Generally I think that “not having enough time” is not an excuse for not running.  It’s about priorities and energy levels.  You can wake up 30-45 minutes earlier than usual, and you can usually squeeze that same window into a lunch-time or evening run.  My current frustration comes from trying to “up” my mileage from a comfortable ~45 miles a week to over 60 miles.  One hour runs fit into my schedule.  Just.  I wake up at 5 or 4:50 a.m. to get an hour in before the day begins.  The Day begins with my husband leaving for work at 6 a.m., so I have to be in the door by then so child services aren’t called on us for leaving a 5 and 3 year-old on their own.  Also, if I weren’t in by then there’s no way I could get three of us dressed, fed and out the door by 7:30 (I’ve tried to push the time window and it always lands me in a hectic mess, undoing the calm, positive mindset that my run had instilled).  Add to that a couple of slightly longer runs on the weekends (I don’t like to take much more than an hour and a half away from the family on weekends) and I can comfortably get my 40-50 miles in.  The problem is trying to consistently get to 60 + as I train competitively for a marathon (Catalina) and Around The Bay – both in March (more on that scheduling later).  I was a competitive runner before kids (2:51 marathon pb), and am finally at the place where I want to get back to where I was.  I had success in the marathon and other longer events with mileage in the 70-80 range, including a few days of interval or tempo training.  I’m trying to replicate what I did before kids and in order to get back there.

I’ve done the odd 4:30 a.m. wake-up to get extra mileage in, but it puts me in an energy hole which is hard to climb out of.  If I’ve done a morning run, getting out again in the evening for a double after I’ve worked all day, picked up the kids, made and fed people dinner, done the bedtime routine and gotten everyone settled by 8 p.m. might be possible if there were a gun to my head.  Otherwise, I can’t make it happen and still enjoy the routine of running.  I like to have my glass of wine and hang out with my husband for two seconds before we go to bed.  So basically I can’t/won’t do that double.

So that leaves me with the windows of any time before 6 a.m., the odd 45 minute lunch run if it’s not too busy at work (not generally the case), and 1-1 ½ hours on weekends. I will get to my 60 miles this week, but that seems to be my ceiling.  I’m determined, and do prioritize running, but never over my family, and not at the expense of my job or at the complete expense of my social life (despite my obsession, I don’t want to be seen as a running nerd and do enjoy the company of non-runners a lot).

Has anyone out there encountered and/or overcome the same scheduling problem with fitting it in?  I want to hear from others who are juggling the clichéd “balance”.  Has anyone found the formula for success?

As an addition to this post I just read this great novel on Time and our perception of and obsession with it.  The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom.  One of those books which made me stay up all night at the expense of sleep  – ah sleep – the topic for another post, I’m sure!