As any working parent can attest, doing it all and fitting in time for yourself takes a lot of work and, frankly, creativity. One thing that I do have is a very supportive family that knows that running is my release valve.
Just how creative can a chica get? Here are some things that I've tried (I've mentioned some of these before, but it's always worth brainstorming and sharing.):
* I set aside and change into my running clothes either when I wake up if I'm going for a morning run or right after dinner if I'm going in the evening. I've been known to wear my gear grocery shopping (tonight, for example), to go put gas in the car and to drive kids around town.
If this means I'm a candidate for "What Not to Wear," then please submit my name. I'm begging you.
* I put my long runs on my calendar along with doctor's appointments, work meetings, work travel and any other important commitment. Do I always go out for a run at exactly the time I put on the calendar? Hardly. But I typically do and that's good enough most weeks.
* I run when my family sleeps. I'm up and out the door most Saturday mornings by oh-dark-thirty. They're waking up around the time I get back, so it's like I was never gone. Only the dog knows and cares and that's only because I let her out and feed her before I leave the house.
* I run at night. I'm fortunate to live in a safe neighborhood, although there's enough traffic that I wear a dorky, I mean, high-tech belt with a flashing red light. Cheap find at Target last year. Every time I head out with that thing, my family members roll their eyes. I'd rather be dorky that dead.
I think at least the dog agrees.
* I schedule runs with other people. A very dear friend lives half a mile away. Sometimes, we arrange running dates to catch up and to get our butts out the door.
I also run with the Black Girls Run! Lansing team and there have been plenty of Saturdays when I would have rather gone back to bed but didn't because I knew they were waiting for me.
* I am brainwashing, err, encouraging my two younger kids (did I mention we have two teens and an 8-year-old?) to love running. This has helped them understand and appreciate when I head out.
* I bribe myself with food. Yes, I know that's not healthy physically or emotionally, but sometimes it's that treat that gets me out the door.
* I bribe myself with new gear. I don't do this very often, but you may have more expendable income than I do. (Did I mention I am sending my oldest to college in less than a year?!)
* Not only do I bribe myself, but I also lie to myself. It's just one little mile. You can go out for one measly mile. Oh, you're warmed up? How about just one more mile? Or five?
* I am a Facebook "like" fanatic. I use the Nike+ app and listen the whole time for the cheers that come through when someone "likes" my post saying that I'm out for a run. Sad? Yes. But effective.
* I set and write down long-term goals and scratch them off when I get back from my run. I love the feeling of checking off that I just did a long run. I'm a nerd.
* I blog. You all keep me motivated to get my butt out there.
* One word (sorta): DVR. I catch up on my favorite shows while folding laundry.
* Not infrequently, I remind myself of all the people in my life who just can't run. A little guilt works on the kids, so why not the adults, too?
Sometimes, nothing I do gets me out there. It doesn't happen often, but it has happened. What do I do then? Nothing. Nada. Zip. I count it as a rest day and spend time with my family or go to bed early.
In the end, I'm doing all this so I can be healthy and able to be around for a long, long time. Now that's worth making time for, no?
How do you get yourself out the door when you really don't have time for it? Is there anything you won't give up to go for a run (a favorite show or family tradition)?