Finding Time to Properly Train for a Half Marathon — with Two Toddlers in Tow

I’ll be the first to admit the headline here is misleading. My two toddlers go to school four days a week, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. So I have ample time to train (just kidding!). Seriously, though, when my kids aren’t with me (which is pretty much anytime except for those four 9-hour blocks), I have other things to do — laundry, cleaning, wife chores, doctor visits, paperwork/billing, freelance writing, planning guitar lessons, etc.

Fitting in exercise is really challenging at times — especially when you try to plan a big workout and your kid gets sick so you have to stay home. And finding the hours required to follow a specific, intensive exercise program is 10 times harder.

With that in mind, here’s a list of the things I do now that I’m a mom of two, to ensure I’m ready for race days.

  1. I make my workout plan (3 cardio, 2 strength per week) on Friday or Saturday (my week starts Sunday and ends Saturday), and plan to do the BULK of my workouts (3 or 4 of them) by Wednesday. This allows me to have three days as emergency back-up days if I have to stay home because of a sick kid.
  2. I make the pessimistic assumption that my “long run” day will get cancelled, and I always plan two backup days, and block out an hour and a half for all three days (the first one, and the two spares). If I can do my planned run on its planned day, then great! I can use the backup days to do other things.
  3. I always look at weather reports so I can plan the best days for outdoor runs.
  4. I always have my workout clothes and day clothes (so I’m not in workout gear all day) ready to go, in my car. I did this when I was working off-site (not at home). Planning what to wear is critical if you want to get the most out of your run.
  5. I use a running app, “Map my Run” to track my time and to motivate me to go faster. Thanks to this app, I’m now running 10 miles at 9:05 minutes per mile!
  6. I make a rule to work out 5 days a week no matter what — even if my runs are 15 minutes long, or I have to jump rope for 20 minutes during my kids’ nap time.
  7. When I’m training for a race, that’s my only “hobby” or priority. I don’t have time to train for a race while preparing to play a rock show. I only have so much time during the day for myself, and my kids come first.

So that’s pretty much it! I’m excited for the Brooklyn Half marathon but also feeling overwhelmed by the thought of leaving my little ones and getting up at 5 a.m. It’ll be great to run, finish the race, and see my kids again.

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