuesdays on the Run linkup with Janelle, Patty,  Erika and April because it's a topic I have a lot of experience with: time management.  I've learned a lot about what to do (and what not to do).  I'll be sharing my top 6 tips for staying organized and fitting in your workouts even with the busiest week.  I hope that my past mistakes will help you avoid some of the same pitfalls!  If you have any good time management tips, please share below, and make sure to check out everyone linking up to see more tips!

marathon training and time management


1.  Be organized.
The most important (and easiest) way to be in control of your training schedule and  improve time management is to be organized.  This might mean downloading an app for your phone, getting a wall calendar, or purchasing a planner.  I've tried all of these, and a planner works the best for me.

time management tips

I recently bought a planner from a shop on Etsy, and it's already helped me to stay more organized with my blog, work, and exercise.  This first tip is essential for the rest of my suggestions, so read on!

2.  Write down any commitments/ vacations/ appointments first. 


These are dates that can't be moved, and that you'll have to plan around.  Instead of using this as an excuse to skip workouts like I did in the past, now I just make these constraints for my plan.  Now I know which days or times I won't be able to exercise, and I can pick another time to go!

Running and exploring in D.C.!
If you're planning a trip in the middle of a training cycle, use this as an excuse to explore the area!  I love running in new places, so I'll research ahead of time some safe places to run.  You can also check out local running groups, who are always happy to host someone from out of town (and usually let you run with them for free!).   If you'd rather use this time to enjoy a rest and take in sights, that's fine as well.  Plan your schedule around this trip, and you'll still be right on target to hit your goals.

3.  Schedule gym classes and don't skip them.  
My gym has a set schedule for all group classes, and I pick out which classes I like the most and the time that work for me.  For example, I like taking one yoga class, one strength class, and one spin class a week.  I find that going on Tuesday and Thursday at 6PM and Friday at 6AM works best for my schedule, so I write all of those classes down in my planner.  I also have to register for my spin class online, so I make sure to do that once registration opens up. Once I schedule classes, I stick to those times and make that commitment just like I would a meeting at work!

4.  Pick a plan that works with your body and schedule.  
One of the most important things you have to decide is what plan you want to follow.  Some people like running 5 days a week, others can only handle 3.  Do some research and pick whatever plan works best for you! (some of my favorite resources are Hal Higdon, Runner's World, and Jeff Galloway)

half marathon planning

Once I have a plan, I schedule in my runs for the week based on what works best for me.  A running plan is just a starting point- you can change it and customize it to best fit you!  Since my classes are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, I pick Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sundays as possible running days.  It's also important to schedule rest days!  I write all of this in my planner, and similar to my gym classes, I commit to the plan unless something unavoidable happens.

5.  Work out in the morning (if you have to).
Although it's hard getting used to morning workouts, it can truly be a lifesaver in a busy lifestyle.  There are some days that I know I will have absolutely no time to squeeze in an hour-long class or go for a run, so I just set my alarm a little earlier and get it out of the way before work.  Waking up is the hardest part, but once I'm awake and working out, I'm glad to be getting it out of the way first thing in the morning!

how to work out in the morning
Workout complete before the sun comes up!

Once I'm awake, I make sure to have a glass of water, and eat something fast that can be digested quickly (cereal bars and bananas are my go-to).  A bit of coffee might also help you get a jolt of energy - just don't drink too much or you might have to make a pit stop!

6.  Plan running/workout outfits night before.
At 5:00 in the morning, the last thing I want to do is search all over for a running outfit or try to find matching socks.  The same goes after work- I'm exhausted and will find any excuse to just stay home and watch Netflix.  To eliminate excuses, I make sure to pick out an outfit to wear to the gym or for my run (with multiple options in case the weather changes) the night before, as well as headphones, Garmin, socks, shoes, and anything else I might need!

time management and running


The most important thing to remember if you're busy and want to make exercise a priority is JUST DO IT- and make it count!  If you only have an hour, don't waste half of it procrastinating, then the other half full of junk miles.  I've learned that the hard way, and suffered through many horrible races.  Now that I eliminate my old excuses and just do it, I feel healthier, more energetic, and stronger.  You can do it!!


Linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!
What tips do you have for time management?

