Always on the run
One of the biggest challenges of being a working mum, whether inside or outside of the home, is finding time for personal wellness and exercise.
I tend to exercise in spurts. At the beginning of June, I knew I needed to get active again; I could feel my weight creeping up, my clothes getting tighter, and my stress levels starting to overflow.
The last time I made an attempt at running was during my maternity leave, when I was trying to drop the baby weight. I started running a circular path at a local park while I pushed my son in his stroller. I did lose weight and got fitter, but once I went back to working full-time, I became overwhelmed and gave up.
A year later, with my son well into his toddler phase, I decided to give running another chance, and found a number of things that helped along the way.
Join a running group
To get started, I joined a local running group to help keep me on track with a goal of running a 5K race. I ran three times a week, sometimes with the group and sometimes on my own (pushing my son in the stroller on a few occasions), following the ten week training schedule provided by the group.
The first few weeks were the most difficult, going from no exercise to running three times a week. Each run was progressively longer, involving intervals of running and walking.
If you can’t find a group in your area, consider an online community. There are also handy smartphone apps that can track your runs, and podcasts available to guide you through the training.
Find your motivators
Along the way I participated in a twenty minute run challenge with fellow members of my running group. I was so proud to finish the whole challenge, and I found it to be the perfect motivation to continue on my way to the 5K race. I even got a free running hat from the challenge!
I also use music to get me through the tough runs. When I was younger, I loved to work out to loud pop music. Now that I’m a working mom, I enjoy alternative rock with a good rhythm (great for pacing a run), or even just silence.
Take advantage of the flexibility
The beauty of running is that you can easily switch the timing of your workout if you are needed at home; there were several occasions in which my son asked me to stay at home instead of going for a run, and I found it easy to balance his needs with my own.
Keep focused on the positives
I felt fitter after only a few weeks, particularly in my legs and arms. I have lost at least ten lbs without even changing my eating habits and met new people in my community.
I can’t believe that I went from zero exercise to running a 5K in ten weeks, and if I can do it, anyone can!
I still find the first few minutes of every run to be the toughest, so don’t get discouraged when you feel the burn!
Photography: Ed Yourdon @Flickr