Aug 20: Exercising as a Mom of Two

I had a request from a reader to write about how I find time to exercise as a mom of two. I'll be the first to admit that if I worked full time, five days per week, it would be nearly impossible to find the energy and motivation to workout during the week.

Right now Nate and I are training for another half marathon, so we are running three days per week total, including the long run on Saturdays. I say 'we' but Nate has been really struggling with making the time to run on weekdays because of that pesky full time job of his. But me? I'm somehow managing to run on my days at home with the kids. I've always been a jock/athlete/has been at heart and exercise is seriously a way for me to stay sane. I crave it if I've gone a few days without a good sweat, which is just something that probably stems from being a high school athlete back in the day. I need that exercise time for my mental health just as much as my physical health. And when I don't force myself to work out I really start to feel sluggish and negative and tired. Even just a quick walk outside with the kids is a boost to my sanity, but running is my preferred mode of exercise. By far.

Also, it should be noted, that when training for a half or a full marathon, most programs want you to run at LEAST four days per week, if not five. Or at least they want you working out five days per week and only 'resting' two days max. We just do not have the time for that type of intense program but before kids we abided by that type of plan for our races and did great. The weird thing is that our race times have not gotten any worse by running only three days per week compared to our previous 4-5 days. In fact, we have finished our last two halves (post kids) in basically the same time that we did pre kids---right around 2 hours for the 13.1 miles. I'd like to think that as we age we become more efficient runners or something. I don't know, but running just three times a week is plenty for us and it seems to be sufficient to prepare us for an actual race.

I prefer to get my run out of the way by heading out first thing in the morning. Now since my children both wake up at 5-6 am, that means I have to really bust my tail pretty early if I want to run alone. I have gone for my run while Nate is at home with them on a Tuesday or Thursday morning, but it's a little difficult for him to get himself completely ready for his work day plus tending to our two children for breakfast/morning time activities. So I try to be a good wife and get back home before he really has to do a lot of his getting ready in the morning. I figure that's only fair since I can leisurely get myself and the kids ready after that on a 'stay at home day.'

Anyway, I run on Tuesdays and Thursdays and if I don't make it out the door bright and early, I know my other option is to run with both children in the double BOB. Which automatically means I will be jogging at a full 2 minutes per mile SLOWER than if I was a free bird running solo. It's fine because it's still running (although it's close to a fast walk, let me tell you) but I definitely can't go further than about 4 miles with the kiddos. They just get bored and I get too freaking tired. When I do run with them, I try to plan our route to include a pit stop at a playground and/or Starbucks. So those runs are usually broken up with a stop but again, at least it's something and the kids can get out of the house with me, too!

I used to do a few workout videos during a magical dual nap, but I rarely do the videos anymore now that we are training for a race. But that is another option to consider---assuming you have the kids down at the same time for at least 30 minutes. Although that is SACRED time and to spend a majority of the 'me time' on exercise is a little hard for me. I could also sneak in a workout video before my kids wake up in the morning, or even after they go down at night but I'm not a night time exerciser. It just amps me up too much and then I can't sleep well, not to mention that I have zero motivation to exercise after 7 pm. Ever.

Then we almost always run once on the weekend. The way Nate and I manage to carve out that time together, without the double BOB, is that I have the best in-laws ever and they come over here to watch our kids. This is only during half-marathon training, but either one of them or both of my in-laws will come over on Saturday mornings to hang with the kiddos while Nate and I do our long runs. We COULD just take turns with Nate running, then I could go later. But we much rather do it together especially for these longer 6+ mile runs. My in-laws say they don't mind their standing Saturday am babysitting date and we are only gone for a few hours max. We are really lucky, I know.

Us on our 6 mile run this past Saturday.

Also, I have a new pink Garmin that is awesome and 100x better than my old relic. I'm addicted to running with GPS, mostly because I like to glance down at my pace while we are moving. Also to help track mileage, of course, but it's my favorite running accessory for sure. Sometimes it's nice to do a short run without a watch of any kind but I always have to bring this baby along for a long run.

