Champaign, IL—Busy moms know that finding time for a run can often be a challenge. “When you don't have children, you can run whenever you want or whenever your job allows,” says Jason Karp, an exercise physiologist and the 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year. “Having children, of course, makes training a different matter. Regardless of age, sometimes it's just impossible to squeeze in a run.”
In his book, Running for Women (Human Kinetics, 2012), Karp offers seven strategies for balancing motherhood and running.
- Plan. Coordinate with your spouse or someone else to watch the kids while you go for a run.
- Buy a jogging stroller. When your kids are young, they can often accompany you on a run.
- Become a (very) early-morning person. Some of your best running can be done in the morning, before anyone in the house is awake. Early-morning runs are a great way to start your day.
- Run at night. If you can't run first thing in the morning, try running after your kids have gone to bed.
- Buy a treadmill. Although not as enjoyable as running outside, running on a treadmill gives you the benefit of never having to leave your house. Your kids can be in view for your entire workout.
- Create a network. Establish a system of people who can watch your kids: grandparents, other parents, gym kids' clubs, babysitters, the children's father, or other moms who run.
- Take your kids to the track. They can run around and you can see them during your workout.
“Don't feel guilty about taking the time to run,” Karp stresses. “Running makes you a better mom. Every mother needs an outlet and time to recharge.”
Running for Women presents guidelines for tailoring training to the menstrual cycle for maximum response and adaptation as well as determining the best times to perform the various types of training. The book also contains recommendations for modifying workouts and training programs for all stages of the life span, including pregnancy, menopause, and postmenopause.
For more information, see Running for Women.