New runners often feel that between their work and family lives, they just don’t have time for regular training. But the fact is, exercise is something everyone should prioritize. Generally speaking, something is better than nothing—so even if you only manage a short session, that’s a positive thing. Here’s how to find training time in your busy schedule. 

Set a routine

If you work during the day, figure out how early you would need to get up to fit in a run beforehand. Once you set that workout alarm, you’ll find it’s not that hard to get used to—and you’ll appreciate the off days even more.

Join a nearby gym

If you find it challenging to fit pre- or post-work runs into a packed schedule, consider joining a nearby gym to visit during your lunch break. Don’t skip lunch to do this, of course. Plan to bring your lunch or grab some quick takeout afterward to eat at your desk.

Run to or from work

I used to work in offices that were about three miles from home, with their own gyms and shower facilities, or an affordable gym nearby. I would often leave a change of clothes and toiletries stashed in my cubicle, and carry my phone, keys and a credit card when I set out in the morning. The biggest bonus that came out of this plan was getting to sleep in a little bit later than I normally would if running close to home before work. As far as getting home afterward, I would rely on public transit, or occasionally a ride from a coworker heading in the same direction.

Set realistic goals

If I’m not currently training for a race, I tend not to focus on hitting a certain number of miles per week. My longtime off-season plan is to run three to six miles for my weekday runs, which makes it pretty hard to argue with myself that I don’t have time to get a 30-minute session in before starting my work day.

Make it a family event

If you’re concerned that training will take away time with your kids, try to include them in your run. Have them come out on their bikes and tag along for a mile or two, and keep a short looped route so you can drop them at home when they’ve had enough and you possibly want to keep going. Chances are your kids will look at it as something to look forward to every day, and fitting in a run will feel more like play than a chore.