Ever since I “met” Anne on Twitter last year, I’ve been so inspired by her dedication to running while balancing motherhood. She routinely starts her runs long before the sun comes up. That’s dedication! Check out her awesome guest blog on how she does it all:
Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or work full-time outside the home, parenting is a balancing act. We have to balance what the kids need and what we as individual persons need. Add in time for yourself, time with your spouse, time for exercise and it adds even more balls to juggle. When I decided last year that I wanted to train for my first marathon, I wasn’t sure how I would be able to do it all. Looking back, I still don’t know how we did it. However, I just completed my second marathon with an even more aggressive training schedule and I feel like I’ve learned a little more on how to balance life and training. Or maybe I’ve just let some things go?
Many people have asked me… “How do you find the time to train for a marathon?” My answer is typically that “I make the time.” I don’t watch a lot of TV. I turn down invites on Friday nights so I can get to bed early.. I get up around 4:15-4:30 every morning that I run. Yes, that is early. No, it wasn’t easy to switch to early morning running. I do what I need to do to enjoy life with my family, and also run the crazy miles and train for marathons like I want to.
The most important part of being able to balance marathon training and motherhood is a completely supportive husband! Without Jeff being fully on board, I would not attempt to continue running marathons. Before I sign up for each race, I look over our family calendar and discuss with him what we think. With the crazy long run miles, it takes me away from home a LOT!
Another thing I know for sure is that I have to have lists and schedules. Without them, things don’t get done. The first time I admitted to Jeff that I had a weekly checklist of regular things to do around the house, I felt like a failure as a wife/mom. I mean, who needs a reminder to dust? to vacuum? to mop the floor? Embarrassing, right? Well, I have overcome my embarrassment and have embraced my checklist! Without it, my poor houseplants would be no more. Running 35-45 miles per week, taking care of the house, the kids and still trying to have a life keep me busy. I know many people run many more miles, workout more often, etc, and still get it done. Not quite sure how they do, but I’d love their secrets if anyone knows! Just like with my training, I have it in black and white, I mark it off when I’m done and I get a sense of accomplishment from looking at the list. And, let’s be honest here, others in the house can also take a look at this list to see what hasn’t been done yet so there are more benefits to it than just reminding me!
Through two marathon training cycles, I have learned that some days just call for a rest from running or from trying to get it all done! Some days I just need to ask for more help, some days call for less active things to do with the kids. Just because mommy is tired one day because of a super long speed workout, it doesn’t make me a bad mommy. (I hope my kids agree!) But, I know that I also have to swap workouts around depending on what our schedule is so that I can be present and engaged when I need/want to be. Training for the second marathon definitely went better than the first. I don’t know if I was more willing to let things go, or if it’s because I finally admitted that I can’t do EVERYTHING no matter how hard I try! Also, my body had been through it before, so I’m sure that helped. Just like flexibility is key in parenting, it’s also key in training.
I am not superwoman, or even supermom. My family always comes first, my kids are young and I believe that’s the way it should be. My running is also very important to me and I’m working on dealing with my guilt because of my many hours away. I love the challenge of marathons and marathon training. I believe that I am teaching my kids valuable lessons about dedication, follow-through and leading a healthy active life.
Many days I feel selfish that I am gone so much for my training runs. However, running makes me happy! Challenging myself to run farther, to run faster, to do things that a few years ago I never even DREAMED of doing is why I do it.
Marathon training is hard. Marathon training is exhausting. Parenting is hard. Parenting is exhausting. I won’t be giving up either anytime soon, so I’m working to make them both work together. Every training cycle teaches me new things about myself, about life; and new skills to bring to parenthood. For me, they just seem to go together!