Making Time for 70+ mile Weeks

Here is probably the biggest question I have received thus far:

How do you make time to workout so much?

Before I answer this question, I am going to emphasize I have been asked in a number of ways.  Sometimes from other athletes who are looking to up their miles (right on).  Some times from nonathletes who think I’m crazy (whatever).  Sometimes in anonymous snarky emails implying I have an eating disorder or exercise entirely too much(false).  Somewhere in there are a few people who are just curious. 

I can break it up like this: I don’t have a family.  I don’t have a family I’m cooking for every night or seeing every night.  I can go to my house after work and sit around or I can go to the gym.  Tim lives 2000 miles away…it’s not like by going to the gym before or after work, or going to bed at 9pm I’m missing out on seeing him.  My family also lives 500 miles away…

Most of my friends are busy at night.  Going along with families…most of my friends are in graduate school or finishing their undergrads and doing homework or taking classes at night so I tend to hang out with them Friday, Saturday or Sunday and when they are free.  For me I have that extra time right now. 

I also don’t need any sort of internal motivation to drive me to the gym.  I get there by myself because I want too.  I don’t waste time by thinking…oh what if I go..what if I don’t.  I just suck it up and go.

I normally try get a 10 mile run in before work.  Work starts at 9 for me and I’m up by 5.  I go to bed by 9:30 every night.  When you have a 10 mile run done before 9am…the after work possibilities are endless…minus when I am tired then I just go home.  That is that.

I know this is pretty short and I’m not really sure what else to say but point blank I make the time.  I don’t not have the time because I don’t have a family to take care of, other people depending on me at night and I have that free time.  When my schedule becomes less flexible…it won’t happen.  You better believe I’ll plan to run high mileage weeks, but I won’t have time for that extra cross training or weight lifting and that is fine.

Finally, my miles are running.  When I say I run 70 miles a week, I’m not running 50 miles a week and biking and swimming (as many triathletes…go you guys!).  I’m just running.  90 minutes of running weekly is still only 10.5 hours a week of running.

So that is how I make the time.

Question for you: How do you make the time for something you enjoy? (work out or not) 

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  1. Love this post. I get the same question all the time. Simply put, you make the time. I bet most college students won’t be waking up at 5:30 to work out. I have three kids and I make the time because I sacrifice other things. I literally watch 60 mins of tv a week. I micro manage my time to fit it all in because its important to me. Good for you for getting it done.

  2. First off, I’m way behind but I love the (new?) look of the site! The gym is my “me” time – my husband has some crazy work hours (until 9:30 pm twice a week), so I don’t feel guilty going when it doesn’t take away from time we have together.

  3. You’re right. If something or someone is really important to you, you just simply make the time. You just do it instead of making excuses. So good for you!

  4. I like this post, thanks for doing it. You’re really right though, a lot of people spend so much time thinking about going to the gym, getting ready to go, or just goofing off when they get there. In the time some people do that, they could have actually run a mile or two!

    Also, you are fast so you can run more miles in a shorter amount of time. If you run for an hour, you can get in like 8 miles. So many people go to the gym for one hour each day (lots of people actually WORK OUT for an hour and others go to the gym and work out for 30 minutes then dick around for 30 minutes, but anyway). Well, 8 miles X 7 days a week is 56 miles right there.

    I can manage 25-30 miles a week with lots of cross training and just doing 30 minute to 1 hour runs. I think most of us runners get it how you manage to run high mileage, it’s non-runners who don’t understand the logic or like you said, just want to make out like you’re addicted to exercise or have an ED.

    1. I even get a lot of blog comments about “how do you run that much every week”. I’m not cycling, swimming (which takes probably 2 hours for an one hour workout) and doing classes. I’m running…that’s it.

  5. You are so spot-on with this post, Hollie! I’m totally in the same boat–my family is five hours away, most of my friends are in grad school, and the ones who do live in work near me, we get together on the weekends. Like you wrote, a huge component is not needing motivation to wake up early and go to the gym–it’s *so* much fun, so training everyday is a no-brainer. 🙂

  6. I think high mileage is absolutely easier when you don’t have anything tying you down in the morning or in the evening. I was running around 60 miles a week last summer because my schedule was flexible in grad school and my fiance was 800 miles away. I also think it’s easier when you’re faster, since faster runners take less time to run all of those miles. When I was running 60 miles a week, I was putting in a LOT of time running because I am not so fast.

  7. I think that if there’s something you enjoy, you’ll just make the time to do it. If you don’t like it so much and b*tch and moan about it all the time, then you’ll find any excuse you can just to not do it.

    I’m kind of in the same situation when it comes to having a lot of time on my hands, so planning isn’t all that important right now, but when things get busier then I might have to look into scheduling my time better.

  8. I so understand where you are coming from. I openly tell those who have younger kids (meaning the ones you have to cart around or help with things) that I could not have trained for a marathon when my kids were younger. I started running when my “baby” was 13. The next youngest was 17. I still went to their sporting events and school activities but it was not like when I had six kids in school. I still went to the college kids’ big things – honor society inductions, family weekends – but I was not required as a parent on a 24/7 basis for six kids. I really give kudos to those who have toddlers and can run even 20 miles a week.

