I am a work in progress. This marathon training cycle I find myself struggling as I juggle the art of balancing motherhood and running. I feel like there is always someone or something that needs my attention. Often a ball (important item) or two fall and I am left scrambling to pick up the pieces. Balancing motherhood and running is a work in progress.
Some days I am super successful while other days I fail miserably.
This training cycle, as I train for Boston with Team Stonyfield, I am having to learn to juggle the many responsibilities and challenges that our family encounters: solo parenting, homeschooling, moving cross country, new town, new state, new schools, new friends, HILLS, running with kids and a stroller, and so much more!
Finding that balance to fit in life, family time, and running is the juggle that many mother runners face. I know I face this juggle and each week question of “When do I fit in my long run?” without interfering with family life.
I know each family has their own inner-workings and dynamic that works for them. For me and my family, below are my five methods that I find help me with balancing motherhood and marathon training.
5 Methods for Balancing Motherhood and Running
I love and use my Erin Condren Life Planner. Seriously, it is my brain. I color code each member of our family’s activities and appointments on my planner. Everything goes on this planner. I write down due dates for blog posts, scheduled training runs, upcoming field trips (or business work trips), soccer practices, play dates and more!
I find that if it is written down and visible for me (and my family … ahem husband) to see… we all are on the same page with what is planned for the day or week.
Communication is Key
This seems like a no brainer. However, I have found that when I am struggling with balancing motherhood (family life) with marathon training, oftentimes my communication is lacking with my husband. Communication is key.
Communication with your help support what you need from them. I need to run 20 miles by myself this weekend. Be specific with your words and requests. There might be some disagreements with date, times and distance… but you need to communicate with your support system for the support you need.
Planning ahead goes well with the first two steps above: get organized and communication. When you plan ahead with your training plan, you know what you need to do that week for your run. You can map out your weekly activities, play dates, and even children’s activities.
When the weekend’s get busy with kids sports (okay, maybe I am just the one juggling three kiddos in different soccer leagues) I need to plan ahead with where their activities are and the time. By planning ahead (and communicating with my husband), I can map out my long run for the weekend. Everyone knows what to expect from each other. No hurt feelings.
All the organization, planning, and communicating in the world can still fall apart some days. Whether the weather isn’t conducive for running or you get a sick kiddo… you need to be flexible.
Perhaps you can’t run outdoors due to a crazy storm… run indoors or pop in a workout DVD to still get the effects of a great workout. Maybe a kiddo gets sick (or you do gasp), rest up and conquer that workout on another day.
My blogging friends Carla and Roni just came out with a book titled, What You Can When You Can: Healthy Living on Your Terms. As a mother runner, my most prized title is MOM. I am a runner second. By embracing the #wycwyc mentality, you do what you can, when you can. Be flexible.
Find Your Best Yes
Know when to say NO. You must evaluate and find your best yes… for you and your family. There are times when you (or your kiddos) will miss out on an activity because of a race, training run, or life event. Being prayerful and aware of what you and your family can take on is key to prevent burn out. Find YOUR best yes… learn to say yes when it is BEST (not just convenient).
Fitting in running and strength training as a mother runner striving to find balance is all about incorporating the above five methods: organization, communication, planning, flexibility, and finding your best yes.