The Do’s and Don’ts of multi-tasking for busy runners

Like most runners, I have many obligations which I have to fit around my daily runs. I try to run in the early mornings so that I’m not taking from any other bucket, but that doesn’t seem to stop my unending need to multi-task in order to cram everything into my days. Through trial and error I’ve learned which tasks can be combined, and which cannot. I will share my list with you so that you too can be an efficient runner and don’t make the same errors I have in trying to combine the wrong activities.

Activities: Eating and showering.
Scenario: You’ve come in from a long run and need nourishment asap. You also have to be out the door to an event in 15 minutes. No time to re-fuel and shower, so why not combine them?
Result: Soggy food mixed with soap and hot water.
Status: Multi-tasking Don’t

Activities: Making dinner and doing squats and lunges.
Scenario: Everyone’s hungry but you haven’t done your strength training yet.
Result: Dinner is on time and you have thighs of steel.
Status: Multi-tasking Do

lunges in the kitchen

lunges in the kitchen

Activities: Blow-drying hair and talking on the phone.
Scenario: You’ve just taken over an hour of time to yourself by running and showering, and are about to head out to your next activity, but you owe a call to your friend/sister/aunt.
Result: One-way yelling conversation because you can’t hear and your hair ends up frizzy anyway because you couldn’t hold the brush and hairdryer and phone at the same time.
Status: Multi-tasking Don’t (you’ll have to text her from your event)

Activities: Going for a run and catching up with a friend.
Scenario: You’ve missed the last five group get-togethers with your girlfriends and you failed on catching up over the phone because you had to blow-dry your hair, so you schedule a run-chat date.
Result: Your run flies by and you have great one-on-one chatting time with your bud.
Status: Multi-tasking Do

running and bonding

running and bonding

Activities: Looking after kids and getting work done on a computer.
Scenario: The kids have a PA day but you have a deadline and think you may be able to get some work done while kids entertain themselves.
Result: You can’t focus because of shouting, unsupervised arts ‘n crafts has left you with a two-hour clean-up job and everyone’s climbing the walls.
Status: Multi-tasking Don’t

outcome after unsupervised arts 'n crafts

outcome after unsupervised arts ‘n crafts

Activities: Looking after kids and getting a workout in.
Scenario: You slept through your 5 a.m. alarm, it’s the same PA day and you have kids with you all day. This is the easiest one! Take them to a pool and sneak in some 30 second pool-run sprints, take them to a gym and do burpees while they throw balls, take them to an indoor court and play “chase” while doing wind-sprints.
Result: Kids are happy and tired out and you got some high-intensity cross-training in.
Status: Multi-tasking Do

running out all our beans in a contained space

running out all our beans in a contained space

With some creativity and an open mind, combining your to-do list really can allow you to fit everything in. Just make sure you get the combinations right – it can be either Win-Win or a giant fail!

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