  9. I really like this post. I often find myself in the inner monologue of “Should I Go…should I not go” and often I waste more time debating it than I would have if I had just gone right away.

    I have all the time in the world too. I just really really hate the TM so it’s hard for me to go. As much as I dislike having so few friends around here it is great that i don’t feel like I am overwhelmed juggling my workouts and time with friends/family.

  10. Wait, are you telling me that if you are committed to something and you enjoy it, you’ll make time for it? I’m shocked.

    It’s still impressive that you log the massive mileage, don’t minimize the accomplishment. You rule.

  11. I workout every morning before work. I like it because I just get up and go I dont have to think about ugh I have to go to the gym after work. It is an after thought and I like to have my afternoons open to do nothing or hang out with friends if any are free!

  12. I am always impressed by your mileage but I’ve never really questioned whether or not you have time. It’s like giving up an hour of facebook stalking or reading a book. Actually, you can do both at the same time if you’re just cross training.
    In the summer I’m in the same boat. I am able to work out twice a day because I have nothing else to do. I don’t live near friends and my family only visits on weekends so I have all week to kill time. Especially living on a boat, where I have limited internet or TV, I might as well squeeze in an extra run. Plus, if I enjoy it, why shouldn’t i do it?
    Point is, I get where you’re coming from lol

  13. I think the morning hours are prime for that, I just have a crazy schedule where no night workouts are possible. I have to agree with you, you make time for things you love aka going to bed early, waking up early. we have that right time right now and don’t have to worry about a family.

  14. I love this! Your no excuses attitude is so dang admirable and I think it’s awesome that you make time to get your workouts in. So many people find excuses but I think it you are really motivated to do something, you will make it happen. Keep it up Hollie!

  15. I love hearing how high mileage runners like yourself get the miles in. Do you ever run full marathons? I bet you would rock the 26.2 distance!!

    1. No and I have no interest in doing a marathon in a very long time. My bones are not set and I don’t have near enough running experience for me to feel comfortable…I could finish a marathon sure but I’d rather train for one and do well. 🙂

  16. GREAT POST, people ask me all the time how I make time for training with 2 jobs, planning a wedding and everything else. The funny thing I haven’t been training as much lately but it’s starting to build up again. But you are beyond right, you make time for things regardless of what is going on. Lack of Family is huge, and gives us more time and that wont always be the case, but I’d like to think I’ll still keep up with it all when the family thing does come around!

  17. Do you ever run in the morning outside? I have tried the whole before work outside running thing and I just hate running in the dark. If I stick to main roads that’s fine but I prefer trails and when I’m on a trail and there are lots of trees I think there are men with machetes just hiding and waiting for me to run by… AND having Tim so far away is quite helpful, I think my bf would kill me if I tried to wake up at 5 haha I get to work around 7 / 7:30 so it would be a little earlier for me but he still complains with my 6am wake up. But any who, enough ramble, good job with prioritizing, I wish I did that a bit more.

    1. I hate running in the dark as well.. I’m too clumsy and I just don’t enjoy it. Right now it’s entirely cold to run in the dark anyways so I run on the treadmill.

  18. Great post! As I’ve increased my mileage I’ve found that you have to have an internal drive to run, otherwise those extra miles won’t happen. I know a lot of people want to run 70+ weeks but don’t want to make it happen. You have to really love running!

    I feel like I’m in a weird place where I live with my boyfriend but I’m not married. If I lived alone, I’d probably double up more than I do (which is close to never) but sometimes I feel guilty for leaving in the evenings. It’s a delicate balance of doing things for me and feeling selfish like I’m never home.

  19. I needed an asskicking post today, & love the “point blank – I make the time”. I am battling a 5 am wakeup time so I can get any miles in (and, nowhere near 50 miles/week). It’s the only time it works with our schedule, & I’ve given myself plenty of excuses. Time to stop making excuses & make it happen.

    Keep up the awesome work! You’re doing a heck of a lot more than I did at your age. You rock. 🙂

  20. I LOVE this post and I get this question frequently, too, especially since I’ve upped my training to about 10-12 hours a week (maybe more that doesn’t get recorded) to get in some additional strength training and make sure that I’m not neglecting any of my three sports. Justin is deployed right now but even when he is here, I get the training in. You just do it. Because of my clinical hour requirement (15-20 hours a week) and my classes (about 6 hours a week plus many more of homework) and my dissertation work (about 10 hours a week) I really do have to give up a lot of other things to keep the momentum going. I get up early. I make food for the week in advance; about 60-70% of my meals for the week are made and separated in tupperware by Monday. I also don’t socialize a lot. It sucks sometimes but I try to surround myself with friends when I’m training and doing school work so that I’m not totally isolated and I try to make up for the lack of socializing when I have recovery weeks or taper. I also don’t have a spotless home. We decided to hire a cleaning lady to come twice a month and that helps but sometimes the laundry sits in the dryer for three days, and that’s okay because I’m super busy, not Super Woman. And SOMETIMES… I even miss a workout because of scheduling but that’s why it is important to prioritize so that when you do miss a workout, you know you did the right thing. 🙂

