The Running Mom’s Guide to Surviving the School Holidays
Ahhh, school holidays. A time to have fun with the kids and spend some quality time together. But as any mother runner will tell you, it’s also a time to get really creative in order to fit some runs in. Lacing up and heading out the door is a lot more tricky when you have a few (often unwilling) little people to take into consideration as well. But, one thing is certain: Few things in life are as determined as a mom who needs to run. So here’s the running mom’s guide to surviving the school holidays with your sanity and running schedule in tact.
The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is true on so many different levels. And it’s especially true if you’re a running mom. So why not join forces with other running moms in your area and help each other out? Take turns to watch each other’s kids while the other mom heads out for a run. Not only will this give the kids a chance to catch up and play, but it will also give each mom time to de-stress and re-group. A win/win if ever there was one.
Being a running mom is synonym with always being prepared to run at a moment’s notice. There might be an unexpected hour of free time during a play date or kids’ party. Or an unscheduled half-hour of treadmill time when the kids take an impromptu nap. So do yourself a favor and keep a running gear bag ready and packed at all times. Or, better yet, make a habit of wearing your running gear during the holidays – even on non-running days. (Yes, and also brace yourself to face a host of “she does everything in her active wear” jokes.) But, jokes aside, being prepared will mean that you’ll be able to fully capitalize on any unanticipated running opportunities. Meaning that the last laugh will definitely be yours.
Turn to the treadmill
Yes, treadmills are far from exciting. But they’re many a running mom’s saving grace. Because what could be easier than hopping on and logging a few miles while the kids are playing around you? No jogging strollers, scooters or babysitters required.
So if you’re lucky enough to own one, school holidays are definitely the time for embracing those treadmill runs. Just be sure to keep the young ones at a safe distance!
Take them with you
Running with your kids can be a lot of fun. Depending on your children’s ages, they can join you in a stroller, on their scooters or bikes, or even on foot if they feel up to it. Keep in mind, though, that family runs are not just about you. Leave your own running goals and ambitions at home and focus on involving everyone. Let the young ones set the pace and plan the route (a mid-run play park break is always a winner!), and don’t get too worked up about the abundance of stops and starts. This is the perfect opportunity to show your kids how much fun running can be, so tread wisely!
Join the gym
Gym passes are very handy to have over the school holidays. Most gyms offer professional childcare facilities, which means that mom can run or cross-train to her heart’s content while the kids are well looked after. Some gyms even offer fitness or activity classes for older kids, so they can have just as much active, healthy fun as mom.
So even though this might cost a few bucks, it’s well worth looking into for the school holiday period.
Participate in holiday programs
And if joining a gym doesn’t quite suit your budget, keep an eye out for free community holiday programs being offered in your area. Many libraries, museums and other organizations offer free holiday activities for kids, a lot of which are professionally supervised. So why not sign the kids up and get your run on while they’re busy?
Hesitant about leaving your kids? Choose a program that takes place on a big, outdoor sports field and run the perimeter while they’re doing their thing.
Become an early riser
Love it or loathe it, getting your run on first thing in the morning is a great way to make sure you get it done. So lace up and head out while the young ones are still asleep and Dad is around to keep an eye.
There’s just something extremely fulfilling about ticking an item off your to-do list before the rest of the household even awakes. Because what could be better than starting a day off with a sense of accomplishment and a side of endorphins, right? Trust us – it will benefit you way more than those few minutes of extra sleep.
Don’t sweat it. It’s temporary.
Remember that, even with the best planning and most creative ideas in place, life still has a sneaky way of throwing curve balls. Kids get sick, the weather is unpredictable and play dates get cancelled. Don’t sweat it. Even if you miss an entire week’s worth of runs, it’s not the end of the world. Sure, frustration levels might rise, but the weekend will come soon enough and chances are that Dad will be able to help out. Or, worst case scenario, you’ll have to wait until the end of the holidays to fit in some serious training. And that’s okay. Short, fun active outings with the kids will keep up your fitness base until you can go all out again.
And, what’s missing a few workouts in the bigger scheme of things, anyway? What’s really important is cherishing the time you have with your children. Because they’ll be all grown up before you know it.