Marathon mom, can you have kids and run too?
Some may say it’s just not possible. Despite best intentions it is easy to have an endless array of excuses. The most common of those is, “I just don’t have the time”. I agree, there is no doubt, training for something like a marathon take up large chunks of your week. Having children of course, is an entirely different marathon of its own! Take it from this Naturopathic doctor and mom of 3 awesome kids, with a little flexibility and creativity in your life, these two worlds can merge and any goal can be accomplished! Seriously you can do it, and your body will thank you.
When I first started training, I was with my three children 24 hours a day. The older two had started school and the youngest was like a Joey Kangaroo, attached to me all the time! If I can make it work with an additional appendage, so can you! The best part is that taking care of your needs and supporting your running, actually gives you more fuel and builds resilience in your passion for parenting.
My advice, turn training into a family event. But how do you do this you ask? My toddler can’t run to the end of the street without being distracted by the shiny rocks on the sidewalk (most beautiful rock in the world)! Participating in what you love makes children happy too. This invitation to participate makes them feel included in their family unit. Small people are creatures that love exploring and would jump at a chance to go on an adventure, they key is to adjust your expectations and let go of perfectionism in favour of overall efficiency.
If your kids are young, put them in a running stroller. Be sure to bring some snacks, water and something for them to touch – like a book. Play games like “I Spy” along the way or take the opportunity to teach them about nature and the changes of seasons. Expect to make potty and stretching pit stops along the way. Even planning for a picnic in the forest would be a welcome break for the both of you. This is where the flexibility comes into play. If you need to abort mission because of a massive temper tantrum, that is ok. Don’t throw your training schedule out the window. Simply try again another day, possibly taking a different route or choosing a different time of day (like having them nap in the stroller!)
If your children are old enough to ride a bike, have them bike beside you while you run. Go on trail runs to make it exciting for the kids. If your kids are teens, they can run with you. It is ok if you don’t make your usual pace, at this point it is about getting the miles in, not so much the speed.
Cross training can be fun for the family too. Pop a lifejacket on them and hit the pool, cycling with the chariot or finding mommy and me classes in your neighbourhood. My youngest would join me at boot camp and climb on my back for an additional weight during push ups and crunch times. The quality of your workouts might be a bit different now but the closeness and opportunities to bond are more than worth it . Plus, you will be sure to get a few good laughs in and the gains in your health pay dividends.
As Naturopathic Doctors our job is to promote health. Studies show that two hours of sunlight and Vitamin D exposure a day can prevent autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis. In today’s world of electronics and boxed food, instilling an active, outdoor lifestyle in children who are inspired by nature is priceless.
If you are a marathon mom and you want to enjoy physical activity but are struggling with mood changes, fatigue, poor sleep quality and lack of motivation. I want to work with you to break down those obstacles, to address your hormone balance, optimize your sleep and set realistic expectations that will put you on the path back to running or help you run better. Let’s build some momentum together.
Dr. Jennifer Tanner, has a broad, evidence based practice with a focus on sports and performance based medicine. Being a marathon mom and having been a competitive equestrian, an active lifestyle is important. Dr. Tanner uses a variety of tools including Acupuncture and Clinical Nutrition, putting an emphasis on “food as medicine” and addressing the root causes of inflammation . In conjunction with the Integrative Health team, Dr. Tanner is thrilled to help people achieve an optimal state of health and pursue their performance based health goals!