Friday, September 7, 2012

5 Ways to Train Like A Mother

Motherhood and running can be a tricky combination. Whether you're a working or stay-home parent, finding the time to fulfill both roles is challenging. On one hand, you need to run... to maintain your sanity (and that of the entire household).  On the other hand, there can be a variety of hurdles...
• You feel guilty about taking "me" time.
• You prefer to spend your sparse free time with your family.
• You have no one to watch your little ones while you escape run.

With two small children, I've used each of the above excuses (let's call 'em what they are) more times than I'd like to admit to skip a workout.  I'm a work-from-home mom who started running when my baby was about 6 months old.  I've stressed numerous times over the years on how to complete my training runs, especially since my military hubs is away often. Now as my baby pushes closer to five, I finally feel like I've figured things out.

Here are five ways to smash the "motherhood excuses" 
and train like a mother... with your kids right by your side!

When the kids are little, buckle them in a stroller. To get started, you don't need a fancy jogging stroller. I was so slow my first year that my regular old stroller worked just fine. I waited almost a year until I knew running was 'my thing' before we invested in a double jogging stroller.  I picked up this one for under $200 and it has held up well through hundreds of miles. Best investment ever! Hint: The more you run with a stroller, the easier those non-stroller runs become. More tips on running with a stroller here.

Don't be one of those moms who sip their coffee while the kids run holy terror around the playground... Join them! Jog big laps around the playground while keeping the kids in sight. Use the monkey bars for pullups, the park bench for tricep dips. Bring your weight ball along for squats. Strap your resistance band around the playset for a strength workout. Be creative and think outside the box. More on one of my playground workouts here.

As my kids grew out of the baby stages, I've gradually progressed Big Girl onto the bike for our runs together. She pedals while I run. We get to chit chat just like I would with one of my running buddies. Sometimes she cruises up ahead, but always waits for me to catch up. I'm especially fond of this method as it also encourages her to exercise (Her furthest ride was 5 miles!). Plus her bike pace is perfect speed for my easy or recovery runs.
If your kids are too little to bike yet, don't be afraid of a bike trailer. Initially I used to make hubby pedal with it on his bike, but now I love the resistance it adds to my bike ride. Taking a bike ride with my Little Girl hooked on the back is definitely training like a mother!

Most school tracks are fenced in, which is an instant bonus when you have children. While I run laps around the track, my kids are confined and yet have space to adventure. Some laps they run with me. Other times, they play on the stadium steps (up and down, up and down). Plus we bring along their soccer ball, electronic games and snacks. They even play watergirl... holding out my water bottle as I run by. Just recently when my hubs was out of town, I was strapped on child care and needed a long run. I actually completed a 10 mile run while at the track with both girls! Not at all how I like a long run, but sometimes you just gotta make it happen.

I hate treadmill running, but when the need is there, it is always an option for me. I remember having the baby bassinet right by the treadmill side. I think the sound of the treadmill actually used to soothe my baby to sleep. Now as the kids are older, all I need to do is pop in a movie and I'm good for a good 5-6 miles.

Not everyone has a treadmill at home I realize. Do you have steps? I remember once when my treadmill was broken, I would set the timer for 30 minutes and go up and down my steps, over and over. The kids found it funny at the time. What is mommy doing? Then they made a game out of it, counting laps and coaching me on like little drill sergeants.

When I first started running, it was all about me... I needed to lose weight; I wanted to run; I needed getaway time.  I was forced to include the kids out of necessity. Now I thrive on having them be a part of my fitness journey. The more we include our children in our own fitness, the more likely they are to develop an interest in it themselves. And I know how important that is to all you mothers out there.

Check out the new Saucony run app here. The more miles you log using the app, the more dollars Saucony donates to fight childhood obesity!

How do you include kids in your training?


  1. These are such great ideas Jess! I plan on being a mom some day and these are great ideas to bust through some of those traditional excuses!!

  2. Excellent post! I've used all these tips :-)

  3. Jess, I cannot thank you enough for this. It was one of those posts that feel like it was meant just for me. I've just recently returned to work after my second maternity leave and have really been struggling to find balance. I love your ideas and can't wait to get started! :)
    Laura :)

  4. Great ideas! I too have a military husband, and am retired military while working now full time with 2 kids I am often left to take care of myself. Squeezing in those work outs sure can be challenging!

  5. I've been hitting the track with the kids playing in the middle and on the bleachers like you mentioned. It can be monotonous, but it gets the job done. I'm psyched the kids will occasionally run with me now. That certainly keeps things interesting. And challenging too kids can be amazingly fast!

  6. Love it! I remember days when they were really little squeezing in mill time while the baby watched in the bouncy chair or swing. I also used an infant fro weight while I squatted and lunged around the house. Moms are badass!

  7. I love this whole post! I have a 15 month old daughter and in July she rode in her jogging stroller while I ran my first half! She was such a trooper! And I never would have thought of the gated track area! Thank you for that tip! I'm excited to do that now! :) I also love the playground cross training idea! Can't wait to try that one with my MRTT mommas! :)

  8. Great post. It is hard sometimes fitting in time for ourselves. My kids are too big for a stroller (and weren't that fond of it when I ran with them anyway) but I always forget about running while they bike (although they are starting to get too fast).

    I have been lucky here in that we ride bikes to school every day. It is a 3.4 mile round trip that I do twice (morning and afternoon). So, no matter what, I get some exercise in.

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  10. I love this! I am new to running and I have a very active and precocious daughter who gets bored easily. She has been fine with our runs so far, but I am afraid that won't last long. This gives so many great ideas to do so i can still run without having to keep her confined to a stroller.

  11. GREAT advice for mother runners!!


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