Challenge yourself to find time for family and fitness.

No Time? Tips for Balancing Work, Family and Fitness

Everyone has the same challenges when it comes to keeping work, family, and other interests in balance. Training for a half marathon is a huge time commitment, but it’s like any time management issue, you just have to strike a balance. I don’t stick to a regular training schedule, because I can’t. But I try to work in runs whenever there’s a “window” of time. It helps to let those around you know that this is a goal of yours and you’d appreciate their support.

Make Training a Family Affair

“My older son, Spencer trained and ran with me for the first two KP races in which I participated,” says Jodi Thirtyacre. “He was 10 years old, and we spent a lot of time together running before school and on the weekends. Then of course he became a teenager and lost interest in running after most of his attention went to baseball.

So then I recruited my younger son, Liam. Same story: we ran two 5Ks together, but after a couple of years he switched to tennis. Now it’s more difficult finding the time to train while driving carpool and attending my kids’ tennis and baseball games. But at least we’re all interested in fitness and being outdoors.”

Use “Down Time” to Run

Thirtyacre suggests doing your best to fit running around your family’s schedule. “During the week, I bring my running clothes to work, and try get away at lunch or during a break. Or I go after work,” she says. “On weekends, I squeeze in runs between lessons and games. I keep running clothes in my car and sometimes will run while I’m waiting for my kids. I give myself permission to skip a run and don’t get down on myself or feel bad about it if I can’t fit it into my schedule”

Commit to Scheduled Group Runs

One group I belong to has regularly scheduled weekend training runs. Before the Half Marathon they have runs for four Saturdays in a row. Planning in advance to do all those runs helps because I get them on the calendar and that prevents other things from taking over. I highly recommend finding a running group or a group of friends and planning some scheduled runs in the weeks and months prior to the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon. It makes it much harder to skip out.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

During intensive training, my husband picks up a lot of the slack. (Especially when it comes to dinner!) That’s just how it has to be, and he understands. When he has something important going on, I do the same for him.

Do you have any suggestions on what’s worked for you when it comes to fitting in training runs around family and work demands? Please share!

Veteran marathon runner Jodi Thirtyacre works for Kaiser Permanente as the manager of the Department of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology at the San Francisco Medical Center. Jodi began running when she was only nine and ran track in high school. She kept up her regimen in college and ran her first marathon at 21. Jodi is the captain of Kaiser Permanente's teams for the Half Marathon and 5K.