To all you running mamas out there

Before you know it, you'll be running races together

I just read about a fit mama with a new baby who is in the place we’ve all been–overwhelmed and trying to figure out if and when she can squeeze in the workouts. Remember that? It’s a tough place to be. And I know it doesn’t end with the newborn stage; having small children and trying to maintain some semblance of training is hard. Really hard.

There’s the whole time factor. How do you possibly fit in workouts when someone seems to need you 24/7? (You can) Then there’s the guilt factor. Are you being selfish/a bad mom for going for a long run because you want to do an upcoming race? (Emphatically NO!).

I just want to tell any and all of you with small children–it WILL get easier with each passing day, month and year. My kids aren’t all that old (11 and 7) but I can tell you that I am in a pretty sweet spot right now in terms of balancing their needs with mine. But I do remember those earlier days, quite vividly!

You’ll learn as you go how to make the workouts happen and keep the family clicking along. Before you know it, your oldest will graduate from a jogging stroller to his/her own bike that he/she can ride along next to you. Before you know it you’ll have one or more in preschool and voila, there’s a little opening for you. Before you know it, your kids will have their own activities and you can find free moments in there to train. Before you know it, they’ll be running alongside you.

From jogger to the real deal

Enjoy each stage, even when it’s harder than hard to manage it all. Because the cliche we hear ALL too often (they grow up so fast!) really is the truth. My oldest starts middle school next year and like I said, yes, things are easier now than when he was little. But trust me, every now and again, I long for those days when I was pushing him in a jogging stroller. At the time it seemed I’d be leashed to that thing for the rest of my life, when it reality, it was the blink of an eye.

Where are you in the long/quick spectrum that is child rearing? How has running become easer for you as your kids have gotten older? 


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  1. says

    It does go by so fast and yet when you are in it daily it seems to take an eternity. I was up at 3:30 am today because my son (who I am currently co-sleeping with until we find a place to live) continues to kick me in the face night after night. UGH, when will this end! hahaha! Hope you are well and surviving the heat and enjoying your summer. :)
    LisaM@RunWiki recently posted..What every person should know but they don’t tell you about the Marathon and Marriage.My Profile

  2. Katharine says

    I’ve got four (9, 7, 4 and 6 months) and it’s a constant challenge to stay on top of their changing needs. Right now number three and four will hop in the jogger with me when all is well or the older three will ride alon on their bikes but mostly I just depen on the early morning before they all wake to get my miles in. Regardless, running with kids is worth it for sure, if only for the sanity it brings a busy parent and the example it sets for your kids. I say stick with it, in a few ther needs will change an it may get easier.

  3. Rene' Whiteley says

    I am finally in a good spot. All 4 of mine are in school full day and my 12 year old can help for a bit if they are home. I still get up early to get my runs in as it is summer, but not pushing the jog stroller is definitely some welcome relief. Like you there are times that I miss that little voice chanting “go mommy go!” as we tackled hills together, but it is also good to have something that is totally my own. Happy Wednesday.

  4. says

    I actually didn’t start running until my daughter was 5 so never had to do the stroller run or anything like that. I do have to do most of my runs on the treadmill though, because I can’t leave her alone to get outside and do them. Sometimes, for the long runs, she’ll climb on the bed while I’m running and we’ll watch a movie together!
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  5. says

    I love my freedom right now and not being a parent but there is this side of me that is coming out more and more that wants a little kid to put in a jogger and take along. I of course will most likely continue my early morning solo runs but I look forward to a new stage of life even if its going to be difficult!
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  6. says

    Great words of wisdom! I’m at a pretty good place now (L is 2 1/2), it’s much easier than the first 2 years, now that she understands where I’m going, or asks to go to the child care at the Y. Still has it’s challenges, of course. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy each day- I need to hear that daily. :)
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  7. CJ says

    If you have a spouse/partner or friends/family who are willing to help–make your needs known!!

