Thursday, 19 March 2015

The weekday grind

To get the most from your day you need to be smart - by making small changes to your routine you can free up time you never knew you had leading to a better tomorrow.

Marathon training is pretty full on both physically but also in terms of time. My schedule sees me run five times per a week, the shortest of those being 40 minutes, right up to the three hour mark for longer runs at the weekends. In addition to running, I also do three HIIT sessions per week which is complementary to improving cardiovascular fitness, plus is a great fat burner which helps to maintain the super lean physique I am after for race day.

I should caveat here that this leaness is only temporary and post marathon I will be back in the gym, lifting heavy, in order to build muscle again. Unfortunately you cannot maintain muscle mass whilst doing so much cardio, plus carrying extra muscle bulk makes you less economical as a runner. As much as I love running, I cant wait to get back to lifting! I will of course still be running and have more races later in the year, but in the weeks after I will be cutting the distance and frequency.

Make the most of the outdoors - this was the backdrop
to a puppy walk last week - you never know
what you'll find. 
I am 100% a morning person which means I do most of my training before work. As I have a long commute to work, I get up at 5.45am and am in the car by 6 (with my travel mug of tea and rice cake). I get to the office just after 7, where I do a five mile run around the ever so glamorous Bracknell. Leaving home at this time means I reduce my journey time by half and allows me to fit in a run rather than sitting idly in traffic.

Post run, I head into the office for my transformation from sweaty runner to respectable professional, ready to work by 8.15. I have my breakfast at my desk along with my protein shake whilst catching up on email so by 9am when everyone else arrives, i'm ready for the day ahead!

You can catch me like this post run in the office...

I always bring my food with me to work as it saves money and means I am in control of what i'm eating - no cheeky trips to the canteen for me! I eat every three hours or so which means i'm laden with food and Tupperware every day but prepping in this way means my blood sugar levels remain constistent and I feel good throughout the day. This is especially important if you train twice a day like I do.

I normally get home just after 7 which is when I fit my HIIT session in. Post HIIT, I have dinner which is usually high protein, low fat and balance of carbs depends whether i'm running the next day or not. From there, its on to prepping for the next day. This includes getting my bags packed for the following day and meal prep.

Once this is done I spend the last hour of my day relaxing with a Peppermint tea and my PJ's! My days are pretty full on but by prepping and planning I am able to achieve everything I need too. I change up my weeks and days depending on what else is going on - for example if I have meetings in London i'm not able to train in the mornings so I move my schedule around. If I have plans in the evening then I will move a HIIT day to another.

R&R is a big a part of training as the exercise.

Here are my top tips for maximizing your time;

  1. Reduce your commute and idle time by leaving early and training at or near the office.
  2. Train smart - if you're tight on time do HIIT as it takes less time but yields great results
  3. Plan and prep your meals the evening before
  4. Plan your week as a whole - daily routine is great but there are always anomalies that can cause disruption which means you can come unstuck
Health and fitness is a lifestyle and shouldn't be looked at as quick fix - don't make too many drastic changes at once but rather find small ways to compliment your days.