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Martini Friday: Time is not on my side

I wound up taking just a leeetle bit more time off after the Philly Half than I’d intended to. What with holiday travel and the end of the semester, eight or nine days went by before I managed to lace up my Brooks Ghost 6s and head out for a 3 mile run.

Oh, Ghost 6; my Ghost 6.
Oh, Ghost 6; my Ghost 6.

(An aside: can I mention how irritating it is to finally find a pair of running shoes you love only to have them discontinued and/or replaced with a new model? I know, I know. There are Ghost 7s but I fear change. First, they came for my favorite socks and I said, well, not nothing but very little. Now they’ve come for my Ghost 6s. Weenies.)

By the time Friday rolled around, given a long workweek and some extended family angst that is not worth exposing to the internet as a whole, I was more than ready to burn off some excess brooding during a long run on Saturday morning. When I woke up, however, the weather wasn’t cooperating. The temperature was just above freezing, which was good enough, but the skies were sheeting rain.

Because I am a delicate flower who isn’t in training for anything until March 2015, I decided to throw myself into some vigorous housekeeping and save the long run for Sunday, even though I knew it would be about 19 degrees then.

For once, the weather folk were right. Sunday dawned so cold that I was happy I neither a) owned a brass monkey nor b) left him out all night. Just getting started was a chore. I’d been away from long runs long enough that I couldn’t remember how Herr Garmin worked and fumbled at it a bit before I could really get going.

Six miles later, I was full of discoveries. I learned that there is a temperature below which your iPhone will simply turn itself off. I learned that 75+ minutes on the frozen tundra can calm any emotional irritation. I learned that, sometimes, you just can’t get your tush muscles to warm up, even when you stand directly in front of the wood stove after the run. And I learned that Pop Culture Happy Hour’s Glen Weldon’s analysis of The Year Without a Santa Claus can make you laugh like a loon even when your face is frozen.

You know the song.
You know the song.

So while it wasn't the fastest or best-est run I’ve had, it was, if nothing else, educational.

I have the same response to running in the winter as a goldfish does to the castle in her bowl: surprised each time it turns up. It’s like I forget how punishing those sub-freezing runs are two seconds after the spring thaw finally comes. Yes, I totally feel like a badass for the rest of the day if I’ve run through frigid temps — but I’m not sure that makes up for how much my body dreads dashing out the door.

Which leads me to pondering my winter running options, because it looks like the season of snow and cold is finally here. My college’s indoor track is still available and perfect for shorter runs, like speedwork or 30 minute easy days. But by the tiny circuit does a number on my knees for any distance longer than that. There’s the treadmill, which, is, again, great for short runs but decidedly un-fun for longer. I have no perfect solution, here. Just a lot of whining and keeping an eye on the forecast and sidewalk conditions.

But my big running conundrum right now is my upcoming job change, which will move me from a job with more flexible hours into one with set hours. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to be in an office from 8:30 - 4:30 and had to fit running around that. Right now, I’m thinking that I’ll just have to get up extra-extra early to get some sweat in, which means that the runs will be even colder and I’ll fall asleep even earlier than my usual 10 p.m., maybe even before my kids.

This was before all the snow. Now imagine the same scene with an inch of slush.
This was before all the snow. Now imagine the same scene with an inch of slush.

I need to tap the mother runner hive mind: how do you work running in around your day job? What pockets of time am I missing? And how do you not wind up taking two showers?

47 responses to “Martini Friday: Time is not on my side

  1. During the summer it’s easier b/c I don’t have to get the kids ready for school AND myself for work, so I can run from 6:30am – as late as 8am. But during the school year I must be done working out by 7:30am. And it’s dark out till 7am (I don’t like running solo in the dark). So I go the gym during the week at 5:30am (UGH!). But feel SO much better afterwards! The weekends I can run around my neighborhood at 7:30am or so. I go to bed when my kids do at 9:30pm though. The AM is my only time to myself, oh well! Working running mothers have to do what we gotta do to get our runs in!

  2. First, let me say that I love your posts. I usually skim through them once and then set them aside for a time when I can savor the humor and dream of a day that you and I can be best running friends. Fear not, I am not enamored enough to stalk you, but want to put it out there that I live in North Carolina where the weather is nowhere near as brutal as New York. You’d like it here.

    Now to answer your question. I run after work, Hubby picks up the kids from school and has dinner waiting when I arrive at home all sweaty and stinky. He’s the best. I refuse to take more than one shower per day.

