4 training sessions for time-pressed runners

man checks watch after running workout
4 training sessions for time-pressed runners Getty

With so much to do and so little time, running can get squeezed out. Lack of time
– whether actual or perceived – can be the biggest barrier to running as often as you might like. But you don't need a whole hour to spare to fit in a good training session. In fact, you don't even need half an hour. Here are some great sub-25-minute workouts I do when I’m short on time...

  1. 7-min run / 6 mins of 30 secs on, 30 secs off of the following: reverse lunges, walk-outs and squats/ 7-min run

  2. 10-min run / 6 mins of 30 secs on, 30 secs off of the following: planks, burpees
    and side planks /4-min run

  3. 15-min run / 6 mins of 30 secs each of side shuffles, bicycle kicks, hip bridges, bird dogs, clamshells and hip thrusters / 4-min run

  4. Straightforward 20-min progression run (5 mins easy, 5 mins moderate, 5 mins hard, 5 mins easy)

6 ways to reclaim your running time

Here are a few suggestions that have helped me to find time. Some of them may seem obvious or overly simple, or they might even seem as if they could not make a difference, but believe me, everything in this list has helped me and others to reclaim a little time to run.

1.Review your diary

Get a diary and map out your days. What do they look like? Is there anything that could be shifted to make more time? Could you bunch things together to minimise travel?

2. Repurpose your time

Are there instances where you could use travel time for running time? Could you run between meetings? Run to work? Run to a date or dinner? And yes, I have done all of these. (My favourite was running to dinner, taking a dry shower with baby wipes and a flannel in the restaurant toilet and being handed my clothes through a small crack in the door.) I have been in virtual meetings while on the run with my camera and audio off, which I switched on when I wanted to comment.

3. Declutter your days

Plan as far in advance as you can. This may limit your spontaneity, but something has to give. So find the thing sin your life you think are wasting your time and cut them out. Also, plan for your run. How much time do we waste looking for a sock or charging a watch? If you’d prepared the night before, you could have been out the door already.

4. Know thyself

You know when you’re putting something off, making excuses or being truthful. You may tell others how little time you have when the reality is you don’t actually want to make the time, as other things feel more important. So, work out what you have to do, then acton it. Can you get up earlier to fit in a run, or go a little later? Probably.

5. Do not disturb

Set boundaries with yourself, others and technology, and stick tot hem. How much time do you spend aimlessly scrolling? Or playing games? Of course, we all need downtime, but how much of that time could you reclaim? I gradually worked on taking my phone screen time down from something ludicrous to between an hour and two hours a day, which is still a lot. But think about it like this – scrolling five times a day for five minutes at a time could instead have been a satisfying 25-minute run.

6. Have a mantra

I find a mantra to be hugely empowering, especially if I find that I’m feeling flustered or not fully in control. I take a moment to pause, breathe and say, ‘I am in control of my life and my time.’ It helps me to reset and start again. I find this really helpful when I have a packed day or week. Find your words of inspiration and see how much they can help.

Cory Wharton-Malcolm is a coach and founder of TrackMafiaRunning. Instagram: @bitbeefy, @trackmafia_

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