Long Work Hours - Combining This With Running

by Kool
(Coral Springs, FL, USA)

long work hours and running

I work close to 65 hours a week. At one job, I used to run and have completed 3 half marathons. I've picked up weight and I need a training plan that I can balance losing the weight, getting good run time in, and of course work 65 hours a week. Help?

Answer by Dominique:
Hi there,

Thanks for reaching out! Balancing a demanding work schedule with your running plan and weight management goals can be quite a challenge; luckily, there are some ways to approach this without doing more harm than good. Let's cover several aspects that you should keep in mind as follows:

1. Finding balance in life
2. Benefits of balance
3. Starting off easy
4. Combining with a healthy diet

Finding Balance in Life

long work hours and running
We all want to excel at what we do and often we push ourselves to the limit. However, it's crucial to remember that finding a good balance between your professional, personal, and fitness life is essential. Working a 65-hour work week is significant, and you might often feel there aren't enough hours in a day to fit in a workout.

I have a demanding job as well, albeit my work hours are less extreme. At some point, something has got to give and your health should be your top priority because without it, every other area of life suffers.

It is hard how to tell you to conjure up more time. Sufficient sleep is super important. Finding time to exercise is super important. Work is important, but if there is an opportunity to adjust the number of hours you do in a week, I'd definitely explore it.

If not, the way I can see you improve is to set modest exercise goals. Run regularly, but keep the runs short. 20-30 minutes some mornings or nights. Maybe there is some time for lunch time runs?

Benefits of Exercising Regularly

long work hours and running
Clearly I don't know your circumstances. If this time is spent juggling multiple jobs to survive, cutting down hours may not be possible.

If you are spending this amount of time in one corporate job, there is an easy answer. So many studies have shown that productivity drops signficantly with excessive working hours. People working 45-50 hours per week are likely as productive as you are with your 65 hours. It is impossible "to be on" 65 hours in a corporate job.

Cutting down your hours by 15-20 hours and replacing some of that time with more sleep, exercise and relaxation should make you significantly more healthy and productive. Moreover, the regular exercise will help in weight management, perfect for your goals! When you are continuously active, your body tends to burn calories faster, even when you're at rest. And on top of it all, running can be an incredible stress reliever, helping you unwind after long working hours.

Starting Off Easy

As you are a former half marathon runner, I understand you might want to dive right back into intense workouts. But remember, any good training program requires you to start slow. Easing into a running or workout routine will help prevent injuries. Diving headfirst into intense training might only leave you too tired or could lead to injuries. So, start with short, easy runs. Maybe even opt for a run and walk approach at first. With each workout, you can gradually increase the time spent running and decrease the time spent walking until you are comfortable running 30 minutes non-stop. Then you can build from there, if time allows.

Aligning Exercise with a Healthy Diet

long work hours and running
A successful training plan doesn't solely rely on exercise; a healthy, well-adjusted diet is equally important. When you want to lose some weight, diet is, I'd say, 80% of the story. Logging your food intake can be helpful, this way, you get a complete understanding of your daily calorie consumption. Make it a point to include protein-rich foods in your diet for muscle recovery and carbohydrates to refuel your energy. If you decide to use calorie counting apps (MyFitnessPal is a well-known one) you just want to make sure you do not get too obsessive about it. Remember, the key is not to restrict yourself completely but to make healthier choices.

Overall, fitting in a small workout regularly with adequate dietary management, however busy your schedule may be, will positively impact your health and weight loss journey. The journey towards achieving your fitness goal is not an easy one, but always remember that the benefits are worth the effort. Perhaps, you might even be able to complete another half marathon!

Hope this helps.
All the best,

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