  3. Finding BRF’s willing to meet at 6am has saved me. I know they are waiting for me and it gets me out of bed. I don’t know what I would do without them!

  4. 5:30 am with friends – I am definitely not a morning person but would rather get it done with the other working moms and out of the way then try to squeeze in a solo run at lunch and deal with the logistics of showering or stinking at work..

  5. These may be redundant with other comments but check National Running Center for your shoes. They often put the old model on clearance. I’m always running one back in my Saucony Guides.

    As for the cold, I just bundle up, put on a headlamp and get it in. I’ve found the AMR “Don’t Think, Just Go” to really help. That said, ice it too dangerous so I’ll sub a HIIT workout to try to keep up my conditioning if necessary.

    Good luck!

  6. I loved this post! For me, I have to run first thing in the morning so that does mean I have to get out the door pretty early. But then I just take a shower when I get home and I’m set for the day. It is hard to leave my cozy bed but once I’m out there I never regret being on the road early. The sunrises are often so beautiful that it’s an extra bonus. Having all of my running stuff laid out makes an amazing difference in getting out the door ASAP. (I’m sure that is obvious but it’s something I’m still working on doing regularly.) Good luck!

  7. I usually run after work, at 6 or 7. I like it because I can de-stress after a long day. I also prefer that time because I teach my first class at 7am and I absolutely refuse to get up at 4am-ish to work out! I have also tried lunch time running on days when I can eat at my desk later, and that works, though it’s far sweatier.

  8. 5am runs on the treadmill or outside weather permitting. When I get desperate I hit the indoor track but it makes for a long day…run at 6am, shower at the gym, eat breakfast at work a little early. Wish I could find the hidden time.

  9. ONLY take a shower after a workout where you sweat. You don’t need ’em on the other times. Ok, you can just wash your face at the other times or take a damp cloth to the “privates”.

  10. My work schedule changed this summer and I now work 8 – 4:30 with an hour lunch. I have done the early morning thing and the after work thing, but am now two weeks into the “Runch” and I love it. On M/T/Th I take off down the stairwell, quickly change into my gear, and am out the door for a good 30 minute run. I then have about 15-20 minutes to shower quickly, dry the parts of my hair that got sweaty, apply dry shampoo and fresh makeup, and dress. Fortunately I am able to eat lunch at my desk. On W I drive a mile down the road and take a half hour spin class. I’m not sure how this is going to work when it gets hot outside, but in MI the weather is nice and cold so it doesn’t take forever to cool down. Best of luck – you will figure out what is best for you!

  11. Also, just wanted to say, it may take some trial and error to see what works for you. Luckily you have time before you need to start training.
    Good luck!

  12. Depending on your kids’ ages, why not have THEM make dinner a couple evenings per week while you run? If everyone takes a turn that could free up 2-3 hours for runs at reasonable hours.

  13. I am lucky that I work a 10-6 schedule. It doesn’t afford me as much flexibility as one would think – the toddler thing – but it does help. I either run really early (read: 5:15 a.m.) so I am home before my husband needs to leave for work or about 9 a.m. after dropping the kid at daycare. I sometimes runch (run at lunch) but not often. I hate that it takes so much time to get undressed/dressed/undressed/dressed, which swipes valuable running time. But, in that case, I don’t shower. Shower Pills, dry shampoo and a spritz of perfume are good enough

  14. So I leave my house at 6:45 AM to get to work (hopefully) by 7:30. Never thought I’d get up to alarm that had a 4 as a start time, yet here I am. You do get used to it, though most nights I fall asleep watching tv so my kids don’t go to bed before me (and they have.) I’ve tried running after work, but life gets in the way. Shower? Not at night, wipe off the nasty bits, change my clothes and that’s it. Husband doesn’t complain, much.

    I’m trying to keep this up through December, training starts 1/12/15 for the Pittsburgh full, and I don’t want to start behind the 8 ball. LOVE PCHH!

  15. Early (sometimes really early) mornings on my home treadmill. I do lunch workouts (bike, core, arms) at work gym during lunch. Tho it has showers, those don’t make me as sweaty so I can use ShowerPill or L’Occitane wipes & freshen up. If it’s nice out, sometimes I’ll take a walk instead. Depending on how long/short/oily your hair is, can put it up, use dry shampoo or even use wet wipes/shower wipes to freshen up all around hairline.

    Haven’t listened to that podcast, love Linda Holmes though so maybe I should.

    Congrats again on new job!

