Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Distance and the Dayjob

I love my job in Development at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, but working a full-time-and-the-rest day job leaves me constantly wishing for more hours in the day for training and recovery, not to mention sleep. I've been building up for the biggies, Run Around Mull in April and the West Highland Way Race in June, so this has become much more of a focus over the last month or so. I was thinking about it on a recent long run, and realised the number of little strategies I've come up with to fit training in around work and life in general. Far from a perfect scenario, and I will always need more sleep, but here are a few of the ways I've been sneakily squeezing in distance training around the day job:

- Planning Ahead: I nearly always have a running kit with me, wherever I go. It means I can go to family/social events on a weekend or week night and run home (generally less anti-social than running there although that's been done on occasion too!) It also means that when I need to be away with work as with last week in London, I can squeeze an hour's morning or evening run into the schedule. Though I'm sorry, Clapham Common is no Pentlands!

- Walking Everywhere: Even walking is time on feet therefore good for ultra training, so I'm trying to consistently walk to and from work, and from work to gym on core taining days, then home, around 6 miles in total. I'm selling my car to remove temptation!

- Long Runs: I've been fitting my long back-to-back runs - which aim to adapt my body to running on tired legs - in on Friday night and Saturday morning, which leaves the rest of the weekend to act like a normal, slightly fatigued, person. I've surprised myself by really enjoying my Friday night runs. There's something immensely satisfying about running past pubs spilling smokers and drunk folk out the doors, and without fail I feel more energised and inspired for a constructive weekend afterwards at 10/11pm than I did at 5pm leaving work.

- Quality Training: Recently I was really snowed under at work with a major funding bid demanding much attention and late nights, which prevented me getting out after work for a week or so. It made me realise the importance of short, sharp speed sessions as well as steady long runs. They help push your body more in a limited space of time which can have dramatically positive effects on performance in a race, on speed and endurance. Although tough at the time, I find these sessions massively exhilarating and great for refreshing and varying a stale training programme.

- Eating: I've also changed the structure of my eating as I'm so regularly leaving straight from work to train. Instead of one decent evening meal I'll have 2 smaller meals incl one before leaving work - this helps keep hunger levels at bay and keep me sustained until later at night when I'm home.

- Early Starts: I've never been the biggest fan of weekday morning runs, but I do them when I have to, if there isn't time after work. A 40 minute sprint around arthur's seat then jog to work can squeeze in nicely around the rest of a really busy day.

- Flexible Working: I am fortunate that I can work from home when I need to - it fits well with my fundraising job as peace & quiet is sometimes essential for writing. This means I can start early, finish prompt and fit a long run in the hills in on a winter/spring evening.

I only have one more week of peak training before the taper for Run Around Mull, which kicks off in 15 - yes 15 - days! If you're reading this and know nothing about it - check Please pass on to anyone with a pocket full of change to donate to a very good cause.

On that note, I'm off for more time on these feet...

Happy training!

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