Finding the Time – and more…


Every woman in this program just screamed the same thing: “WHEN am I suppose to find the time to do THIS??!!”.There is no argument that our daily lives are packed full of commitments and activities: work, shopping, driving the kids, laundry, walking the dog, family commitments, cooking: and those are only the tip of the iceberg.  Add in some elective FUN and the hours are gone before we know it.  So how are we supposed to find the time to EXERCISE?

One of the benefits of running is that you can do it anywhere and it doesn’t require special equipment or facilities.  First you need to take a look at your existing routine.  Instead of adding one more thing perhaps you can juggle or alternate a few things while you embark on this program.  Are you a morning person or do you function better in the afternoons or evenings?  Is there any time of the day that you can secure as your own without commitment to family or work?  Remember you will not need a lot of time for this training but it will have to be consistent.

The bottom line is: if it is important then you will find the time.  Here are some possibilities:

· Run first thing in the morning.  Add on about a half an hour to your normal schedule.
Disadvantages: Have to roll out of bed a bit earlier.  May have trouble finding a running partner.  Sleep is precious to some of us!

Advantages: Your “work” is done for the day and out of the way.  No excuses later in the day. It is quiet and serene and beautiful early a.m.  It’s over before you know it!

· Run at your break during the day.
Disadvantages: You have to bring additional clothing to work and have time and facilities to shower.  Lunch gets squeezed in. (Maybe this IS an advantage?)

Advantages: You get some fresh air during the day and revitalized for the afternoon.  Save on the morning sleep.  Your body is a bit looser than in the a.m. You can find company at work.

· Run after work.
Disadvantages: Not many unless you are chasing after kids at that time of the day.

Advantages: You can shrug off the work grind and give yourself a chance to go home with some energy.  Afternoons in the spring are a great time to be outside!

· Run in the evenings.
Disadvantages:  Best time of day to come up with an excuse not to exercise.  Too easy to opt out.  Darkness.

Advantages: It may be the only time when your responsibilities to others are over.  It is quiet and cooler in the evenings.  You may be able to connect with a running partner at this time.

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Here you have quite a few options.  Since we will be training based primarily upon time you can choose wherever you are most comfortable.  Here are some possibilities:· Local track
Every community has schools that have a track available to the public after the interscholastic athletes are done practicing in the afternoon.  This is a mindless way to train if you don’t mind doing circles.  Some tracks are cushioned which is a nice option for your legs!  You can also measure the distance you traveled very easily.  However, many individuals find this boring and repetitive.

· Local neighborhood
Even if you live in the city you can create a route right outside your doorstep within an area in which you are familiar and comfortable.  A loop formed around a number of blocks provides interesting scenery which can be changed, added to, or modified as you feel the need for change.   If you live in the suburbs or further out into more rural areas you might create an “out and back” route where you turn around and return on the same route halfway into your run.

· Parks and schools
Grassy areas in parks and schools are a great possibility to get off the hard surfaces of roads.  In the spring many of the grassy areas are pretty wet and muddy from the winter snow and rain so these become late spring options.  You need to be aware that these surfaces are usually uneven and to pay attention to foot placement as you run.

· Trails and bike paths
There are numerous paths that are designed for runners and bikers.  The Corning Preserve and the bike path in Schenectady, Niskayuna and Colonie are excellent areas to run.  It is easy for someone to come with you on a bike or roller blades, too!  Some parks have scenic trails hidden away.  Cross country paths are ideal for running in the spring and summer.

· Away from home….
If you are looking for excuses not to train then going away will fit the bill.  However, going to a new area for vacation or visiting friends or relatives is a perfect opportunity to explore some new terrain and be creative with your running!  A week-end in a different location can be just the spark you need.  Take advantage of it in a positive way!

· Exercise machines….
Treadmills and other machines can substitute for running outside.  However, since our goal is to run outdoors in June it would be best to do most of your training outdoors.  Treadmills are a great substitute occasionally in really bad weather or when you have backed yourself into a corner regarding your schedule.

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Yes, we in the northeast do get….weather!  Hot sunshine, rain, sleet, and wind.  Some runners love the elements and others just bite the bullet and tolerate them.  In any case less than perfect weather should not deter you from your “appointed rounds”!  Your body will heat up very quickly while exercising and often a cooler, more overcast day is the best for a good work-out.  You will realize quickly that you will be sweaty and wet after a run and a light rain can actually feel wonderful in keeping you cool while you are outside!You will need to be careful if you are exercising in full sunshine in the middle of the day as you may become uncomfortable quickly.  Take note of nutrition recommendations regarding water intake as we get into the hotter days of spring and summer.

Dressing appropriately for particular changes in temperature and conditions will make you more comfortable.  Starting off your runs in a hat and gloves on a cool morning isn’t such a bad idea knowing that you can strip them off as your body warms up.  Putting on a brimmed cap in the rain can keep stinging drops out of your eyes, off your glasses, and also keep the glaring sun off your face.  Layering is the way to go so you can remove clothing as you get going and put it back on while you are cooling down.  Keeping your muscles warm is an  important key to keeping you mechanically “sound” and avoiding muscle pulls.

You don’t need special equipment to adjust for the weather: just some common sense.  Section II on running apparel will help you in selecting the proper clothing to use.

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As women we are particularly concerned that we are doing our best to be in a safe environment while we are running.  There are some very simple and common sense things to do (or NOT do) so that you can enjoy yourself and not put yourself in an uncomfortable situation.Do:
· Let people know where you are going to be and how long you expect to be out
· Run with a partner if you can
· Wear bright or reflective clothing especially if you are running in the early morning, dusk, or at night
· If you are on the roads ALWAYS run FACING TRAFFIC
· Be aware of the people and objects around you (cars, bikes) while you are running

· Argue with the right of way of a car: it will always win…..
· Run in unpopulated areas alone
· Run in unfamiliar areas
· Stop at a car that pulls over to talk to you unless you know the occupants
· Run in the middle of the street
· Wear headphones**

**(Wearing headphones can eliminate the sounds of a car or persons approaching you.  If you are running on a track or with people that you know this may be a safe option.)

Know the area you are running in well enough to know where you can go for help if you need it.   This may include a situation where you find you need some assistance such as water or even a lift home.

The best way to insure your safety is to not exercise by yourself.  One option, in addition to a fellow runner, is to have someone ride their bike or roller-blade next to you while you work out.  Even taking a dog with you (if IT is trained properly to do the time and distance you are doing) is better than being totally alone.  Remember, you will not be relaxed, have fun, or enjoy yourself if you are not emotionally comfortable and secure.

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