27 comments:

  1. This is all such great advice! Having your workout clothes set out in advance is definitely something I do and just makes things less stressful in the morning! I had trips to DC and Anaheim, California during my training and I loved it because it gave me an excuse to run somewhere new! And I love that planner!

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    1. Thanks Janelle! DC is such a great place to go running, and I'm sure Cali was great too! Thanks for hosting and stopping by :)

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  2. Great tips! I'm always finding excuses not to work out, but I think if I could plan a little better, I'd have better results. I think having it all planned out the night before and not bending, would make things a little easier than wasting time figuring out what work out to do. Also just having the clothes picked out would eliminate a procastinating step. Love this!

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    1. I'm glad this was helpful for you, Carissa!

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  3. I always have a calendar and I wrote down my training schedule for my first half, and I haven't looked back. It helps me stay on track and plan around vacations when they're coming up.

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    1. I wish I started doing that from the beginning! It's so much easier to plan and stick to it.

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  4. Great tips! I am a huge fan of prepping all your running gear the night before. For early morning runs, I usually have no problems coming up with excuses to not go. What a difference it makes when you don't have to go digging through your entire dresser in the darkness to find a pair of running socks!

    By the way - I see that you live in Pittsburgh! My husband was born and raised in Pittsburgh (and still roots hard-core for the Steelers and the Penguins, even though we live in Chicago). He still has a lot of family there, so I go to Pittsburgh at least 3-4 times a year with him. It's such an amazing city!!!

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    1. That's so awesome! I love it as well, and I'm glad you like it! Chicago is a great city as well..I loved it when I went a few years ago and I can't wait to go back! :)

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  5. We are planner twins! :) It surprises people that I am a paper calendar person, but if it's not written down in there I don't end up doing it. Great advice!!

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    1. Yay!! I love this planner! It's so fun. I'm glad you liked this! Hope it helps :)

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  6. I have got in the habit of writing everything down in my planner. This has helped me stay organized and even more focused because I can see what I need to do each day and then cross it off the list as I complete it!

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    1. Planners are so helpful! I'm still getting used to writing everything down, but I absolutely love it :) Crossing things off is the best!

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  7. I couldn't agree with you more on #4 and #6, not that I don't agree with you on all of them lol. #4 is extremely crucial. I often hear of people who pick a plan and set the bar too high setting themselves up for failure. Everyone is different and has different training needs. It is most important to pick a plan that is right for you...I am also a night prepper, it's one of the few things that actually makes getting up at 5am any easier lol. I'll also prep and pack the night before even if I am doing and evening run or workout. This ensures that I don't forget anything the morning of since I am prepping in a normal routine :)

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    1. You are so true about everyone being different! I'm glad that you agreed on those two points- they're probably my two favorite tips :) Thanks for stopping by!!

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  8. Planning out my workouts is so important to getting them done with as crazy as my work schedule is. Great tips! Thanks for linking up with us today!

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    1. Thanks April! This was such a fun linkup :)

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  9. Good ideas! (I like how you plan meals too!) I'm not training but I definitely need to use some of these. I need to put working out in my planner and just suck it up when I don't feel like getting up early.

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    1. It helps so much! Once you get in the habit it becomes second nature. I don't even think about it anymore. Hope this helps out :)

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  10. Great tips. I have a good routine and plan around gym classes too!

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    1. It helps out so much! Planning is so much easier now :) Glad you liked the tips!

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  11. Great tips. I also love paper planners but for some reason, last year was the first year where it didn't help me at all. I'm not sure why - maybe because my husband and I use iCal to plan things (I'm a little embarrassed to admit this). He is allergic to writing anything down, so the best way to get him to remember anything was to add it into our shared calendar. I guess since then, I've transitioned to something online. :)

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    1. Hah I know what you mean..Dan won't write any thing down either and wonders why he always missed events. I might have to use your method!

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  12. Bless! I just got stuck in a place where I forgot ALL of these things. I blame Spring Break (too much laziness). :D <3

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    1. Hahaha! I hope this helps you out! And yes, spring break can do that to you :)

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  13. My workouts go on the calendar as if they were a doctor's appt. They aren't skipped and they're non-negotiable. As often as possible, I plan my calendar around around workouts instead of the other way around.

    Great tips! Thanks for linking up with Fitness Friday!

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