Life is so busy sometimes. Like many women, I’m trying to balance my work and family life, and not always succeeding. I am also a runner and running is very important to me. It is part of my identity and it shapes me as a person. Running is often when I get my ‘me’ time, and the space to think and unpick problems. I have found it difficult at times to justify going for a run, with work deadlines looming and the guilt of missing out on time with my young family.
I’ve had to think of creative ways to fit my training in around my work, while not compromising family time too much. I also asked the Run Mummy Run community for their tips for fitting training in.
I find it hard, but running early in the morning is a brilliant way to fit runs in. If you’re struggling to get out and run, try lacing up your trainers and hitting the road first thing, before your family wakes up. The trick is to get your kit ready the night before, so you can simply throw it on as soon as your alarm goes off. Despite dreading the alarm, I always enjoy those peaceful, early miles chasing the sunrise. My body feels energised and my mind feels calm. It’s a great way to start the day.
I have friends who trade babysitting duties with other running parents. One parent looks after the children while the others run. Next time someone else will take their turn babysitting. It’s a fun play date for the kids and allows time for all the parents to fit in a training run.
My children are older now, but if you have a baby or a toddler, you could try running with a buggy. There are some amazing buggies out there specifically for running, that have been designed for maximum safety and with excellent suspension. You can take your little one out on your run with you, and enjoy some fresh air and the great outdoors together.
Older children can accompany you on your run, too. My children enjoy joining me on their bikes or scooters and it becomes a family adventure. I had to learn to not worry about pace or distance with these runs, but I love that we all enjoy being active together. It’s great to think I’m setting my children up to enjoy exercise for the rest of their lives.
For working parents, run commuting can be a good option. If you live reasonably close to work, running there and then home again can help you fit in your runs with little impact on personal or family time. It works best if your workplace has shower facilities, but plenty of people use the new dry shower gel products or even baby wipes to freshen up. Coordinating what you need to pack is important, but once you’ve done it a few times you’ll be a pro! I love the thought of returning home from work, knowing I’ve done my run and that I can relax for the rest of the evening.
Whatever you try, the important thing to remember is not to stress yourself out too much about your training. Our lives are manic enough without adding more worries. Choose a method that fits comfortably with your life and always remember that a short run is better than no run at all.