If you run long enough, and run long enough races, there will inevitably come a time where you have to deal with trying to fit a long training run into a small time window.
But you don’t necessarily have to try and squeeze your run in when you’re dealing with a time crunch.
Make It Work
You have options.
Sure, in an ideal world if your training plan is calling for a 20-miler it would be great to have the time to run 20 miles.
But if you’ve only got a couple of hours available on the day you’re supposed to log all of those miles, what are you supposed to do? Just run 10? Not run at all?
Fortunately, you’ve got some options.
- Call an Audible: You did read/listen to last week’s quick tip, right? In case you missed it, here’s the abridged version: your training plan isn’t set in stone. So if you know you’re going to have an issue down the road, switch up the days you’re supposed to run so it will fit your schedule better. If you’re working with a coach, all you need to do is let him or her know ahead of time and you’re set. If you’re flying solo, you’ll have to figure out how to reconfigure everything.
- Do a Double: Maybe you don’t have all the time you need to run when you’d normally run (i.e. in the morning). But what if you do a chunk of miles in the morning and another chunk later in the day? It’s not the same thing, of course, but it definitely works.
- Get Up Earlier: Don’t tell me you can’t do this, because you can if you want to. I’m a firm believer in the benefits of getting plenty of sleep, but if you need to get up at 3 am to run one weekend so you can be finished by 6:30 so you can make it to your kid’s soccer tournament you can do what you need to do. If my friend Kari can start running at 2 am at Disney while she’s on vacation, you can do it from home once in a training cycle.
- Skip the Run: Some runs are easier to skip than others, but when all is said and done no single runs of your training program are do or die. I’m a believer in the power of the long run during a marathon training cycle, but even missing that longest run doesn’t doom you to failure. Skipping your run might seem like the worst case scenario, but it is definitely still a viable option.
Plan When You Can, Deal When You Can’t
If you know what’s coming, it’s easy to plan accordingly.
The soccer tournament on the calendar? You know that weeks in advance, so adjust and it’ll be all good.
But sometimes, life happens in the blink of an eye and you’re stuck.
When that happens, make the best of the situation and go about your business. If you can do a double, great. If you can get up extra early or run later at night, cool. If you have to skip the run altogether, no problem.
Just get back to your normal schedule ASAP and it’ll all work out, I promise.