Training Week 5: Mixing Motherhood & Marathoning

I mean, they're kind of similar, right?

Running after toddlers...
Running the miles...
Except marathon training includes a rest day or two and toddlers just don't get that!

My approach to marathon training with small children at home is what I call "minimalist". Minimal mileage with minimal time spent training usually on minimal recovery.

Running 30-45 miles a week sounds like a lot to the average person but to a marathoner, that is low, wayyy low. It's not that I don't enjoy running higher mileage; this is just a realistic number for my life right now. Running for me needs to stay fun rather than becoming another item on the "to-do list".

Keeping expectations realistic for your current life season makes everything more enjoyable. Even marathoning.

Blogging can paint a picture of perfection and I am far, so far from perfect. Let me be "real" here with the struggles of mixing motherhood and marathoning... and why I do it anyway.

My biggest struggle with marathon training is TIME.  

Surprise, surprise! Isn't that everyone's struggle? "I just have too much time on my hands," said No One Ever.

In order to not skimp on family time, kid wrangling and daily duties, I fit in most of my workouts in the early morning hours or mid-morning with the kids in the double parachute stroller on fair weather days. Praise the Lord for running strollers! The kids enjoy a ride in their yellow chariot and mom gets a workout. Win, win.

Weekday runs are relatively short, like one hour or less, with my minimalist method of training. The weekend long run of 2 to 3 hours is a little more tricky but my husband is very helpful. He often watches the kids while I leave to run at 5:30 or 6:00 am on Sundays (or Saturday, if he has the day off).

Meet my second biggest struggle, GUILT.

I often feel guilty doing something for myself.

Taking time to exercise and refresh the soul is important, as long as it doesn't turn into a self-entitled attitude of "I deserve this!". I do feel guilty asking for help and leaving the kids when I go out for a long run or on race morning. Guilt is a problem for me. I warned you, I am NOT perfect.

Struggles aside, making time to train as a mom of little ones is worth it for me. 

On top of the health benefits of regular exercise—stress relief, increased energy, healthy weight, positive body image—spending that time outdoors, breathing in the fresh air leaves me feeling refreshed and revitalized. Healthy competition and pushing my limits motivate me.

I've found that those miles of running serve as a re-boot that God has wired into my soul. Peaceful moments on the road to think, pray or to simply exist are all a blessing from Him.
"I think it is a definite gain to the whole family when mother is able to take a little time to pursue her own interests, whether they be crafts, painting, sewing, gourmet cooking, a literature group, gardening, nature study, going to plays or ballets with her husband, bicycling, or ice skating.

'I have no time for these simple pleasures,' is the mournful cry. Yes, there isn't time for all of them. Think seasonally. One interest per season, coupled with thirty minutes of reading a day, may be all that is needed to keep up the Mother Culture and regain any lost enthusiasm for living." Karen Andreola, "The Charlotte Mason Companion"
How do you refresh your soul in your current season of life?

Wild Hog Marathon Training Week 5:

My body said it needed more rest, so an extra recovery week this became!

Monday, August 1


Tuesday, August 2

"Easy-Effort" Double Stroller Run: 9.01 mi, 01:22 @ 09:05 pace. This was supposed to be an "easy effort" run but it wiped me out (the hot temps didn't help). Woops! Probably over-did it.

Wednesday, August 3

Speedwork: (Treadmill) 4 mi, 00:31 @ 07:40 avg pace. WU, 3 x 1k @ 6:38/mile pace with 2:30 recovery jog in between, CD.

Thursday, August 4

Strength: 6 x 1:00 plank series, core work and push-ups with an old exercise VHS we found at a thrift store!

Friday, August 5

Tempo: 6.26 mi, 00:47 @ 07:32 pace. WU, 2 x 2.25 @ 7:10, 7:15, CD.

Saturday, August 6

Easy-Effort with double stroller: 3.2 mi, 00:30 @ 09:17 pace.
Strength: 6 x 1:00 plank series.

Easy-effort run with the double stroller only half loaded as the youngest and I "ran" some errands. 30 less pounds makes the stroller push like a dream!

Sunday, August 7

"The Plan" said 10k Time Trial, my body said "No!". I skipped the long run this week to get some extra rest before a week of bigger mileage.

Total Mileage:  23.47 miles

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.


  1. My hat is off to you. I don't know how you train for a marathon with small children. My children were older when I discovered running. And don't feel guilty about the guilt (LOL). I think it's in a Mom's job description. I still do it after all these years. Good luck this week as you increase mileage. Thanks for linking, Amy!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Holly! