How do mothers of young children train for distance races!? What if those mothers have no childcare? Their only chance to head out on their long training run is to load up their kiddos to join her on the trail!? How do those mothers train for distance races with small children!?
I am fortunate that my husband helps watch our boys when I voice loudly that I would like to go for a solo run. However, no matter how helpful he is, there are times when my schedule does not allow for child care of a means for someone to watch for and care for the boys when a long run is on the agenda.
I recently was given sponsorship for the Nike Women’s half Marathon in October, through being a FitFluential Ambassador. My lack of training and recovering from walking pneumonia has thwarted any goals of setting a PR for the distance. However, the competitor that I am, I want to do the best that I am able… given the circumstances.
My endurance and speed has decreased since my sickness… but my drive and determination remains strong. In fact, I am so driven and half crazy that I decided to tackle my long slow training run full in the face this past week.
I had a 9 miler on the agenda and I didn’t want to waste my Saturday (family day) running the day away. Although that would have been very nice too. I decided to bite the bullet and attempt to run my 9 miles while pushing my two younger boys (ages 4 & 2 years) in the double jogger.
We weren’t the fastest. We weren’t the slowest. But…we managed to cover the needed miles for my training run. We explored new trails, got lost in new neighborhoods trying to find the new trails, stopped (and waited) at stop lights, and more. It was an adventure.
What maintained my sanity for this run is that I broke up the run in segments. Not only for myself but also for the boys. At the half way point I handed out snacks and water (for everyone – myself included). When we were about 1.5 miles from our house I handed out a toy to play with and entertain them.
The run was not perfect. There were fights to break up. There was many Mom.to.Boy conversations about being respectful to each other and Mommy. But over all it was a successful training run.
Here are 5 Tips that work for me for training for races with small children:
Bring snacks and water!! Inevitably they will be hungry or thirsty. A happy tummy (and full mouth) makes for a happy rider.
Play “I-Spy” or other similar games while running. Keeping their mind off (and yours) the mundane ride will keep everyone distracted and entertained.
Bring a toy or two to introduce mid-run. Be prepared to pick up dropped/thrown toy from time to time.
Make a pit stop at a local park or hot spot either mid-run or at the end of your run. This will give everyone something to look forward to.
Do not be above bribing/rewarding your children. A special treat or activity can go a LONG way in a toddlers mind.
Will I be running my next long run while pushing the double jogger again!? Who knows, but I do enjoy my solo runs much better.