    Mine are 4, 9, and nearly 14, so their needs are very different: practices/games/meets for the older and active supervision for the younger. It’s rare that I can leave the teenager in charge of the other two, since the dynamics of three people (one always left out or 2 against the other) make it tough. But I can sometimes get 30-40 minutes for a run. Unintended genius: my mom happened to call while I was out once, and they all stayed entertained talking with her on the phone until I got back :)

    I take them all to CrossFit with me, though it can be nerve-wracking depending on the intensity of the workout (heavy weights, lots of moving among stations, etc.), and they can’t wait for their turn with the ropes, pullup bar, tires, etc. But it’s best when my husband and I (or grandparents) work together so we get the workouts we need.

  8. says

    So true! I didn’t just start teaching spin because I loved it so much – it was for the gym membership! There are ways to balance everything out, but the first thing I recommend to any new mama (once 6wks PP and cleared to exercise) is a jogging stroller. If nothing else, they can push their precious bundle around for a few miles then come home and do crunches and sit-ups. I’d be lost if I hadn’t had a jogger!
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  9. says

    It’s a catch 22- I can actually run without them around or without the *gasp* running stroller. But now they want to race with me, so I don’t always get “my race at my pace”. That said, I LOVE running races with them :)
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  10. says

    In the same sweet spot as you (11 and 8). Juggling my wants/needs around theirs is still a daily decision, but so much easier than their infant/toddler years. Already done some races with them. My 8 year old is very sporty and loves doing them. She still needs to work on pacing as she sometimes freaks herself out by going out too fast. But I look forward to sharing my newfound fitness with her (and hopefully my son from time to time) for years to come. I hope it is part of how I raise them to be strong, self confident people.
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  11. says

    gREAT post chica!!

    i have 4 kiddos- 6wks,22months,6 and 8
    i am at that stage now where yes i feel overwhelmed at times,but now that the older 2 are riding thier bikes,i can take all 4 to the paved trails-older 2 on bikes,younger 2 in the double jogger….
    and the older 2 are in sports and are starting to get interested in road races-we ran a few last year,before the new baby-and this year we are planning more races. even though my husband is not a runner,he will push the jogger and run with the other two so i can race…

    cant wait to get back in shape again after this last baby,so i can actually race!

    now that the baby is 6wks old,i can take him to the gym with me-
    but those long runs have to be saved for the weekend when hubs is home and i have a good 2 or more hours…

    its all about finding the balance–and im in the process now of finding that golden schedule and try to fit in all hose workouts,and oh yeah,train for a marathon this fall!

    anyways,thank you for posting this–and yes,you are so right-time really does go by fast-seems like just yesterday that the older 2 were the ones in the jogger…and now they are big kids,bike riders,soccer players,and hopefully my future runners! just a matter of time when the younger 2 will follow suit-and then after that i will blink my eyes and they will all be grown up and out of the house and i will have to adopt lots of dogs to fill the empty nest!!

  12. says

    I have three kids, 13 , 7 and 9 and it has gotten easier since they’re older. Especially since the one that is 13 is old enough to watch the younger ones. We also kind live where we work so that helps too. I go through all the emotions during my training cycle as you can imagine but at the end of the day I do my best to juggle and I hope I’m doing a good job.
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  13. says

    Thank you for this. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel so it’s good to hear (again) that it does get easier!! My kids are 3 and 5 so I’m definitely out of the baby stage but they aren’t fully independent. I’m so lucky to have an amazing husband and family that supports me and that helps me find the time to be active.
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  14. says

    I started running 2 years ago when my son was 9 and my fiance was deployed. There was a lot of treadmill runs and weekend long runs with him on the bike (on safe trails not roads). It definetly has gotten a lot easier now that he is older. At the same time his schedule is busier with sports in the afternoon so my runs either get done early in the morning before work or I run to his baseball games/practices. I’ve also been trying to involve him in my running. In August we have a trail race as a family. I’ll be running the 12k and my son and fiance will be running the 2 mile race. It will be our first race as a family and I’m excited!
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  15. says

