Summer is already here and for a lot of moms that means less time for running because, well, YOUR KIDS ARE HOME ALL THE TIME! Many mother runners have mastered how to find time to run when their kids are with them 24/7 due to the pandemic while others are starting to panic.
But don’t worry. I got your back, and I won’t let run-xiety torpedo your summer fun.
First thing’s first, don’t wait for magic opportunities to open up for you to run or exercise. Put it on the calendar. Make sure you partner knows your plans. And make it non-negotiable. We are talking about your mental and physical health here!
Related: 7 Science-backed Ways Running Makes You a Better Mom
I asked around and curated the top 5 smart strategies to ensure you get your running in this summer to set you up for your fall or race, or hey, just keep you sane!
5 Ways to Find Time to Run
Running before the break of dawn is the number one most popular strategy of smart mother runners to ensure they find time to run. If you aren’t a natural early bird, check out my tips to become a morning runner.
To prepare, try to get to bed as early as possible and start gradually with a couple of mornings a week of running early. Prepare by laying out your clothes the night before, prepping coffee, giving yourself extra time to wake up and fuel, and, if you can, run with friends.
Having the social aspect and accountability of a running group or partner is crucial when trying to do something as hard as waking up early to run. Also, bear in mind that running before the sun saves you from burning up later in the day. That’s motivation right there!
Also, many runners and mother runners agree: DO NOT overthink your morning run. Just do it. Put on your shoes, shuffle your feet, and allow your body to ease into the day. Don’t let your mind take over.
Get a treadmill.
A treadmill is a secret weapon of many mother runners to find time to run—especially those who have young kids that still nap (and are still dealing with sleepless nights!).
A treadmill empowers you to run whenever you do have a window. Many smart mother runners have treadmills in playrooms or have built special play areas complete with gates to enable kids to play while mama runs.
For example, Meridith Ussery, who has trained for 100 milers using a treadmill, set up a craft area for her girls and calls it their “special art room.” She also has a dress-up box and will have the girls look at books and tell her what they see. New moms with infants usually wait for the baby to sleep, setting up a rocker or MamaRoo near the treadmill or having the baby monitor within view.
If you don’t love the treadmill, check out my treadmill running guide for tips to make it fun and a great workout!
Master the stroller run.
Stroller running is hard work mentally and physically, but it is also another powerful tool to find time to run when you’re a mama to littles.
Here I go over how to train for a race with a stroller and entertain your kids so you can go the distance. Some key tips include SNACKS (obviously), playing games like “I spy”, cranking up the Disney tunes, and ending someplace fun. I loved ending my run at a bakery or playground as extra incentive to go the distance.
One of the most important aspects of stroller running is managing expectations. You aren’t going to have a picture-perfect workout with a stroller, so try to let go of distances (and definitely paces, running by heart rate or perceived effort is best).
Aim to break a sweat and have fun doing it. Believe it or not, those stroller running times are fleeting.
Run with your kids.
Around the time your kids get too big to ride in the stroller is around the time they can start running. Every kid is different, of course, but many kids as young as 5 are able to run a mile.
Running has a host of physical and psychosocial benefits for children. And parents who start running with their kids are giving them a gift of a lifetime. Of course, running with your kids may not be the best workout in the world but it is something you can do together! Learn 15 expert tips to start your kids running.
Many mother runners like to have their kids ride bikes next to them as they run. They say their kids are the best pacers, coaches, and training partners, ever.
Call in back-up.
Repeat after me: Asking for help is not a weakness. ASKING FOR HELP IS NOT A WEAKNESS.
If you need to hire a babysitter or call in a family member to watch your kiddos so you can run, DO IT. It’s okay! And remember, your mental and physical health is a necessity for being a good mama.
Related: Ditch Mom Guilt for Good
If your kids are attached to you, have some “playdates” with your sitter or family member where you are there just visiting so they don’t associate the caretaker with mommy leaving.
Some mother runners like to do playdates where one of the moms gets to run while the other watches the kids and trade-off.
You may be shorter on time this summer to run, but if there is a will, there is a way. And, finding that time to run will make you a happier, more energetic, and more fun mom!
And, if you’re looking to chase running goals such as being more consistent or run a race, check out The Mother Runners coaching services. We would love to help you on your running journey!