I’m often asked how I have time for running or how my running has changed since I’ve had kids. I always tell people that having kids has made running more important and more of a priority for me. It might seem backwards that I run more now than ever because I have less time now than before kids. Why is running more important than ever, some thoughts and some practical tips:
My time is more precious, and I really value time alone. I do not get very much time by myself, I spend much of my day with either work or family along me to do things for them (and usually I’m happy to oblige) but having a few minutes a day to do something totally for me is more important than ever.
I want to emulate a healthy lifestyle for my kids. I feel even stronger about this because I have daughters (though maybe I shouldn’t, boys need to hear/see it just as much I suppose). You hear so much these days about girls and their self worth, their bodies and how they feel about them. I want to be an example of a healthy lifestyle and attitude. I also think that the best offense against the crazy temptations and problems that can plague our teens is to be active and busy with sport. I’m hoping that if they see me being active that they’ll want to do the same.
There is more research coming out showing that running can be a great anti-depressant. There was even an article in last month’s Runners World about using running to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While I don’t suffer from PTSD or depression, I do feel WAY more level headed and
less likely to strangle a child patient with my children when I’ve gotten a run in. I think running really helped me adjust to having kids also. It’s a huge change to go from a DINK (dual-income-no-kids) to a SAHM (stay-at-home-home) essentially overnight. While I know that we’re incredibly blessed in Canada to get such a long maternity leave, it is also SUCH A LONG MATERNITY LEAVE…. I needed something other than my kids to devote my energy to, and for me that was running. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for my maternity leave and children, I’m not sure I would have trained for another marathon.
So how do I actually fit it in. It’s simple, I just do it. By simple, I don’t mean easy, but I honestly do think it’s simple. When something is important or is a priority it just get’s done. If watching The Bachelor is important, and you enjoy it, then you find time for it. There are millions of parents out there who find time for shows like this. I’m not ragging on The Bachelor, I watch all sorts of crap TV, and am not in a position of judgement. Here are some of my tricks though, and I’ve love to hear more tricks on how my mother-runner friends fit in their runs.
- I get up early. During the work week, I’m up at 5am, every single morning. Sure I like to sleep as much as the next guy, but the day doesn’t have enough hours in it, so I pull more hours out of it on the front side. I don’t usually workout in the morning, but it does get me to work earlier, which means I have time in my day to get my run done.
- My gym has childcare. After I had my second daughter I joined a gym with childcare, and while I was on maternity leave, and occasionally since I’ve been back at work, I’ll leave the kids and run or get a workout in. As a bonus, my kids have fun playing in a new setting, and they get socialized by being around different people.
- I have a treadmill at home. This is huge, and I will admit that when my husband first wanted a treadmill I was against it. I thought that part of the appeal of running was the simplicity, just putting on your shoes and heading out… well 5 years and 2 kids later, I’ve clocked a lot of km’s on that thing. If my hubby is out or busy, I’m just a Diego, or Sesame Street episode away from a run.
- My husband is a runner and totally gets ‘IT’. This is a HUGE help, it means that on the weekends or a night or two a week if we both need to get runs done, we make it happen. Neither of us gets annoyed with the other for being out for 3+ hrs on a Saturday or Sunday morning. We enjoy the one-on-two time with our kids and then take our turn the next day.
- My running partner has kids. This means she also gets ‘IT’, and we both are flexible and move things around to get our runs in when we’re running together. When we were both on maternity leave we’d take turns watching each other’s kids while the other one ran. We would have rather run together, but we also wanted to get a quality workout in, so this was the easiest way to get it done.
- My house is often a mess. I feel like keeping my house spotless is a bit of a losing battle, and so have thrown my hands up, and try not to stress over it. When I do stress about it, I just go for a run 😉 Seriously though, I could stay home and tidy my house and then 30 minutes later my kids, husband and dogs would have it looking like a bomb went off again, so really what’s the point. I do what I can, but really try not to stress the rest.
Any other ideas? Why is running important to you, and how do you fit it into your busy life?