The below post is from guest writer Dorothy Beal of MilePosts.
Every athlete-parent has asked themselves at one point – how will I train? How will I find time to do all I already do on top of my responsibilities as a parent? As a marathoner (23 under my belt) and a mother of three children 6 and under, I can tell you honestly that it can be done. What it boils down to is how bad do you want it. No one has an over abundance of time, one must make time to fit it all in. Before having kids my marathon PR was 3:59, after three children it is now 3:11.
While training for marathons 21, 22, and 23 this past fall, I would wake up at 3:50 in the morning to get in a run under the stars before my husband left for work and my children woke up. On days I didn’t get up early I pushed them in a triple stroller. When the eldest went back to school I would push the younger two in a double stroller. I do Push-ups and ab work while waiting for my coffee to brew. Stretching and foam rolling happen at night once everyone is in bed. Each training cycle brings new challenges as they grow and their schedules change. One thing that remains constant is my desire to be a marathoner and to keep running as an important part of my life.
Here are some tips for fitting it in:
- Don’t procrastinate. You never know what is going to happen during your day. Get your workout done first thing if at all possible. This may mean going to bed earlier in order to wake up under the cover of darkness. Make a choice to start your day off on the right foot.
- Make the most out of your workout. Only have 50 minutes to run? Instead of running 5 easy miles that day, do a tempo run. The faster pace means you can squeeze more miles in a shorter amount of time.
- Be present in the moment. Stop worrying about everything on your to-do list for that day. Focus on the task at hand and give your workout 100%. The results you see are a direct result of the effort that you put in.
- Minimize wasted time. If you are working out at the gym, don’t spend all your time socializing. If you are running outside, don’t drive somewhere to run, step out your front door and go.
- Squeeze in mini workouts through out the day. In your spare minutes drop down and do ten push ups. While watching tv – foam roll or work on your abs. Multi-tasking is key once you become a parent.
- Embrace running at less than optimal times. Gone are the days of running, cycling or swimming when ever you want to. Feeling bitter about when you workout does nothing for you. It doesn’t change anything.
- Invest in a running stroller. If you are a new mom or dad consider registering for this big ticket item. A running stroller can literally change the quality of your life by allowing you to run at more convenient times, not have to pay for a sitter, or do something as an entire family.
- Invest in a treadmill. If you can afford a treadmill, get one. If cycling is your thing, get an indoor trainer. Having the ability to fit in a workout before everyone wakes up, during nap time, school time, or after everyone is in bed is worth it’s weight in gold. You will never regret having the option of working out from home.
- Attitude is everything. Thinking positive can go a long way to changing how you feel. Children change your life in more ways than one can even count. If staying an athlete or even becoming one is important to you then you make it work. If you don’t make it work ask yourself how bad you want it. Those who want to make it work, do and those who don’t, well, don’t.
In the end the parents that want to make it work, will. They also find ways to minimize the impact on their family. A fit parent is a happy parent in my eyes. Invest in yourself so you can serve as an example to your children of two things that are important in life – health and happiness.