Too Busy to Work Out? No Excuses...
When it really comes down to it, I don’t have time to run. I’m a single parent with a full-time job, and running is something that I have to make an effort to squeeze into my already busy schedule.
I’m certainly not the only one facing this dilemma.
With so many moving parts to our lives, how does any parent manage to keep running in the mix?
For me, the answer is to make the best use of the time I do have. That means being as efficient as possible with every workout—and I do that by quantifying my runs.
If you’re squeezing in an afternoon run, or any other exercise, quantification gives you feedback on your workout. Whether your goal is to reach your target heart rate, burn calories, or run with the best form, devices can provide powerful feedback on just how well you’re working out.
And for those of us pressed for time, using quantification to track efficiency and measure progress keeps us motivated and helps us stay on track.
Here are a few of my favorite quantification tools.
When it comes to basic workout tracking, look no further than your smartphone.
With the free Runkeeper app, you can log your mileage, track your (approximate) calories burned, and monitor your pace. Plus, the app features more than just running: with over 20 activities to choose from, you can log anything from hiking and rowing to Cross-Fit or Zumba.
Runkeeper also has a simple feature that compares your workouts so you can measure your progress.
While I love Runkeeper for basic workout tracking, it may not be the best choice for those who are serious about quantifying their training. All fitness apps work with approximations. Unless they’re paired with your heart rate monitor, your workout is subject to an algorithm that works from a combination of numbers you enter manually.
Fitbit is a great tool for people who want to try quantifying their workouts. When synched with your smartphone, the Fitbit automatically tracks:
- Steps taken
- Calories burned
- Miles walked/run
You can also manually track your calorie intake, your water consumption, and any weight lost (although if you’re as busy as I am, manually tracking these smaller details is out of the question). Using a Fitbit can definitely help you quantify your workouts, watch your progress, and tweak your training when you plateau.
Just bear in mind that setup of the Fitbit can be a hassle, especially not for the tech-minded. Also, tread delicately: Fitbits have a reputation for breaking if you’re too rough with them, so they may not be the best choice for Cross-Fitters, trail runners, and rough and tumble endurance athletes. And definitely don’t make the mistake of accidentally tossing your Fitbit in the wash—it won’t survive.
I wouldn’t go so far to call Sensoria elite, simply because that implies that it’s out of reach for the rest of us—and it definitely isn’t, especially when its price is comparable to the Fitbit. But when it comes to accuracy and actionable data from performance trackers that quantify workouts, Sensoria is definitely in a class by itself.
For runners who are serious about their training, Sensoria has a range of products that measure everything from cadence, proper foot strike, pace, and heart rate. And because the technology works with sensors embedded in the fabric, you’re not hassling with spare parts and wires, and you don’t have to input your data into a fixed algorithm.
While I enjoy all of the Sensoria products, I most appreciate the Sensoria Fitness sports bra with heart rate monitor– men would likely prefer the t-shirt and heart rate monitor. For someone as busy as I am, the fitness sports bra simplifies the quantification of my runs: it’s work out, toss in the wash (yes – it’s machine washable), and move on to the next thing. Plus, it’s partnered with my smartphone, so I don’t have to do anything other than check my progress later.
Although I’m constantly pressed for time, running is something I refuse to give up. I truly believe that exercise helps us maintain both healthy bodies and healthy minds.
There are still days where I feel like it’s impossible to make time for running, but seeing the results from my quantified activities keeps me going. It reminds me that that if I make the best use I can of the 30 minutes or hour that I have, I am making the right choice both mentally and physically.
And when I look at the data, I can’t argue with the results.