A cooped up Running Mum with kids on the school holidays creates a high potential for a crazy and not Zen like household. With a 6, 4, and 3 year old school holidays bring a new level of challenges to my training schedule. So how do we approach this crazy time?
Include the kids to make it fun
I tend to do my shorter training runs with them in tow during the week. Yes my runs are slower than my usual pace and yes they are certainly interrupted but we do get time together outside and doing what I love. Also the kids see me training and understand that you need to work hard at something to achieve your goals. I love the lessons running teaches me but also the lessons it teaches my family. Here are my three main “kid friendly” training tactics to get 30 minutes of training in:
- Take them on either their scooters or bikes and go somewhere flat.
- Take them to the local oval with a ball and some bubbles and do a speed sprint session. They can either do some running with me or entertain themselves with the ball or bubbles.
- Hill runs on our street. I work particularly hard on the up-hill with them chasing me and often let them catch me as we get closer to home. We then jog down together. When they get too tired I will give them set activities e.g. I want you to find me 5 sticks or a feather by the time I get to the bottom of the hill. I am lucky because I can see them the whole time and there is plenty of space for them to run. If you live in a more built up area maybe find a park with a hill or a local park with some steps that you can run up and down where you can still see the kids and they can still explore nature.
Make the time for your longer runs
If I don’t get a chance to run during the day I sometimes resort to a treadmill post kids bed time either at the gym or at home (depending on whether you are lucky enough to own a treadmill). I am a “no excuses” type so if I have to pay casual rates to use a treadmill during school holidays then I just do. It’s not ideal and I much prefer to run outside but this is sometimes the only option.
On the weekends I schedule time for my long runs solo so I still get the km’s in my legs. This is my favourite time of the week for so many reasons and I feel grounded and am a better mother, wife and person after my long runs. This is my time to relax, re-group and re-focus.
School holidays are a tricky time for training but not impossible if we get creative. If you have any great ideas to incorporate training into the holiday crazy let us all know- we would love to hear them!
Ana Croger is a Brisbane mother of 3, a lawyer and an avid long distance runner and a valued member of the RMA membership.