    I am not yet in that sweet spot, although, next year starts everyone being in some form of school (preschool for the 4yr old and all day 1st grade for the 6 year old), so I will get 9 glorious hours of daytime with NO KIDS! I am currently at a loss for what I want to do with it. I had initially figured I would train for my first IM, but my husband has said absolutely no traveling to do an IM, and the one here is at the end of summer, so I am still stuck juggling the bulk of the training in the summer, when I have the both all day. I also have an active husband, and we attend church on Sunday, so that leaves us with Saturday to be spent with one of us training pretty much the whole day. My son wants to get involved with soccer, and that is going to eat into that precious training time (and unfortunately, I am at that point where I NEED 4+ hours to train in one block, and hour here and there isn’t cutting it anymore). We had one month with 3 birthday parties for my daughter, and I thought I was going to shoot myself because of the mess of training it made. We got through it, but I don’t know that I want to do it again next summer too.
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  16. says

    Amanda, I feel like you wrote this for me today. I’ve been juggling one child and running pretty well but am starting to get overwhelmed with the idea of having a second in just 2 months. Now that we are settled into our first home, the daily chores are starting to build as well. There are so many days when I wonder how the heck there will be time to do it all. It’s so tough.

    Thank you for giving me the light at the end of the tunnel – even if it is a little bit down the road =)

  17. Lisa says

    Great post. Sniff sniff from a running mom who’s boys are up and running on their own in life and on the road. Hugs to the new moms out there

  18. says

    thanks so much for this. I am at the beginning of this road and trying my best to balance the enjoyment of every moment with my need to set personal goals and get back out there. it is so nice to have people to look up to :)

    didn’t realize you were in MD. same here and boy today was a scorcher!
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  19. says

    I have a 3.5 year old and 1.5 year old (who should count for two kids with as NONSTOP as he is – haha!). I have learned that planning ahead while also still being flexible helps so much. And that you can fit in at least a little something most every day if you look hard enough. Also, making it as much a habit for you as for your kids to know that you have your workout time. As my kids grow older, they even expect it and love when they get the chance to “workout” with mommy. :)
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  20. says

    This is so true. I’m in that sweet spot right now too, my kids are 9 and 12. It has gotten a ton easier to fit in the training lately. And it’s hard to believe how fast the years have gone by!
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  21. says

    My twins are five and a half now. Kindergarten starts next month!! I can’t believe it!! It’s going to mean a whole new routine, with two full days off for me (I work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but have Thursday and Friday off work–I hardly know what I will do with myself when they are at school on those days–run more I guess!!).

    It took me a loooong time to find a groove with working out with them. The best thing I did was start taking them to my gym’s childcare at a young age (18 months). Four years later they are old hands there, know all the “teachers” and love it. And I always get my Thursday cardio and weights done.
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  22. says

    Love this post. And it’s so true. I struggle less and less with finding time to train with my 12 year old. But there was the time when she would be like “Please mom no more marathon training.” It takes awhile to find a groove but when you do it is nice to know you can balance it all.
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  23. says

    You’re right, this post is perfectly fitting for me right now! It is so hard to fit it all in, especially with my husbands crazy work schedule. As hard as it is now I feel like its only going to get harder when I go back to work. How will there be enough time?? Will I be a bad mother if I take a few hours for a long run?? How wonderful that you’ve kept it up! You’re an inspiration!
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  24. says

    Great post!!! It is so challenging balancing family, kids and running but it is doable. I have a 15yr old and a 3 yr old and it is not always easy I do fit my runs in. My 3 year old now knows when I get dressed in my workout clothes I am going “jogging” and she even does yoga with me!!! My 15 yr old is much easier because at her age she doesn’t want much to do with me anyhow. What I know is that i am a better person all around when I run and that shows!!
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