This, and some minor variations on it, is the sentence I have heard the most in the past 25 odd years. Not only as a reason not to start running at all but also as a reason to skip runs.

Nowadays everything in life is scheduled, from work, daily chores, kid’s extracurricular activities, meetings with friends, gym classes, etc. Well, almost everything… The majority of people who (want to) take-up running look at it as something that is not really important and can fit in-between other (scheduled) activities.

Manage your time

In 2017, people worldwide spent an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes on social media per day. That makes almost 16 hours a week. going out for a one-and-a-half-hour run 3 times a week would still leave you with over 11 hours of social media weekly or 1 hour a 35 minutes a day.

Since everything else in life is scheduled, why not set time aside for running and share that information with the people around you, your family, friends, co-workers, etc. Make it YOUR time. This might imply missing out on after-work drinks, or part of your favourite tv show.

We all know intrinsically that exercise is one of the most important things we can do for our health and we need to make it a top priority, but it’s easier said than done. People who make exercise high in their list of priorities are generally the ones who manage to fit it in. They understand the connection between physical fitness, health and mental wellbeing.

When we have enough time, we usually manage to fit exercise in, but when we get busy, exercise is the first thing that gets pushed aside, because it’s not deemed as important. But running is one of the best ways to help us deal with stress and overwhelm. Yet the time when we need this the most, is the time we tend to short-change ourselves.”

Run Together

Running together can be looked at in 3 different ways and all are beneficial in getting your runs done.
The first one is the most obvious, run together with other people. This might be co-runners from your local training group, or it might be some friends that you convinced to come along for a run, or even family members. Why not go for a run on a Friday evening right after work together with your partner. Go home, take a shower, get dressed and go out for a meal. It would be a perfect run-date.
Secondly, you can run together with yourself and just have some “me-time”.
Enjoy your run, forget about everything that happened that day and re-energize yourself.
The third option is to combine running with other hobbies. If you enjoy reading, download some audiobooks and listen to them while you’re out for a run. The same goes for listening to podcasts or music. Make your runs as enjoyable as possible.

Make running a priority

Whenever you plan your week ahead, put your running (or other sports activities) down first. Then you start filling the schedule with everything else. If there is a time conflict, don’t delete the running, but move it around. In the end, you will notice that there is always some time for a run.

By Gert Rijkx, founder and head coach of Jayaruwan Running and Independence Pacers Running Club Colombo. Former athlete and certified athletics coach with over 25 years of experience in coaching, training and motivating runners of all levels