Skip to Content

Make time to run: How to fit a run into a busy schedule


One of the biggest challenges for a lot of runners is how to fit a run into a busy schedule. Between working a full time job, looking after a young family and other commitments, finding time to run almost seems impossible. 

Not having enough time to run is one of the most common complaints I hear from the runners I work with.

Here’s the thing. We always have time for something that’s important to us, something we love to do. Don’t we? But I get it. Life happens and gets in the way. 

The minute you plan a run, the kids get sick or your boss hands you a project with an impossible deadline. There’s always something, but you don’t have to let life knock you off track. 

Here are some tips on how to fit a run into a busy schedule.

How to fit a run into a busy schedule

How to fit a run into a busy schedule

Get creative with your runs

You may be one of those runners that doesn’t think a run is worth it unless it’s long or far enough. 

Sure, there are times when a long run is necessary if you’re training for a half marathon or marathon, but you don’t have to go for a long run every time.

Get creative with your training and include short speed workouts into your schedule.

This could take the form of interval training, hill running, tempo running or Fartlek training in a session that lasts no longer than 30 minutes. 

Find a stretch of flat land or a hill and try one of the following workouts. Be sure to do a proper warm up before each workout:

  • Interval training – 4 x 400m at a challenging pace with 1 or 2 minute recovery runs in between.
  • Hill running – 4 x 100m hill repeats with 1 or 2 minute recovery walks in between.
  • Fartlek training – 2 minute jog, 5 minute run at a challenging pace, 2 minute jog, 6 minute run at a challenging pace, 2 minute jog, 7 minute run at a challenging pace.

You’ll benefit from these types of training sessions as they improve your speed and stamina and push you out of your comfort zone if you’re not used to doing them.

Run first thing in the morning

If you struggle to find time during your day or after work, then running in the morning may be a game changer for you. 

Schedule an hour in your morning for your run. You may need to wake up one or two hours earlier than normal, but it’s so worth it if it means you can get your run done and out of the way.

Running in the morning takes a lot of motivation. If you struggle to get up in the morning normally, it may take a few practice runs for you to make it a long-lasting habit.

There’s no better feeling than going to work or getting on with the rest of your day knowing that you’ve already completed your run for the day.

It’s such a satisfying feeling! Surely, this is enough to get you out of bed in the morning.

How to make running part of your busy schedule

Run during your lunch break

If you struggle to find time outside of working hours to go for a run, then your lunch hour could become your new best running friend. 

Eat light then head out for your run 15-20 minutes later. If you have a flexible employer, you could even extend your lunch hour and leave work 30 minutes later just so that you’re not rushing around after your run.

If you want to make lunch time running a serious habit, start a running group and find colleagues that can run with you. This is a great way to motivate you and make you accountable for your runs. 

I can’t think of a better way to get away from your desk and get some fresh air during your lunch break.

If you prefer to run to or from work, then run commuting may be for you.

Create a running schedule

If you’re someone who procrastinates and puts running off because you find something more important to do, then a running schedule could be for you.

Studies have shown that people perform better when they have written down what they need to do.

A running schedule, much like a to-do list, is an effective productivity tool. They bring some clarity to all the chaos going on in your life, and they give you structure, a plan that you can stick to. They are also proof of what you have achieved that day, week or month. 

A study by Wake Forest University even showed that a plan to get stuff done can help to free you from anxiety. 

When you’re allowed to make and note down concrete plans, your performance substantially improves. Simply writing the task down will make you more effective.

So, if you struggle to commit to your runs, write them down and see if this helps you stay on track.

Run with your family

If you have a young family or struggle with childcare commitments, consider taking your kids with you on the run.

Running with your kids is a great way to spend time with your family. Plus, it’ll keep your kids healthy and will get them away from their phones and out in the great outdoors. 

Parkrun has introduced Junior Parkrun – a free 2k run, jog or walk for 4 to 14 year olds. 

Junior Parkrun is an amazing opportunity to run with your family in the great outdoors, surrounded by high-vis wearing volunteers. 

If your kids are a little too young for Junior Parkrun, then why not invest in a running buggy. There are some great three-wheeled running buggies on the market that you will allow you to enjoy your run with your little ones. 

Not convinced? American mum Cynthia Arnold recently broke a Guinness World Record by completing the Missoula Marathon in three hours pushing her three children in a pram. 

This is such an amazing achievement and really shows what you are capable of when you put your mind to it. You may also like:

Caroline Geoghegan



Tuesday 19th of October 2021

Thank you for all your advice, I am not a very good runner but I’m running a half marathon as a challenge and to raise money for a charity close to my heart in 4 months time. So all this advice is going to help me. As I am pretty much a beginner to this. I have gone out on runs before. But never stick to it for long enough. So I’m determined to try this time.

Caroline Geoghegan

Thursday 21st of October 2021

Hi Buntie. Good luck with your running, and for such a worthy cause I'm sure! The first step is always the hardest, and once you form a routine, it will become much easier. Good luck! :)