  16. Congrats on the new gig! Wish I had a new trick for you. First, I’ll say that showering is sometimes overrated. 🙂 Lately, I’ve run whatever time it works out. I used to just run only in the morning before work and maybe just maybe over lunch, if I absolutely had to. But now, I take it whenever my schedule will allow it and have just accepted that I will have to have to have the most flexible schedule in the house. So, to keep the schedule peace, if I’m going to run in the morning I have to be back home by 5:30 am and I do it alone and I never regret it. If I absolutely can’t get my arse out of bed then I run at work – I’ve run as soon as I get to the office at 7:30 and then shower quick here and can be sitting at my desk by 8:30. I’ve also run over lunch and then don’t shower – just wipe off with wipes. And it’s cold enough here now that I don’t feel like it’s a big deal 🙂 And lately I’ve also run after work, right when I get home and before I do anything else and then I make dinner in my sweaty clothes and get chilled and no one seems to think twice that I might not be thrilled about that…. And in the last week or so, I have hit all 4 of those times. sigh….. but I’ve run and I’m happy about that. Good luck!

  17. Ok – I don’t have a ‘day job’ per se, but I am a stay at home mom. In order to make sure the workouts get in as well as not take 2 showers: work out in the early am. As much as I hate the treadmill, I can hop on it with minimal effort (someday, sorry to say, even in my pjs). If my child awakens, my husband is still home and can solve any problem until I am done. Even if i errands/sick kiddo/dinner prep gets in the way later, I know that I took time for myself first, and all is good with the world! Yeah, bedtime is early, but I can always DVR for favorite reality crap anyway.

  18. I work 7-3:30, so early morning runs aren’t really an option until the summer when it is lighter earlier. I have been running right after work. Either I pick my daughter up from daycare and head out for a run when my husband gets home, or we switch and he picks her up so I run right after work. I’m a night time shower-er, so only 1 a day for me. I have no time in the morning to dry my hair!

  19. For me it’s up at 4 for a cold and dark but very peaceful solo run before heading off to work or spending the day with my almost 2-year-old twins. During marathon training, I was getting up as early as 3 to put in the long run miles before my still-nursing twins woke up. Of course, that means lights out by 8:30.

  20. I have to get my runs in before my husband leaves for work at 6:45 (with the new job starting Monday… 6:15) so I just get up at the crack of dawn to do it. And I make sure I get runs in on Saturday and Sunday so I only have to run two days during the work week. Of course, I’m in Southern California where dragging myself out to run in the frigid 45 degree mornings is not TOO painful.

    As for the shower thing, I just…. don’t. Low ponytails, baby wipes, essential oils, and an aversion to hugging my coworkers is adequate compensation for hygiene. Or so I tell myself. 🙂

  21. While early mornings are my favorite time to run, they don’t tend to work so well for me. Really, they don’t fit into my kiddos’ staggered sleep/wake-up schedules. Instead, I run either over lunch or in the late afternoons.

    I tend to save my speed work for lunchtime since those runs are shorter, which gives me time to shower. I used to dread the midday shower, but really, it’s not that bad. I also enjoy the boost running at lunchtime gives me so that I don’t spend my afternoons slumped by my desk wishing I could just relax and eat pastries for the rest of the day.

    I save my longer/slower runs for the late afternoons. It’s not ideal, as sometimes the last thing I feel like doing at 4:30 after a draining day is going running, but, as always, once I get started, I’m fine. I’ve found the trick is to run from my office, whether that means that I run home or just circle back to get my stuff. Running home from work is great: once you’ve started, there’s no way to back out! The bottom line, though, is that I run from the office, whether it’s at lunch or after work. It seems exponentially more difficult to get out the front door of my house before or after work than it is to squeeze in a run during the workday.

  22. I work 8-4, so very similar hours. Last year I got up early to run (as much as 10 miles) before work. This winter – such as it is here in the sunny southwest desert – I just can’t bring myself to throw back the covers any earlier than I have to just to get to work on time. Call it becoming wise in my old age,and for the record that’s only 54,or laziness, it is what it is. I have been running in the evening with long runs on Saturday mornings. (why is it that I don’t mind getting up at 5am on Saturdays, but can’t during the week). I’m lucky to have found a great group of fellow runners through a local running store who, keep me company, help me to feel safer on the trails at night, and are always entertaining. You’ll find your groove with the new work schedule. Good luck and happy running!

