In order to adequately train for a race, time needs to be set aside throughout your week to complete the training your race requires. As a parent, preparing for an event poses a whole new set of challenges, but don’t be deterred as I know it can be done. And guess what training can also be fun!
Personally, it feels sometimes I’ve earnt a degree in time management. The amount of times I have had to juggle a tired grumpy child, with work, keeping up with household chores and fitting in training have been too many to count.
In the lead up to the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic, my number 1 tip would have to be – don’t stress over missed training. If you are following a program and you find you have to miss a run, never try and make it up on another day.
Just say it wasn’t meant to be and focus on the next training day. It is always going to be a juggling act with young children and the ability to complete a training program; and my approach is to not worry about the runs I have missed but to be grateful for the ones I complete.
If you only have time for 20 minutes of exercise for the day instead of –for example – the 40 minutes the program says; then look at it as 20 minutes more than you could have done if you didn’t run at all. Not 20 minutes less than you needed. Check out the Mother’s Day Classic website for training programs that may help you prepare for race day.
Top Tips for Training as a Parent:
Anytime is a good time to run
This may mean you run when you put your children to bed or even midnight. You will be surprised how great you will feel after you have completed your session and know you have been able to balance life as a running parent.
Involve your children in your training when possible
This may make training more enjoyable, and your kids will also love it. You are role modelling good behaviours, spending time with your kids and achieving your goals too. This may involve running at a park and high fiving your children as you complete your circuit around the playground or getting them to ride next to you whilst you run.
An added bonus of including your children in your training is they might be more willing to get up early on race day to come and cheer their mummy or daddy on. Ultimately, it will only make the bond you have with your children even stronger. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a little, find out what works for you and your family!
Find a good Jogging Pram
Maybe you purchase a jogging pram or borrow a friend’s pram to get out and exercise. This is a great way to finally get your baby to have that much needed nap, and squeeze a run in at the same time. It may even be what it needed to settle your child. The fresh air, change of environment may be all that is needed to make for an easier day for both of you.
Every parent knows that getting enough sleep and having enough energy to find time for yourself is difficult but we can’t be great parents if we don’t look after ourselves first. My suggestion – take advantage of anytime your child/baby is having a nap by doing so yourself.
Pack some running clothes to take to work
If finding time at home is too difficult why not take the time during your lunch break at work to complete your training runs or walks. Encourage your work colleagues to join you and make it fun. Training during lunch maybe what helps you work more productively at work and restore calm to what tends to be a very busy day as a parent. Also, keep a look out for lunch running groups that may be operating in your area.
Make Training Fun
If you can come up with novel ways of finding the time to get the majority of training completed without putting any extra strain of what is typically a hectic non-stop family lifestyle, then you are giving yourself the best chance of not only enjoying the preparation for your race, but race day as well.
Explore Parkrun in your area
This is a free weekly event, open to you and your family operating all over Australia. It is a 5km timed event where individuals can walk, run, exercise with their dogs or push a pram. It is a fun, social event and an opportunity to get in some training with your family. Find one near you at www.parkrun.com.au
I admire anyone who is out there being active and those willing to take the step towards a more active lifestyle and I feel it will only have a positive impression on the next generation.
Have a terrific Mother’s Day and best of luck for the event, and don’t forget to really enjoy the moment. Some of my best running moments have come in the last 18 months since my son was born.
Training isn’t always easy, but to see his smiling face on race day is the only reward I need.
John Dutton is an Australian Marathon Runner.
The New Daily is a media partner of the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic, which takes place in 100 locations around Australia on Sunday May 14, raising money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation to help fund breast cancer research.