Running Mums and Juggling it All

Are you new running Mom and wonder how some of us fit it all in and still find time to train or just get out for a run? We all lead very different lives and our schedule’s vary but one thing we all have in common: KIDS.

I’m Anna. I’m a 37 year old Occupational Therapist, Property Manager and a Mom of three kiddos age 9, 7 and 4. I run anywhere from 5k races to 50 mile runs to 1/2 Ironman distances. Road and trail. Life is busy. In fact, at times, it’s insane. Work, laundry, school lunches, soccer games, homework, before and after school activities, instrument lessons, choir practice, playdates, dinner, PTO meetings, grocery shopping, school fundraisers, frisky time with the spouse AND training for the next race…the list goes on. With so much going on in our hectic lives, when do we fit in a run? When do we train? We all have different schedules. All busy. All equally important; just different. However, finding that “me time” to train or simply run is essential. Whether it be at 4:30 AM before the household wakes up or 9:30 at night when the household falls asleep. Whenever it may be, designate that time for you. Is it possible to juggle everything life throws at us and still have time to train for our next 10k, 50k or 100 mile race? Yes. Have a read.

Here are a few tips:
First things first:
-Get Organized…find a race and figure out how much time you will need to train for it and create a training plan. Give yourself a bit of extra time, just in case you miss a few of your longer runs.

-Inform your spouse of your decision to make sure he/she is on the same page as you. Having spousal support is huge.

-Look at your day to day schedule to find a consistent time during the week that you can dedicate to shorter runs or cross training. I call it “me” time.

-Create a monthly calendar for the whole family to see what, where and when everyone is involved with so you can set aside time for the longer runs you may have to plan for. Mark them on the calendar.

-Plan ahead for the week: school lunches, dinners etc – this will reduce the week to week stress and eliminate last minute scrambling for a healthy, wholesome meal.

-Find a friend who might want to train with you – this will help keep you motivated and on track with your training. If you end up running together, use this time as a friend therapy session (aka bitch about anything you want!)

-Realize that we are only human. We are busy Mom’s and can only do so much in one day. If you have to skip a run for one reason or another, it’s ok! Life goes on and you’ll get back on track. Don’t be hard on yourself.

-Stay positive. You are doing this for YOU.

Some things that work for us, might not work for another and that’s okay. Take time to find your groove and once you find it, you’ll know. For me, training 3-5 weekdays all before 6:30 AM works best in our household. This gives me ample time to get in a solid run/workout and be home to start the morning mayhem and head into work. When my 3 were small enough to run with, I’d take them along in the BOB jogger and log weekly mileage on the days I was off from work so I could “sleep in”. Now that they are getting older, I run before they wake. I typically save the weekends for my long runs but start them very early so it doesn’t feel like I spend the entire day running. My family comes first and always will. However, over the years, I have learned that training doesn’t always go as planned and thats OK. Seriously. It’s OK. With my husbands help, I’ve learned to let it go. In the past, I’d get mad, grumpy and pissed off if I didn’t get my long run in due to whatever may have interfered with the weekend plans (weather, sick kids, last minute plans). Now, I make a concerted effort to roll with it and try to be grateful for the miles I was able to log.

As we experience life and running through our childrearing years, realize that our kids won’t be little forever. These tough years of trying to “schedule” a run won’t last forever. In time, our kids will be old enough where we can go for a run anytime of day because they will be self sufficient and old enough to stay home by themselves. Going for a run with your spouse and not having to pay a babysitter is still in the cards; just not right now. Realize the mayhem is temporary and when it’s gone, we might actually miss it. Embrace this period of our lives.

So, in the end, the answer is YES. YES you can train for any distance you want while juggling work and young kids. Set your mind to it and you will cross the finish line. Get your spouse on board for the early morning alarm and the weekend runs. Know that its OK if you had to skip a few miles getting to the start line. Your excuse? YOU’RE A MOM. What’s important is that you are there for YOU and you’re out there doing it. Since having my kids, the reality is, I’ve never entered a race thinking that I was trained to my max potential. Do what you can and be proud no matter what. Toe the start line with pride and confidence. You’re an inspiring role model for your kids. Just enjoy the journey. Be grateful.


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