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July 10, 2024 7 mins

Even busy people can get faster or stronger

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of iHeartRadio. Good Morning.
This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast. Today's
tip is about how to find time to get faster.

(00:23):
Lots of people have athletic goals that involve pushing past
their current limits. Finding time to do that in a
busy life can be challenging, but it is not impossible.
I believe that even people with jobs and families can
decide to get in what is perhaps the best shape

(00:46):
of their lives. Today's episode was inspired in part by
my co host on my other podcast, Best of Both Worlds.
Sarah Hartunger, a practicing physician mom of three, has long
been a committed recreational runner. However, like many people in

(01:07):
the busy years, she hadn't been training particularly seriously. A
few years ago, she ran a five k at about
a nine minute mile pace. For many of us, that
would be perfectly fine, but Sarah had a long time
goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. For any non

(01:28):
runners listening to this, the Boston Marathon famously requires people
to get a fast enough time in another marathon in
order to participate. For women in their early forties, this
time is three hours and forty minutes for twenty six
point two miles, which works out to about an eight
minute and twenty three second mile. In other words, Sarah

(01:52):
was going to have to get significantly faster than her
nine minute mile pace and be able to sustain that
pace for many more miles than she was doing. It
sounds daunting, but she decided to try. She hired a
coach to help her plan out her workouts. Then she

(02:14):
did them mostly in the morning before going to work.
By being out the door by about five thirty am.
On any given day, she could run until six forty
five am and be back in time to help get
her three kids ready for school and get herself to
the office to start seeing patients. On Saturdays, she would

(02:35):
often run from five thirty am to eight am or
so in order to do her long runs. Sundays were
generally off from running. On some level. This is a
lot of running. In seventy five minutes on a weekday morning,
she could run eight to nine miles, depending on the pace.
On a weekend long run, she could run fifteen to

(02:58):
twenty miles, depending on what the coach asks for. If
she was doing about eight miles on five weekdays and
fifteen to twenty on weekends. That is fifty five to
sixty miles per week. On the other hand, it's not
that much time either. Seventy five minutes times five is

(03:18):
six hours and fifteen minutes during the work week. Add
another two point five hours for a long run, and
we are still under nine hours for the week. According
to the annual American Time Use Survey, the average American
spends two point seven nine hours per day watching television,

(03:40):
which comes out to more than nineteen hours per week.
Shift less than half of that over into the running category,
and serious training to get faster becomes a possibility. Now
it's not quite that simple, of course, people tend not
to watch TV at the same time when they would
be running, but time can be malleable with some planning.

(04:04):
Rather than watching TV at night, Sarah would go to
betterly like by about nine thirty or nine forty five
pm most nights in order to be up on time
to run. Shift time around a bit, and passive evening
leisure time turns into active morning leisure time. Some days

(04:25):
Sarah couldn't run because of travel or illness, but mostly
she did, and as she increased her mileage and did
the speed work her coach prescribed. She did start to
get faster. Over the course of a year or so,
those nine minute miles became her leisurely pace. She built

(04:48):
up her endurance. Then in May she ran the Bayshore
Marathon in Michigan in about three hours and thirty five minutes,
five minutes under the Boston qualifying time, and at a
pace of approximately eight minutes and twelve seconds per mile.
All this was while taking care of her patients, running

(05:12):
her family, and of course co hosting a podcast with me.
I find this very inspiring. We often think of exercise
as a good thing to do for health or stress relief.
People train seriously when they are young, or if they're
doing some sort of competitive sports. We don't train seriously

(05:34):
as middle aged people with a lot of responsibilities, but
we can. I am not personally aiming to qualify for Boston,
but I do think with some work I could get
significantly stronger and significantly faster than I am now. Indeed,
if we devote nine hours to anything in life each

(05:57):
week with a desire to get better, we probably will.
It's always easier not to, but it is always a possibility.
We all have twenty four hours in a day. It's
just a matter of what we do with them in

(06:19):
the meantime. This is Laura. Thanks for listening, and here's
to making the most of our time. Thanks for listening
to Before Breakfast. If you've got questions, ideas, or feedback,

(06:40):
you can reach me at Laura at Laura vandercam dot com.
Before Breakfast is a production of iHeartMedia. For more podcasts
from iHeartMedia, please visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or
wherever you listen to your favorite show. Yes

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Laura Vanderkam

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