  23. Hi! I work out in the mornings-eary mornings! I’m usually up by 5am to hit the gym/street by 5:30. Winter makes me sad because it’s very dark in the morning, so I’m usually running on the treadmill. On the bright side, going to the bright, cheery gym that early in the morning wakes me up and energizes me. In the spring/summer watching the day break is a beautiful reward for getting up and out for a run early-as soon as it is safe I’m back on the street. If you have to run outside in the dark winter mornings just be sure to be well illuminated with appropriate reflective running gear. Good luck at your new job!

  24. I run at lunch (except when there are 20-30 mph winds like there have been this week — no bueno! i’ll deal with a lot, but i draw the line there). I do not shower after, just wipe off with baby wipes, slather on deoderant and some extra perfume and go back to work. There just isn’t enough daylight before or after work during this godforsaken season for me to do it then. 🙁

  25. My job is 8:00-4:30, four days. I make myself get up between 5:00-5:30 2 days/week. Then I get 2 daylight runs 2 other days. Sometimes I will run right after work – not my fav – but rarely take another shower. I figure I will dry out if I change my clothes. I am NOT a two shower person – way too much maintenance with the hair 🙂 For winter though, I also will go way easier on myself. If I wake up and it is below 15 or super windy, I don’t go. Or I will do a 20-30 min walk in my big huge down coat. Somehow that seems a lot easier to go outside in. The other thing I will do is snowshoe after work (not run/snowshoe, just walk snowshoe) if we have a lot of snow. Again, 30 min and I’m happy. It is really just to keep my mind healthy through the winter. Good luck with the new job!

  26. Early mornings are the best, especially if you can find some good BRFs to join you. My sister and I trained for a full last year and even did long runs up to about 18 before work (I have to be there at 8 as well). Then you only have one shower. Lunch works on occasion but that’s two showers. I’ve never been good at going after work, so the other two times work best.

  27. With two kids, a husband, and a full time job, if I don’t get my runs in early, they just don’t happen. My family demands time when I get home (read: they are hungry and just want dinner) or other things interfere (read: there was a school choir/orchestra concert last night in which we didn’t get home until 8:30 and the dinner thing was the world’s quickest grilled cheese). I have proclaimed that early morning hour mine to run in, whether or not the house looks like it could use some TLC, I go. Which, right now it really could. I walked out the door with dishes in the sink, boxes of Christmas decorations half emptied, and my kitchen counter is going to break off soon from the weight of all the crap sitting on it, but, my run is done. You just have to schedule it and go. Peace of mind is a great thing.

  28. With my hubby’s schedule, I have no choice but to get up and run at 5am. I’ve been doing it for over 2 years, and you just get used to it. Nice part is that there is very little traffic, so I can run down the middle of the roads in our neighborhood! Yes, it’s colder in the winter to be out that early, but it’s great in the summer to get the run done before it gets super hot. At least that’s the way I look at it!

  29. Although I work from home, my husband goes to work at 6 a.m., so that means early-early workouts (as early as 4:45). Fortunately, I have friends who are in the same boat so I always have someone to meet which makes a world of difference. No way could I face the deep dark/cold winter mornings without my buddies! Early mornings make the goal of 8 hours of sleep a bit elusive, but I try for at least 7 — good thing everyone else in my house likes an early bedtime too! Good luck with the new schedule!

  30. Thanks for asking this question, as I too will begin a regular workday routine soon after having flexibility for 6 years!

    When I first started running NOTHING could stop me from popping out of bed at o’dark thirty. These comments are inspiring me to find that again, because I agree, once you miss your opportunity, sometimes it just isn’t going to happen. Too many after school kid chauffeuring duties!

    I do like running at night to see the lights, but I know that I will have to get into a routine to make sure it happens, whatever I choose. Good luck with the new hours!!

  31. I actually prefer to run in the evening to see the holiday lights twinkling. Here’s an idea for you; as soon as you get home, prep dinner and get it in the oven (or if you planned ahead it’s already cooking in the crockpot from the morning) and throw your running clothes on and get in your run while dinner cooks. Come back, quick shower and enjoy dinner with the fam before settling in for the night. And if showering at night works for you, there’s your one shower for the day.

    And if that doesn’t work for you and you resort to the 5am run, then here’s some more tips. Get everything ready the night before for work, the kids lunches, school, your job, and most importantly your running gear. Have your running and work clothes picked out and laying out for you so there is no thought required in the morning. Then go to bed with your sports bra (and any other gear that’s comfy) on and then in the morning it’s a gentle reminder and you’re ready for your run.

    And then of course, there is always the lunch run. That will require at least a shoulder-on-down run if you can manage anything with your hair following a run. They do make dry shampoo which might come in handy so you can take away some of the run funk from atop your head without having to go through a full shower with hair washing/conditioning.