  21. I think its great that you you get up every morning and run, or run later in the day. (also screw the people who think you work out too much, or starve yourself. Do they not have anything better to do?)
    Anywho. you are an inspiration to me. When I need a kick in the pants and need to get to the gym, you ALWAYS get me there 🙂

  22. When it’s something you love you find a way to do it. *boom*
    Going to bed early, getting up early, never having ‘fixed’ hair is all part of the package. I’m glad you’re not bothered by the thoughts and opinions of others.
    PS – My jaw will always drop when I read about runners logging more then 60 miles a week.

  23. Working out is definitely easier when you are the only one to worry about…honestly, I think that anyone should be able to find at least a half an hour 4 times a week which is enough time to get a workout in if necessary! You definitely KILL IT when it comes to motivation 🙂

  24. SO! darn true! Since I started working, being able to fit in more miles before work in and of itself has made me get faster, not nearly on your level but hey, it works.

    I have so much respect for those with kids because I just can’t imagine how they do it all!

  25. I freaking love this. Point blank exactly…you MAKE the time to workout if its important. 70 miles works for you and your body, go with it. To hell with the lazies that think making time is impossible. That just disgusts me. I feel moody towards lazy people, haha.

  26. RIGHT ON. I totally agree with you here, when you’re living away from your significant other and family and you’re not in school but have a 9-5 job…you have a LOT of free time. And I also agree that 70mpw doesn’t equate a ridiculous number of HOURS of training – like some cyclists have to train 20-25 hours a week because you have to spend 2x the amount of time cycling to get the same benefits as running. When I was an intern at CTS, I was up at 5 every day to ride my bike for two hours, be at the office at 9, take an hour long break during “lunch” (and eat lunch at my desk) to do weights or go for a hike, and then I was at work till 7pm, bed by 10. All my friends and family are back east, I work 10 hours a day so I have no time to make friends, I live alone….I gots the time lol. People need to take some sticks out of their butts, seriously.

  27. I hate this question soooo much when I’m a regular at the gym. I go the same time and stay the SAME amount of time as the people (who are obviously stalking me while I’m there) who ask me, “How much do you work out?! How do you work out this long?!” Uhm, I don’t know… How do YOU stay here and work out this long!?

    Also, I don’t have a life either. I didn’t have friends in school so I had all the time in the world. I woke up at 5:00 went to bed between 10 and 11. I didn’t drink. I didn’t go out to smoke weed. Yeap, that’s pretty much where I found my time. Until I got Elmo, I had all the time in the world (except when I had to study).

  28. Also get this question a lot, always with an undertone of “you aren’t as busy as I am, which makes me better than you”. Poeple love to measure their lives by business. I also think they want you to acknowledge that your life is easy because you don’t have kids. So they got that from you….

    Whatever. I work til 10:00 at night sometimes, and lo and behold there is still time to run. Wake up early.

  29. I think your attitude is great girl, to be honest I do struggle with the “o should I go” and that is something I am working on. Do I enjoy my work outs? you bet! But do I always have time? nope. I am overly committed to many other things and that means the gym sometimes has to be forgotten. So I am working on being OK with that since there was a time that I had the time. Now I don’t. But I think it is awesome you are taking advantage of the time and using it how you want to. I also like that you put in there it is all your decision! if you are tired you go home, if you have plans you don’t sweat it. I hope all of those haters read this and see that you are so healthy! mind and body!

  30. I think you perfectly highlighted your lifestyle and why you can maintain it. Everyone lives a different life – some people have families, others have many social obligations, others simply don’t like working out. But what’s most important is that you’re doing what you have the time and privilege to do without sacrificing anything serious like a social life, friendships/relationships, or sleep. That’s key!

  31. You make time for what you are passionate about. Running is a huge a love in your life so obviously you are going to make time to get your run on. Like Amy stated above, you are wicked fast so you still get decent mileage in a short amount of time. Its not like your missing work to run!! I will say that I am a tad jealous that when you are done at work you are done – no homework, class assignments, etc. I would probably lift/cross train if I had that time but right now I just need to get my training miles in while pulling off the grades and socializing haha.

  32. So late on this one, but love.

    It annoys me to no end when people snark on my gym time. It’s 3 hours of my day. Workout, cardio, foam rolling and 40 minutes to shower. No, I don’t have a family if my own, but I do have family here and the bf. both recognize I have goals and the gym is for my health first and foremost…. And support me even when I’m focusing on me.

  33. Thanks for writing this one. Though I’m sad if you’ve felt bad by us asking! I love that in your down time you just head out to the gym. Because why not? I think I have so many things I want to get done that I make time for them all, but often leave no time for, you know, just living.

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