Author: Jafeth | July 16, 2018
For many people, working a full time job can be a huge obstacle in the way of them achieving their goals as a runner. Working long hours is tiring enough, and trying to fit in a run around a busy schedule can seem downright impossible. We spoke with Qrun group South Pine Striders to hear what they had to say about balancing work with running and how their group is perfect for those of us with busy lives. The coaches, Stan and Jesse, gave us their advice and we also heard the perspective from one of the members of the group, Leah, about how she has learnt to find this balance in the group.
- Advice from the coaches
How are your sessions organised to be suitable for runners who work full time?
Stan: Our session times allow for people to run either before work/study or afterwards.
Jesse: The weekday runs are on a fixed schedule so this gives people certainty about when they can train in our group environment. The evening sessions also do not start until later (7:30pm) and as a result the night group is great for working mums and dads and busy families who still have a chance to sort things out at home before they head out to run.
What are some of the key sessions that your group completes throughout the week?
Stan: Key sessions are morning and evening technical sessions that include speed intervals, hill repeats, fartlek and tempo running. Less structured weekend activities include group long runs and parkrun pacing.
Jesse: The most popular sessions are our Tuesday and Thursday Hill and Interval/Speed sessions – these are run both early in the morning and then again later in the evening to give people the choice about what fits into their lifestyle best. There is also a strong social network community that arrange less formal long runs on the weekends as well as co-ordinating Parkrun attendance.
What advice do you have for runners who feel exhausted trying to balance their work with their running?
Stan: It is possible to run less but still perform well as a runner. However, you need to make sure when you do go out to run that the purpose is clear and that it is a very strategic run, no junk miles that don’t achieve much except add to exhaustion. Runners who feel exhausted may need to review their eating and sleeping habits to see if there are any contributing factors that hinder training performance or recovery. Getting enough sleep is critical and if possible on the weekend runners need to have a daytime sleep to help relieve exhaustion. This will help a great deal towards feeling a lot more refreshed.
Jesse: I think it’s about being realistic with your goals and expectations of yourself. Busy full time workers can absolutely train and succeed at running but it does require a bit of prior planning about how and when to run and knowing your limits. Where possible, fitting in running as part of a commute or an escape from the office during the day has been fantastic for me personally to squeeze some more mileage in without compromising my family time. Eating and sleeping well and managing work and home stresses are also big pieces of the puzzle.
- Advice from the runners
How difficult has it been balancing full time work with your running goals?
Leah: When I started at South Pine Striders I was a full time student, and after was only working 3 days per week. For the last 5 months, I’ve been working 5 days and it has become more of a struggle to be motivated to go out running (especially at night).
Do you find it better to run before or after work, and why?
Leah: For me, I’m not a morning person and my husband leaves for work by 6.30am, so I’d need to be finished my run by that time as we have primary school aged children. Nighttime doesn’t interfere with my children as they’re heading off to bed when I head out to train.
How do you motivate yourself to run before / after a tiring day of work?
Leah: I always have the mantra “You never regret a run after” playing in my head when I’m not wanting to head out. I also remind myself that if I want to eat and drink whatever I want (full disclosure – I eat quite healthy, but I do like a wine or 3), then I need to get into my running gear and get over myself for being tired!
What advice do you have to other full time workers who are wanting to start working?
Leah: Make running part of your weekly routine, like grocery shopping or the kids after school activities. Join a running club. It makes you more accountable and you’ll be more likely to turn up week after week. And be a bit selfish; it’s the best thing you can offer your family, especially as a mum. I run equally for the physical benefits as the psychological benefits.
Interested in joining South Pine Striders? Follow this link for more information about session times and membership: http://www.qrun.com.au/connect/run-groups/south-pine-striders/