    Bottom line is to try a few things to find a method that works for you and have fun! (Congrats on the new job too, btw!)

  32. I’ve changed to running more days but fewer miles. A neighbor and I get up, run toward each other, then do 3.5ish. I’d love to do more, but it is squeezed in before motherly duties, and I find I am now not HATING getting up early because I enjoy the time with my friend. Accountability is what gets me out there!

  33. I’m a mom of two boys, one who is still nursing. Usually I would run early in the morning at 5:00 a.m., but because of my youngest’s nursing schedule, I’ve been forced to temporarily find a different time to run. For awhile I tried running after the boys went to bed, but that was so hard to do…I was so tired by the end of the day. Once it got cold enough, I switched to running over the lunch hours during the weekdays. Temps have been pretty much low enough that I don’t necessarily have to shower after the run because I’m not sweating near as much. I just change clothes (even underwear), swipe on some more deodorant, throw up my hair, and get back to my desk.

  34. I’m with Melanie on this….5:00 am runs….I have two boys that are active in sports and a hubs that travels when I’m not so pre-dawn is the only “Me” time I get during the week. Same thing when I travel….meetings start early so I hit the gym at the hotel or head out and explore the new city if I’m feeling brave.
    Congrats on the job!

  35. Ghost 6 vs 7 – I actually didn’t mind the difference. They are softer, but hey I could use the fusion

    I have to be at work at 7, and take my son kind of far out of the way to his Grammy’s house, so I get up at 5:00 if I have to run 3 miles, and earlier for other distances that I won’t talk about to scare you (seeing a time beginning in 4: is scary for anyone). The biggest thing I do to get myself out the door is set my clothes out the night before, and DO NOT HIT THE SNOOZE! Just get up in a half asleep stupor, change and get out the door!

    I usually sip some water quickly, and if I’m running further than 4 miles I’ll eat an apple sauce very quickly or a fruit leather.

    Good luck with the new job, Adrienne!

  36. I feel your grief about the shoes. I hope the Ghost 7 is a pleasant surprise for you.

    In terms of running, I always do it in the early morning. (If I wait until after work, it never actually happens.) I meet a friend for outdoor runs a couple of mornings a week and also use my treadmill for runs on other mornings. Then I come home, stretch, help the kids get out the door, shower, and leave for work. Workout is done, only one shower, and it is a great start to the day. Later in the week, as the 5:00 am wake-up routine begins to take its toll, I take a day or two off to “sleep in” until the kids get up at 6:30.

    You may need to experiment to find what work/exercise arrangement works best for you. But, as you already know, the key is establishing a routine and sticking to it. Once it is habit, it won’t require so much effort and motivation to plan the logistics, make it happen, etc. The transition is hard (I still have moments of yearning for my previous work schedule, which had much more flexibility), but you will be able to fit it all in. Just remember to plan some rest and relaxation into your new schedule, too!

  37. Congrats on the new job!

    I agree, it is annoying when you really like a shoe model and then it is changed (I am talking to you Saucony). I have been known to hoard particular favorite models.

    Fitting a run in this time of year, when it is so dark, is difficult. If you run early, it is done and out of the way. Or plan on running right after work, before you get home and get distracted. I would say on your lunch break, but that option never works for me.

    I am currently doing the RW challenge, so most mornings it is a one mile run at 4:30 am around the neighborhood with my dog. I also try to plan a run w/ a friend once a week right after work. And long runs on the weekend when possible.

  38. I understand your frustration when your favorite shoe has been updated, but go try the Ghost 7. I love it more than the Ghost 6 (and I didn’t think it was possible). Someone once told me to always have two pair of shoes, different brands so if/when they change my favorite I already have a go to shoe.

    Good luck! Congrats on the job.

  39. I’m an early riser but so are my kids so weekday morning runs are usually out for me. I like after-work-but-before- dinner runs if they are of the 30-50 minute variety. I get my run in while my kids are doing their homework then I shower & change into comfy clothes to make dinner and do whatever is on the agenda for that night. No need to shower in the morning if I just showered the night before so only 1 shower needed. 🙂

    Good luck with the new schedule & congrats on your new job!

  40. With my work schedule and 3 teenage girls running is a must!
    That being said my weekday runs or workouts start early.
    5:00 am, which means I am out of bed by 4:30. Lunch breaks aren’t a guarantee where I work , never enough time after work. So I get it done before life gets in the way.. Most days are two showers , sometimes three. The life of a mother runner who works with three teenage girls!

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