The Running Dad – fitting it all in

All of us have to make choices about where we allocate the minutes and hours of our days. Work and family clearly consume a good chunk of that time leaving relatively small opportunities to do hobbies or other activities. For me blogging obviously takes up another part of the day (and can consume every evening if you let it), there’s a bit of gardening and home maintenance in there, dog walking every day and maybe even some time to actually talk to the lady of the manor occasionally.

Which means for this running obsessed dad I have to work hard to get my daily fix in. I love running, I really do, but can I justify going for a run instead of spending time with my children for example? Difficult to justify that to yourself long term unless if you want to be any sort of real parent.

Barbury castle trailThis leads me to, what is for me, the only real conclusion. Exercise early in the morning before anyone else gets up. It’s perfect, I take the dog so he gets exercised too, the children never really notice that I’ve gone and I get a quality run in while most people are still tucked up in their beds.

It’s definitely not easy dragging yourself out of bed at 5.40am every day come rain or shine, putting a head torch on in the dark winter mornings so you can see where you are going. But on days like today it’s just fabulous. Mother nature puts on one hell of a show as the sun rises and the mist slowly clears from fields. We see deer, rabbits, hares, pheasants and cows most of which Bracken will attempt to chase.

Best of all you have this all to yourself, your own private country estate.

While I’m not obsessed with running particular distances or times, I do like to use Runkeeper to keep track of the exercise I’m doing. It appeals to the finance person in me who likes a nice graph and also to see whether I’m doing enough total mileage as I train for the Scotland coast to coast in September. I’m now doing close to 30 miles a week and having built my fitness up will start adding in some longer runs at the weekend that should push me over that.

Runkeeper graph

I’ve set a goal of running 1000 miles this year, something which helps motivate me to consistently train and not loss momentum as the year progresses. I’ve done 400 miles so far so well on track and feeling really good for it, not sure what 1000 miles really¬†signifies but it’s a nice round number isn’t it?¬† When I started running regularly again at the start of this year losing weight wasn’t a prime objective. However it is a nice side effect, so far I’ve lost over 16lbs which is really satisfying. But more importantly I feel good, I feel strong and fit. All those back problems from the last 18 months seem like a distant memory and I know full well that mentally running is really good for me too.

So what are you waiting for? Think you don’t have enough time to exercise then you’re wrong. But you do need to be motivated and imaginative in how you fit running into a busy day. Getting up early is my solution but I’d love to hear how you’ve managed it. Do you literally do the school run? Or fit it into your lunch times perhaps?

9 thoughts on “The Running Dad – fitting it all in

  • I’m so not a morning person! or a running person really. We do love walking though and try to do nice long ones when the weather is nice. The pictures from your runs are really beautiful and great inspiration!

  • My husband’s reached the same conclusion. He books spinning classes at crazy hours because otherwise we just would never see him. My exercise is walking at least an hour every day (usually more), carrying a heavy toddler on my back!

  • Great to read this. As a fellow runner I too get up very early to go running and people think I’m mad! But it’s the only way to have any sort of time with your family.

  • Yep, ditto, but I think you already know that. I like to get up at 6 and go down to our garage where we’ve got a few things and get a good workout in before I need to wake my daughter and do all the daytime stuff. I find that it is simply too difficult to fit it in any other time. And yes, I love the early morning when it’s all mine (ok, I share it with my husband who also gets up to exercise!). I’m in a garage, but I can imagine out running in the fresh air–especially this time of year, is really beautiful!! It’s a great way to start the day.

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