7 elements to make your daily routine easier

My wife and I both work full time and our daughter only goes to school 12 hours a week. These hours are precious. In February, when a full calendar and our exercise routines slipped, we embraced the fact that we couldn’t schedule a full hour for training runs on workdays. We adopted a mantra: Do you have 30 minutes? Take 30 minutes. It helps us squeeze runs and build consistency into our training. But a half-hour run is often easier said than done: if not properly planned, it can extend into a 60-minute ordeal. Part of it actually takes that time, the other part has the right equipment to make it as comfortable as possible. Here are the elements we have used over the past three months to make sure we never skip a short amount of time.

Get comfortable shoes

(Photo: Sarah Jackson)

When soft running shoes are waiting for me on my porch, I’m much more motivated to walk out the door. First of all, I look forward to putting them on. Second, my feet and legs warm up faster in padded kicks, which is especially important for short runs. If I run for 30 minutes, I don’t want to spend 20 of them tuning myself. Every runner and foot is different, but I currently prefer Hoka’s Clifton 8 ($ 130, available June 2021), some of the most comfortable running shoes I’ve ever worn. My feet are wide and get brutally beaten up after years of hard use. While I should probably invest in a trip to see a podiatrist, the Clifton 8s keep my dogs happy for now. My wife Sarah wears – and loves – Altra’s Olympus 4 ($ 170).

Buy others

Have a dress plan

gg-run-dress-plan_h.jpg(Photo: Sarah Jackson)

On hot multi-hour runs, I’m a big fan of 5-inch shorts with fancy supportive underwear and technical tops that look like they could be worn under a NASA spacesuit. But for quickies, I wear sportswear that I don’t have to take off when I get home –sHowling does not fit into the half-hour running window. I like The reigning Polartec Power Air Jogger from Champ ($ 130) and the Polartec Delta Shirt ($ 80) Both pieces fit me better than 90 percent of the clothes in my closet, while the matte black finish and remarkable wicking of the Delta always look clean on Zoom. When I have to hold an important meeting, I throw a collared shirt over my undershirt. I realize that this is considerably more difficult for people who have more formal dress expectations or have to go to the office (and as one of my editors pointed out, this is more difficult for women to achieve). My wife often puts an outfit on our bed that she can change into after she has stopped sweating. This is a good move for office workers too.

Buy joggers buy shirt

Deal with your hair

Lunch-Run-Shampoo_h.jpg(Photo: Sarah Jackson)

We have the luxury of working from home indefinitely, but we still take video calls regularly after our runs. Most of the people I work with don’t mind if I throw a hat over my oily hair, but my wife prefers Virtue Labs Dry Shampoo ($ 16) to prepare for meetings.

Smells good

Lunch-Run-Smell_h.jpg(Photo: Sarah Jackson)

This whole system depends on your willingness to sit in a sweat for the rest of your work day after running, whether or not you change. I find that I can handle it without any problems as long as my socks and underwear are not nasty. Nikwax Base Wash ($ 26) does a fantastic job of getting rid of the stink and is so effective that I can usually use socks or underwear a few more times between washes. Separating the tech to use this particular cleaner takes time, but I only do it about once a week. It’s no more troublesome than separating white and dark, which most of us do without even thinking about it.

Use Strava

Lunch-run-strava_h.jpg(Photo: Sarah Jackson)

One important caveat: if you see a quick run on your Strava profile that is annoying you, skip this tip. My private little Strava group is positive and not very competitive. I have a friend who recorded rigorous gardening a few weeks ago – which deserved kudos and comments from me. We have found that logging small runs and walks is a great motivator for us to keep moving when we are in a time crisis. While these short trips may not get us medals on the app, they will likely get you a thumbs up for encouraging friends who are pursuing the same goals. It’s a cute little reminder that me can slide over the edge for a run.

Wait for a snack

Lunch-Run-Snack_h.jpg(Photo: Sarah Jackson)

I’ve got a passion for making intricate experimental burritos after a long time. The prep, cooking, and tidying up after these wonderful preparations can add up 30 minutes and are not an option on busy weekdays. If I have a snack ready after that, I won’t be able to crash in the afternoon. One option is leftovers, be it from meals prepared over the weekend or the evening before. But I usually keep it simple and eat whatever snacks we have on hand for our toddler, like an apple with peanut butter.

Main photo: Sarah Jackson

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