Finding time and motivation to run is hard for all of us. For busy moms, it’s even tougher. With your full time job, small children that require your full attention, and a household to manage, you still manage to find time for date night and your friends every now and then. How can running fit in such a hectic schedule?
We put together some simple tips and tricks that will help you balance training and motherhood.
Wake up early to run
The hardest thing about being a mother runner is finding time to workout without hurting the family schedule. Early mornings are usually the best time slots to fit a run. At this time of the day there aren’t any interruptions, and there’s no need to arrange babysitting because everyone is still asleep. But motivation can be hard to find when you would rather stay in bed instead of lacing up. It can be really helpful and motivating if you prep everything you need – clothes, running shoes, pre-run meal and water – the night before. When the alarm goes off, you won’t have any more excuses to skip the workout. Just say to yourself, “Don’t think, just go.”
Make every minute count
If mornings are not a good time to squeeze in a workout, and evenings are too crowded to log a few miles, you should start making every minute count.
Many runners plan their workouts around their children’s naps; others run laps around the soccer or baseball field when their kids are at practice; and putting your kids in a day care a few miles away from home can do wonders for your weekly mileage.
The most important thing of being a busy mom runner, is to pick the most convenient time to work out and learn to be flexible – a 4-mile run may turn into 8 miles if your child is behaving in the running stroller, or a longer run might get compromised if your kid would rather be at home.
Choose the right training plan
If you have just decided to have a more active lifestyle, you should begin with a minimum time per day and minimum number of days per week goal.
How about 30 minutes per day, three days per week? You can easily fit in a workout in your busy mom’s schedule with a run/walk interval program, such as Ease Into 5K.
Interval workouts alternate high-intensity levels with lower-intensity effort, which helps you see greater results in less time. Studies have shown that interval training burns three times as much fat as running twice as long at a moderately hard, steady pace. But the benefits don’t end there – recovery from interval training forces the body to continue burning fat for energy.
Work out alone
Although working out with a running partner can help you stay motivated, coordinating schedules can be a daunting task.
Working out alone allows you to manage your own schedule, fitting in a run whenever possible and focusing on a more targeted workout that will you give you quicker results.
But if you already have a running buddy that holds you accountable, you can both benefit a lot more from this partnership. Next time you go out for a run, bring your kids along and swap the duties back and forth – have your running partner watch the children while you run, then switch when you get back.
Cherish your solo runs
When you run alone, make that workout about you. You need that time to recharge yourself, away from the chaos of your busy mom life.
When you run, try to focus completely on running and don’t let thoughts of your children or other worries distract you. It will be hard at first; but when you get back from your work out, your kids will have your complete attention and you will feel physically and mentally reinvigorated and ready to give your best to all those around you.