My name is Pam and I'm a mom, runner, blogger, and organizer/motivator of thousands of running women nation wide. Last year I started Moms RUN This Town - a nation-wide running club for moms and my part time hobby has turned into a 40-50 hour per week hobby!
The biggest thing is when you decide all these things are important - it just gets done! If you have time to check facebook for 30 minutes, play on pinterest for an hour, watch a 30 minute TV show - you have time for at LEAST a 15-30 min run!
My husband can vouch for the fact that I'm a better wife and mom when I get my run or workout in. I'm calmer, happier, and feel better about myself in general. But as I said, I know it's tough to find the time while juggling kids.
When I asked our moms on Moms RUN This Town "What is the hardest part about being a mom and running?" The answer was overwhelmingly "finding the time" - so I know it's not just me! But our awesome running moms were quick with "fixes" on how to get it all done. Here were some of the tips other moms offered as ways to get in exercise while managing a family:
- Join a gym with child care. Some gyms even allow you to run outside as long as you stay close to the gym and keep your cell phone with you! My personal gym charges $1/day (2 hr max) for child care - where else can you get a sitter for that!!??
- Take advantage of parks while your kids are at baseball/football/lacrosse practice. If there is a track or loop around the field, wear your running clothes to their practice and while they are out fielding balls - hit the track for a few laps!
- Partner up with friends who also have children to create "running swaps". My friend and I will take turns running while the other watches the kiddos! It works great considering our kids are getting past the stroller age. They are happy to have the play date interaction and we are happy to have 30+ minutes to run kid free. If there are a few mamas involved - team up and watch kids at the park while a few go run, then trade off!
- If your kids are still in the jogging stroller age - take them with you! I know a lot of women say they HATE pushing the stroller - Yes, I do too - but if it means getting a workout in, I'll do it. Your pace may be slower - but you are working your arms and abs so consider it a double workout! Bring snacks, toys, or promise to let them play at the park after. If you don't have a jogging stroller - ask to borrow one from a friend. I personally have two jogging strollers that I would LOVE for my friends to borrow if needed! I've even offered to push a friends kiddo when we went for a run while my daughter was in preschool!
- Early morning runs! 4-5 am runs can be really early - especially after a long night, but if it means you get a chance to run kid-free before your husband goes to work - that 30 minutes may be SO worth it!
- Find a group sitter. If you and your friends want to go for a run - see if you can chip in to pay for a sitter who will watch the kids for a little while. Maybe you can even find a neighbor that will do it for free or even another running mom who is having a rest day - and you can return the favor when it's her running day!
- Take the kids to the local track (bring them some outdoor toys like balls, frisbees, etc) and run around the track while they play in the center! High schools have well maintained tracks and they are GREAT for speedwork (because they are flat!). If your kids are old enough - you are never more than a few hundred feet away from them at all times! They usually appreciate the outdoor time!
- Treadmills (aka "dread"mills) are always an option when it's raining. If you don't have one and you aren't a member of a gym, you may be able to find a friend that has one that won't mind you coming over to run while the kids play or watch TV!
- Take your kids WITH you for a run! I have a TON of friends whose kids have become runners because their moms are - and I think this is FANTASTIC. Encourage them to run with you for a half mile or mile - even if you have to slow your pace or walk some - getting out there is all that matters! Check out Kids Run This Town!
- Sign up for family friendly races. A lot of races have "tot trots" for the kids. Let your child run in their race so they are excited and feel like they are a part of your running. Find a friend who isn't racing that day to keep an eye on your kid while you do the 5k.
- Look for "virtual races" online so you can do a race at your leisure (and a lot of times FREE) without the stress of having to find a sitter. You can squeeze in a virtual 5k, 10k or even half marathon when it works for you and your husbands/kids schedule! Since most don't go by actual finishing times - you an take your time and possibly still come out with a prize!
Of course I'm totally biased in saying that joining a running club for moms is the first step in "finding time" - but I swear it makes a HUGE difference. The main reason I started Moms RUN This Town was to run with other women who understood late nights, sick kids, needing to get out, last minute cancellations, etc. I had no idea that there were SO many other moms who needed the exact same thing and were so willing to jump in and help when I just needed to get out for a run. We are a tight knit community - we get each other, we help each other, and we encourage each other. Every mom deserves that kind of support!
While it will never be an "easy" thing to find time to run or workout - when you make health and exercise a priority and find women who share your passion - it gets "easier".