The Monday Night Plan

Today has been a long day.

On Mondays, I wake up at 5am in order to dash to the airport for my 6:30am flight. (I used to get up at 4:30am until I learned to shower and dry my hair the night before… apologies to coworkers for my messy hair and often complete lack of makeup on Mondays.) It’s not really all that crazy early – I’ve certainly done worse for marathons, and know many of you who get up that early for training. However, the fact that I have an airplane commute means that when I roll into the office at 10:30am (time zone change!) and my coworkers are just starting their day, I already feel like my day should be over, since I’ve been up and working for 6.5 hours. Not good when I still have another 10-12 hours to go!

Tonight I had a recruiting event after work, so I didn’t get to my hotel and checked in until 9:20pm, at which point it was time to start thinking about dinner and a workout. Honestly, if I had just done what I felt like doing, I would have skipped dinner and gone straight to bed – but today, I had a plan.

So what’s my plan for coping with this crazy schedule? I’ve found that one strategy is writing out a detailed schedule for the night and not giving myself a minute of free time – because one minute of checking my email or going through Google Reader turns into ten minutes, which turns into thirty minutes, and before I know it, it’s too late to do any workout at all. Tonight, I psyched myself up by putting a late night workout right into my plan for my limited free time, as follows:

8:30pm – Leave event, drive home
9:10pm – Park, check in
9:20pm – Order dinner, unpack
9:40pm – Gym: bike
10:10pm – Pick up dinner, eat
10:30pm – Bed

6:15am – Up
6:30am – Gym: lift
7am – Shower, get ready
7:30am – Meet coworkers for drive to office

While all I wanted to do at 9pm after a long day was go to bed (and I probably would have been totally justified in doing so), having my plan written out helped me to set my own expectation as far as what I should be doing. So I did it. And it felt great :)

(And now I have screwed up my schedule by taking a few minutes to write this post… but it was already screwed up when my event got out later than I anticipated, so what can you do?)

How do you keep it together when you have a long day?


  1. When I have a long day I just give myself a break and go to bed. Being so anal about working out is not healthy and it is not good for your mind or your body.

    Honestly, you probably would have been better off going to bed. Eating so late is very bad for you, especially when you go to bed immediately after. This off sets anything good that might have came out of that bike ride. Next time, I suggest just going to bed and working out the following morning.

  2. Anonymous, fair point – and there are definitely some days where I do just skip the workout in favor of sleep. (There is so much research about how sleep is actually more beneficial than working out, so I try to keep that in mind!) That said, days like yesterday are more the norm than the exception since I travel every Monday, so it doesn’t really work for me to always use that as an excuse – sometimes I need to just suck it up. I definitely skip workouts when I’m facing a not-normal day, but when it comes to my weekly routine, I try to stick with it.

  3. It totally depends on my head, not my body. I’ve gone on runs at 10pm which have left me feeling amazing, and straight to bed at 9pm for 9hrs sleep which also works. It so depends in my stress / adrenaline levels!

  4. For me it’s all about lists. I like your schedule though, I should try that. It worked awesome for me back when I was home schooling my 3 kids. I’m new to your blog and I’m so inspired by your running marathons in all fifty states…it makes my four half marathons coming up sound like a breeze! Jessica

  5. Jessica – four half marathons with three kids is not easy either! Kudos for sticking with your training and making time for yourself.

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