Our next Women’s Health Week contributor is a wife, mother and runner who has found a way to balance her love for running with her love for her family:
I was fortunate to be able to run through most of my pregnancy, having to stop at 36 weeks due to extreme sciatic pain. Running wasn’t always easy during pregnancy, but it was so rewarding. I also was working to try and keep a running base because I had the goal of running the Boston Marathon at four months postpartum.
I knew it was doable, but I also knew that in order to get to the start line healthy and prepared that I would have to get creative in order to find the time to fit my runs in.
Being a new mom doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you love to do. Will it be different? Sure. However, you can still find time to run; it just may take a little more work. Here are some of my biggest tips for how busy moms can fit running into their lives:
Work Around Naps
Before I had a child, I always imagined my child taking these long 2-3 hour naps. Instead, my son would take a MAXIMUM of three 45-minute naps a day. That didn’t leave me a lot of time to fit in runs but I did what I could.
As soon as I put him down, I would take the baby monitor down into the basement and run as much as I could on the treadmill. During his early months, he was able to sit in the rock n’ play beside me while I ran, but as he has gotten older he won’t have that anymore.
Use whatever nap time you are given each day to do what you can. It may not be everything you had planned but something is always better than nothing.
Involve Your Baby in Your Training
I couldn’t run with my baby until he got proper head control, but I could involve him in other aspects of my running – specifically strength training. Babies are GREAT weights and when you have a day where they don’t want to be put down, they can be perfect partners for a good strength training workout.
Make it fun and it will be a great time to spend with your little one!
Invest in a Good Running Stroller
Once you are able to run with your little one in a stroller it is a big game changer. It allows you to spend time together while still getting in your favorite sport! The key is finding a good, solid running stroller that isn’t too hard to push and meets your running needs.
It’s always a good idea to go and test them out before purchasing as they aren’t cheap and to ensure you find the perfect one for you! Running with your child in a stroller isn’t easy but it is so fun and gives you an even better workout. You will be so much stronger from it!
Work Running into Your Schedule
A mom’s run time is just as important as anyone else’s time to themselves. If you want to hold yourself accountable, then work it into your schedule throughout the week. If you are able to, plan ahead which days and times you are going to run. As moms, we often push our own wants and needs to the back, but it’s important that you make it a priority.
Embrace the Treadmill
During the first three months of my child’s life, the only way I could run was on the treadmill. If you’ve run for any amount of time, you know that the treadmill can often be extremely boring and not exciting; however, it sometimes is a necessity with kids.
Try different workouts to help the time pass quicker, or hook up your favorite Netflix movie or show to get you through the monotony of the miles. If you look at it as “you” time it makes it more enjoyable and you learn to love it!
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
One thing I had to learn very quickly was that I had to be willing to ask for help. I worked it out so that I had someone to help me at least once a week to get in a solo run outdoors. These were mentally so important for me and allowed me to have that time to myself.
Whether it’s your husband, friend, or a family member, ask them to stay with your kids for just an hour or two once a week and you will be surprised how much you can accomplish and how great these are for your sanity!
Being a mom is the greatest job in the world but it doesn’t mean you have to give up running if you love it! Finding time for you is incredibly important. It may not always be as simple, but it’s so worth it!
More about Sara:
Sara was introduced to running by her husband, an accomplished marathoner who is aiming to qualify for the Olympic Trials. When she first started, running was just a way to burn calories and stay active, but in 2010, she made it her focus. Sara ran her first marathon that same year. Since then, she has cut an hour and nine minutes off her time, and qualified for the recent 2017 Boston Marathon.
Her son, Easton, was born in December of 2016. If you did the math, yes, that means she ran the Boston Marathon just four months after giving birth! Follow her struggles and successes as a mother, wife and runner on her blog and Instagram.