Half marathon training is for anyone, including the busy mom! Running a half marathon is a notable distance, regardless of your running history. It is such an incredible feeling to accomplish a half, without requiring quite as many training hours as a full marathon. I ran two half marathons before having kids, and assumed that was the height of my running days. I was SO WRONG. My best training and half marathon race yet was after my second baby, and I don’t plan on stopping!
Each time I stop running due to life getting crazy or my body growing another human, I look forward to jumping back in when life aligns again. Being busy does not have to hinder your running. Being a mom also does not have to hinder your running. You can be a mom and be busy, and still train for your first or fiftieth half marathon. Have a race or training goal coming up? Message me and we can do it together!
Sign Up For A Race and Mark Down the Date
The absolute first thing I do to get the ball rolling with any race is sign up! Research the races in your area for your month of choice, or a getaway destination. Look at the fun added to each race and choose one that will get you excited. For a first half, the Rock and Roll series is great because they usually have large sponsors and tons of music throughout the course. Committing to a race day by registering and paying jumpstarts your training plan timeline and provides the exact motivation you need for training! Pick one that you want to do, and JUST SIGN UP! Having a goal makes designing a half marathon training schedule for your busy life as a mom more realistic!
Make Your Kids Part of Your Training
This is the one that can be the hardest and sounds the most crazy, but it can work. If you feel like you have no time or options for training this may be part of your solution! My husband works a late swing shift every few weeks for work, and is not available in the evenings after I work to watch the kids. Depending on the time of year, I would squeeze in a dark evening run after the kids went to bed. But if that was not in the cards, I would do an modified run while pushing both of them in a double jogging stroller.
There are tons of models out there to make this a true success, but I ended up snagging an older model with some wear from a friend! It was perfect for getting in 3-4 miles with the girls (usually the only distance they could handle) and they loved running with me. This is similar to mine, and I found it to be easy to use, and very hardy in the elements. I was only using it for running and not day-to-day stroller needs, so I opted to use something that suited my needs without breaking the bank. There are some other models out there made for long distance running if this will become a regular part of your fitness.
On days that I fit in a solo run, it was incredible how good I felt not pushing the stroller! I did not run with them for every run, but sometimes any run with kiddos is better than no run at all! If you have older kids, try to make your training a family exercise opportunity a few times a week. You can even squeeze in a run while you are waiting for soccer practice to wrap up. It does not have to look perfect or the same, as long as it gets done.
Choose A Training Plan That Fits Your Race Date And Starting Point
Once you have signed up for a race, you can choose a training plan that works for you! I have used Hal Higdon’s Novice training programs for all of my races because they are so manageable. He breaks everything into small, digestible steps and the mileage increases are not drastic. I give myself a few extra weeks to complete training in case I have a few rough weeks with the kiddos. The plans allow for cross training too, for you to throw in some other favorites like HIIT or yoga. The majority of runs are in the 3-4 mile range which was perfect for my stroller runs and fitting in runs after work in the evenings.
Get Comfortable Running Shoes/Gear
This is a big one that I did not realize when I signed up for my first half marathon. It is imperative for training and a race of this length to have shoes right for your feet to prevent running injuries and discomfort that could derail your running journey. When I first started running, I was using my gym sneakers, not realizing the importance of quality running shoes. On the recommendation of a fellow runner, I stopped by my local running shop to have my feet assessed for the right pair. I was blown away by all the things I learned about my running type, my feet, and what worked best for my body. I left with my first pair of running shoes and I have used the same brand/style ever since. Even though shoe recommendations from other runners are helpful, they do not replace a specialized fit. I highly recommend trying out a few brands or shops for yourself to find the best fit for you. When I switched shoes, I definitely noticed a different and could not do without them now.
I also found it helpful to invest in running clothing including excellent sports bras, running pants, and lightweight hoodies. You don’t need to spend a fortune, but you will feel better and more confident in something fit for running. I ditched my high school t-shirt and soffee shorts for running pants and shirts and felt a world of difference. With a busy mom training schedule, the last thing you want is to worry about the little things like clothes and shoes.
Hydrate And Fuel Correctly
I make it a goal to try to drink more water, but I usually fall short. When you are following a running training plan, being properly hydrated can make our break your success. I knew right away when I started a run whether I had hydrated enough that day by how my leg muscles felt, and whether or not I got terrible cramps or headaches. Many of my runs were slowed or stopped from tough cramps due to not drinking enough water. Make hydration a focus throughout training and especially on race day. Fueling yourself well also plays a role. There were a few days that were crazy busy at work and I missed lunch. My evening runs those days were much harder because I did not have the energy to sustain my run. This is where the self care comes in mama!
Outsource If You Can, And Build Your Tribe
If you are like me, you feel extreme resistance to outsourcing your duties such as grocery shopping or cooking dinner. I like to squeeze the fruits when I pick them out, and reach all the way to the back of every shelf for packages with the longest “best by” dates. But picking one or two items from your jam packed list that you can outsource (such as Instacart grocery delivery) or meal delivery can free up a window of time to fit in a run. During my training, I do my long runs on the weekend due to working full time. One of the weekend activities I gave up in order to run was the grocery store. I am fortunate to have a husband that strangely loves the grocery store, so he would take the girls to the store on Saturday or Sunday mornings while I dedicated to a solid run. Find something in your week to off load for during your training season. It can be something small, but it will help tremendously.
Let Go Of Any Mom Guilt You Have. Seriously.
Seriously. This one is super tough for any parent, but especially for those of us that work outside the home. As a working mom, I felt so guilty taking even more time away from my kids in order to run. Running a race is a commitment of time, and something that needs consistency. I put off doing a race after my kids were born because of this guilt, and I missed a lot of opportunities. Making the choice to run a race or establish running habits is not selfish. You are doing something that contributes heavily to your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being when you run. This makes you a better parent, partner, and person for yourself. This is something your kids will come to respect and appreciate as they grow. Enjoy every run guilt free, and be proud that your kiddos are along for the ride with you as you set and crush your goals. GO CRUSH ‘EM!
As a busy mom, training for a half marathon is daunting but so worth the effort! I know I am inspiring my kiddos even at a young age while inspiring myself. I am already planning for my next race after baby three arrives! Send any fun destination half marathon races my way! What is your goal for running this year?
All the best,