3 Easy Ways to Balance Work and Running


We all love to run. We all need to work. Sometimes the balance of both can get pretty tough. This article offers some tips on how to manage both running and working, and gives you a glimpse into my personal experience as a runner and a full-time working mom of two small children.


I think back to the times before I had kids, before I worked full-time, when running was as simple as grabbing my shoes and my watch and heading out the door. Fast forward 5 years and running is not so simple but it is still achievable. First, you have to ask yourself where you prioritize running. For me, I know that if I don’t run I won’t be as good of a mom, wife or employee. I make the time whether it is 5 am or 5 pm, to get in my run every day (with the exception of a day off here and there when my schedule really does not allow it). I find that if I really want to make it happen, I can. Sometimes that entails doing my run on the treadmill on the weekend while the kids nap or taking them to the local gym and dropping them off at the day care so I can run on the treadmill. During the week I find the time before or after work before dropping them off at daycare or picking them up. Some fortunate people have the opportunity to run on their lunch break. If you are one of them I suggest bringing a change of clothes so you are not stinky the rest of the work day!

I know for a lot of people they really may not have any time in their day to run. I suggest planning out your schedule with less days of running so that you do not get stressed out about going every day. Plan your weekend to include both days of running and then pick a few days during the week that you can get in at least half an hour or ask your coach to help you figure out how to schedule your days with less volume during the week and higher volume on the weekends.


Sometimes I ask friends to help me out when I want to get in a run but don’t have any child care or life is too hectic to get to the gym. The favor goes two ways and I am happy to watch a friend’s kid so they can get in a run. I have learned that it is OK to ask for help if it gives me the opportunity to get in a short run, de-stress and clear my mind. These are things that are essential to me being the best in all the areas I put my priorities. Running and exercising is very important for productive employees so if anything, use it as an excuse to help improve your work output!


Make time for running during your week but also keep in mind that stressing over it won’t help anything. Know that doing a 25 minute run is OK and sometimes that is all we have time for. It is not a waste of time, and you will benefit from the time you spent on your feet. Ask for help, and seek support. It does take a village! Maybe you don’t have kids, just a very demanding job, we all seek support in different ways. Meet up with a buddy. The buddy system gets people out the door. Running at 5 am is made much more enjoyable with a friend and a conversation. Be flexible and allow yourself some slack. In my dream world, I can run when I want to for however long I want to, but in reality that just is not going happen. I have learned to give myself a little bit of slack here and there, I am okay with having to take a day off and see the mileage in the book fall a bit one week. As long as it is not consistently happening, I know it will be okay. And last but certainly not least, have fun! I would not run if I was forcing it. Running is my time to myself, my thinking, stress relieving, mind clearing, the time I am not answering to anyone else and I am going to enjoy every moment and every step of it. You should too!

Recommended Additional Reading: Balancing Running with Kids


Annika Braun is a McMillan Running Coach. Learn more about our Personal Coaching where you can train with a coach like Annika by your side to plan your training and talk about race strategy, performance nutrition, injury prevention, stretching, and much more.

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Written By Greg McMillan
Called “one of the best and smartest distance running coaches in America” by Runner’s World’s Amby Burfoot, Greg McMillan is renowned for his ability to combine the science of endurance performance with the art of real-world coaching. While getting his graduate degree in Exercise Science he created the ever-popular McMillan Running Calculator – called “The Best Running Calculator” by Outside Magazine. A National Champion runner himself, Greg coaches runners from beginners to Boston Qualifiers (15,000+ and counting!) to Olympians.

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