Make time for running

Many people have asked me about finding the time to run. Most say they can barely slot in work, personal and family life into their schedule, what more devote hours weekly to long-distance running.

Time is not a matter. It is not forged, made, found, bought or borrowed. So finding time isn't an excuse. The question is, can you make time for something?

My day starts very early, at 5.30am, when my alarm rings and I wake up to shower and cook lunch.

After Subuh prayers, I guzzle my protein shake and I hit either the road or the treadmill, depending on my mood and the weather.

And I would run, with or without music, for an hour or so, before I shower and get ready for work.

Contrary to popular belief that exercising in the morning will drain energy, I actually feel fresher and much more energetic than on days I don't work out.

Most people fuel their bodies with food before work. For me, it's sweating it out.

Due diligence

"Wah! So rajin!" when I tell someone of my morning running routine.

I guess it's not a matter of being diligent. I suppose the reason I sleep and wake up early every day (especially on weekends) is that running or exercise, to me, is not a chore. I like the void that running gives, the clarity of mind I get after an hour of pounding the tarmac.

I love the morning breeze, before fumes from motorised vehicles pollute the air that we breathe.

I love running up the hill in the morning and see elderly couples walking together.

I love the idea that after I have finished running at 8.30am on weekends, I still have the whole day before me to do what I like.

Another reason why I run in the morning is the activity is so intense that if I were to do it after work or at 5pm after I have eaten, napped and watched TV, I may be too tired to run the extra mile.

Matter of priority

Matter of priority

In the end, making time for activities - be it running, cooking or spending quality time with children boils down to priority.

An hour and a half means differently to different people. For me, it means a 12km run.

A football fan will watch an English Premier League match. A movie lover will hit the cinemas. And of course, a couch potato will be glued to the telly.

But that doesn't mean I run at any given free time. I just make working out and exercise a priority in my life. Just like eating well and playing chase with my cats.

It's what I like and what makes me happy.

So, what's your priority?

How do you make exercise a priority?

1. Do something you like. You will not be able to sustain an activity if you find it a chore.

2. Find something cost-effective. Only spend money on activities that you've grown to love.

3. Engage the family and make it a routine to go for weekend walks at the park.

4. Start small. Don't aim for something you can't achieve. As you progress, make your goals bigger.

5. Reward and treat yourself once in a while.