Very often time crunched athletes have problems getting into the groove of running a lot. Still, they desire to compete in long distance races. You cannot compete or complete healthfully without the mileage needed to prepare your aerobic system. You aerobic system is what will be controlling your movements, therefore it will have a very straight forward effect on your joint, tendon, ligament, muscular or overall body health. The health of your aerobic system is what will be controlling even your digestion. The more mitochondria you have, the more fuel demand your body will propose to push you forward even better, the more gastric juices you will produce, the better you can digest, while in the meantime not only the size and the number of your mitochondria will increase, but the efficacy of those too. This will mean lower heart rate on the same effort, less blood flow needed for the body, the more blood ready for the gut, the better the digestion it is and so on.
When you are aerobically ready, your race will be easier on the body. Not slower or faster, but easier. Not easier as an effort, easier on the body. You will be better ready for the race, but recovering way faster too. A lot of people associate high volume with fatigue and sickness and tiredness and foggy brain. Often it is the case, because of badly chosen intensity levels. Normally high volume should be on the contrary. Easy done. Go out in the morning, do 2km speed walk + 5minute mobility + 3k jogging + 5minute educatives + 15min slowly increasing intensity + 5min educatives + leg-swings + accelerations + main-set + cooldown. I mean 20km or 25 just flies by. No time for a 2h workout ? Just start out. You go and do what you can, what is 3k or 5k. Do not be discouraged. Some athletes are mentally let down, even before they put on their shoes. Go and do your 5k run in the morning, cause you never know, that an appointment is cancelled in the afternoon or your boss will let you go earlier and you can go for another 8k run. 13km is not as good as 25km, but it is 1000000% better then zero kilometer. Also, maybe you can go for a 5km additional speed-walk with the wife and do some strength and conditioning in the evening. Just roll with the day. Doing what you can is better than doing nothing.
Some people have 3 to 4hours in a day. It is not ideal if it was not a constant time for sure, but you can go out and run 3 – 4 – 5 times a day if needed. That will prepare your body at least for the by monthly long run. Also, once you got into the groove, you’ll see that this way the impact and recovery is way faster, than from single efforts. Doubles and triples are good. I like to add some strength training too to these runs. 4km run + 5 x 8dips. Then 3km run and 1 x 150lunges. Then 5km run in the evening and 5 x 20 leg raises for the core.
You must be smart. When you have 45minutes, it doesn’t mean a 45min run. I hate to rush. 5min to change and get to the street and find GPS. 20min run. 5min for shower and dressing up, 15min to sit down, chill, eat a snack and get back the mind to work.