Sometimes I will also try to do more strengthening like a #plankaday or a Tabata or some random core strengthening moves that Nate makes me try to show me how weak I really am ;) I'd love to have a more well-rounded exercise routine aside from 'just' running but for me, running is my favorite. It's simple, it's an excellent stress reliever for me, and I'm not bad at it (like I am a lot of strength stuff). Plus, I tend to do really well with a solid goal like a race date on the calendar.

If you look at my labels for all blog posts you will see I have a whopping 56 posts on running listed. Woah! A lot of these are really old, and I got caught up reading about my full marathon experience back in 2008 the other night. It did NOT make me ever want to do a full marathon again, man! So.Much.Time.Spent.Training. But there were some other fun/funny posts I found, too.

As far as what music I have on my ipod for running? Well, I only take my iPod when I run alone--if I have the kids or for the long runs with Nate, I don't use it at all. I actually need to get a few new 'pump me up songs' on my running list, so if you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them. But my current faves are:

-'Beauty and a Beat' by Justin Bieber (I secretly love him for running music)
-'Right Now' by Rhianna (back to my techno roots here)
-'Let's Go Surfing' by the Drums (heard this on a Mac commercial, I think? Love it. Very summery)

Mostly I just like to talk during a run and lucky for me, Nate does, too. ;) Of course, there are runs that neither of us can waste the energy to converse much. But we are both talkers and I find that going on long runs together really helps us to reconnect and forces us to have adult conversations with each other. We even find things to discuss aside from our kids which is a total shocker, but kind of nice!

That's it for my exercise post. Any questions?

Can't believe monthly blogging is going so well so far! I still have a few other topics drafted so I hope I can finish out the month without a problem. I DO write on this blog every day, but I might not start and complete an entire post all in one sitting. I will work ahead and do a few blog posts at a time, scheduling out for the week as I get them done. I don't think I would like it quite as much if I had to sit down and compose something from scratch each day---this works better for me and is less pressure, somehow. ;)


  1. I'm so jealous that you get to run with your husband. Mine just started to run so I'm hoping this will happen in the future, but I would LOVE a running buddy. My biggest problem is that I get so bored, I would love someone to talk with! I'm with you on wanting to do some more strength training or something, but running is such a stress reliever, a good form of exercise and can easily be done whenever/wherever that it's my preferred method of working out for sure.

  2. I am going to be so sad when this month is over! I love your daily posts. But moving along to my question...When you do do workout videos, what are your go to's? We've recently cancelled our YMCA membership (we never go now that we have a baby). We run now that it's warm but once the MI winter hits, I know I'm going to need something. I have the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and it's ok, but I need something new in the rotation.

    1. Laura--I love Jackie Warner's 30 min video...can't remember the title. It's my fave. Also any of the Jillian DVDs are good!

  3. Sounds great, as another former athlete I pretty was the same way with exercise up until I got pregnant. I was so tired all the time with A I didn't exercise at all, and then once I had her, I never fell in a routine to leave and here we are again knocked up. I'm hoping to get a double bob and start running with both kids in the spring. I'm a big fan of hot yoga too so I would love to a weekly class back in, but that might not happen for awhile depending on the nursing situation. The studio we go to is a bit a drive, plus a 90min class, might not happen until kiddo can go longer spurts, that is, unless she takes a bottle. Either way, I'm inspired reading about your effort and how much you get out.

    ... of course I'm reading this while eating an ice cream cone, but, well, you know.

  4. I love this post! As a working mom of three under four, it is hard to find the time to exercise and I love hearing how other moms fit it in :)

  5. Love this post. My question is about running in the mornings, when it is dark- how do you do it safely?

    Also, as for workout videos, I love the ones on I found them on pinterest and they're great! There is an excellent leg one and arm one- both only 10 minutes.

    You were a huge help to me when I trained for my first marathon in 2008 and your reference to your techno days made me laugh- the playlist you sent me in 2008 was almost all techno!

    1. No permanent addy---it's not even that dark out at 5 am here! But I wear bright clothes and reflective shoes, keep music low, and mostly run on a bike path and not roads


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