Everyone is always looking for more time. Too many commitments, meetings, traffic jams. And then you still need to train. So we put together a list to help you save time, and fit your training into your busy week.
1. Remove the need for willpower
Willpower is a finite resource that gets depleted during the day. Like a pair of fresh legs at the start of a race, you feel good and everything is easy. As the day goes on, and you use your willpower to make decisions, your resource gets depleted. You have no control over this, but you can train your willpower with consistent effort.
That is why it is so hard to say no to ice-cream or a stiff drink at the end of a long hard day. In order to save time, you need to automate your decisions, and take decision-making out of the equation. You need to make up your routine so that you don’t need to think about it.
That is why it is easier to stick to a workout with a group, or a coach. You don’t think about it, you just show up because you have to.
Look at your training routine and see where you can schedule a weekly group run, get a coach or join an online community like Strava. Make your training automatic. Remove the need to make a choice and you will see far better results.
2. Make it a habit – by starting small
Any routine is easier if it is a habit. The easiest way to do this is to break whatever you are trying to do into the smallest steps possible. The greatest challenge for starting a habit is inertia. The fact that you haven’t done it before, makes it hard for your brain to justify getting out of the warm bed.
So make it easy on yourself and your willpower, by doing all the work the day before your run. Put your shoes before your bed, unlaced, with your socks and clothes. Then all you have to think about is ‘Tying your shoelaces’ to get started. Or put the coffee machine on a timer to be ready with your favorite brew when you want to go.
3. Do a time audit
Take the time to keep a timesheet of your outside-of-work hours for 1 week. In order to save time, you need to know where you are spending your time. After you have done this, look at each minute of your week to see how you can optimize, remove and save. If you save 1 minute per day, that is 5 minutes in a week that you can knock out 20 pushups.
You will see that it all adds up, however small.
4. Plan your week
Plan your week ahead of time in order to fit everything in. If running is important to you, and your time is even more important, you will take 20 minutes to plan ahead. Remove the need to make a decision, and schedule it all in. this way nothing gets left behind or neglected.
Categorise your week according to family, running, meals etc. and make sure you cover all the bases. You are focused on living the best life possible, so you can’t afford to waste time.
5. Plan your clothes
When your clothes come out of the wash, stack them in neat little ‘race packs’ for the week. Just like you would do for a race, find your socks before hand, pair it with whatever you need and place it so it is ready to go. No thinking required. we use big ziplock bags to make the habit easier.
6. Plan your food
Meals are probably the biggest time consumers for any athlete. Plan your meals and buy a slow-cooker to make eating as easy as possible. Buy all your groceries on a Sunday, throw stewing lamb or a whole chicken and veggies in the pot for about 4 hours and you have food for a few days. Also plan your recovery food – nothing worse than getting back from a long run with only dry crackers in the cupboard.
7. Book it out in your calendar
The best way to get anything done, is booking it into your calendar. If it isn’t scheduled, it doesn’t exist! Block out the time and your week will instantly appear more structured. You will feel better and know when you will fit it all in. Get it out of your head and onto a system.
Also don’t forget to take into account the hidden time – travelling, preparing, packing, eating, even showering and changing clothes. Once you see how long it takes to drive to the venue, run, drive back, shower – you will get a much better idea of where your time goes.
8. Toughen up your routine
Introduce Circuit training, Crossfit and Plyometric exercises into your strength routine. If you are doing 50 regular pushups, toughen them up to the plyometric version, and you will definitely be done way before 50!
Look at compound strength moves, such as the squat and deadlift in the gym. I always choose exercises that hit as many muscle groups as possible to save time.
Also do short runs, or stair runs, or box jumps in between your sets. Bootcamps and Crossfit are great time-savers above all else!
9. Simplify your exercises
Buy a skipping rope, install a pullup bar and buy a kettlebell. Even chopping wood would build more muscle! The old school still has a few tricks to teach the new school. There are hundreds of exercises and variations you can find online. No need for fancy equipment.
10. Do exercise meetings
If you can have business meetings while playing golf, why not schedule a run as a way to discuss business?
11. Prioritise your training
If your training is important to you, or that goal race you want to complete, prioritise it over other seemingly less important to-do’s. get a virtual assistant to handle all your personal admin. Shop for groceries online. Save every minute you can.
12. Stop watching TV – or train while watching TV
Probably the biggest time thief of all time – besides social media. Either sell the TV, schedule TV time or train whilst you watch. Just think how many hours you could train whilst glued to the TV.
13. Do exercises during work
Incorporate basic bodyweight moves during the workday. It is a great idea as sitting is another bad habit we all get into. Schedule a walk-break during tea, walk the stairs, or do a few calf raises at your desk. The possibilities are endless!
14. Test a time saving strategy – online
The web is full of time-saving and producitivity guides and tips, like this one from one of my favourite blogs:
the best way to save time is to treat your week as a hypothesis. See what your doing as a test, and try one tip a week. Measure the results at the end of the week, or month. If it worked, great. If not, then try the next one. Find what works for you.
15. Go multi
Combine your training to get the most from your time. Triathletes know all about doing a run after a swim, so why can’t you combine a few disciplines?
Bodyweight exercises as you take your water break. A quick yoga set after your run. Weighted vests, ankle weights on a short run. A quick boxing routine during your run (a la Rocky). Start thinking about doing more with your time and you will see the possibilities..
16. Buy the right equipment for winter
Winter is a tough time to train. All that darkness with no sun, most athletes get depressed. But as they say, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad preparation. Buy the right gear for the cold season and you will be more inclined to go and train.
Once you start prioritizing your training, and looking at your current routine, you will find countless ways to save time and make your routine automatic.[/fusion_text]