Bad Angel Rule #206

Calculate how much time you REALLY need for your run.

As temperatures rise in the summer months, re-incorporating morning runs to my training is a must. But figuring out how to squeeze in my workout and still get to work on time requires a real look at how much time I need.

AlarmAnd having a real estimate comes in handy not only for those pre-work workouts but also for pretty much any time you have a time constraint. Maybe you’re meeting someone mid-run or you’re going out after an evening jaunt or you need to be home in time to watch “Game of Thrones.”

At first thought, it seems easy enough: you’re doing 4 miles at about 10-minute pace, so that means you only need 40 minutes, right? Weeeelllll, not exactly. There are many other things to consider:

  • Do you need to eat a full breakfast, or just cram a quick protein bar down your throat? And how much time do you need it to settle so you don’t ralph a half-mile in?
  • Do you need to poop before you go?
  • How long does it take to get dressed, lace up your shoes, put on your iPod, get a satellite signal, fill up your water bottle, etc.?
  • Will you be stopping for water on the run?
  • Are there stoplights and/or traffic to account for?
  • What about a post-run cool down and stretching?
  • Do you need to change clothes/shower after your run?

All of the sudden, that 40-minute run could be looking more like 50 or 60 minutes.

I always work backward from the time I need to be out the door to the time I wake up, and I have a good estimate of how long it takes to complete each section of my morning routine. Here’s an example of my typical train of thought:

OK, I’m running 4 miles at 10-minute pace and I need to leave for work at 8:00. That means I need to be walking my dog by 7:40. Which means I need to be in the shower by 7:00. Which means I need to begin my run at 6:10. Which means I need to wake up at 5:30 … which means I need to set my alarm for 5:15 (because let’s be real, Imma hit snooze once or twice).

Making time for a run can be a challenge, but if you’re honest with yourself about how much time you actually need, I think you’ll find it a tad less stressful. — Mags

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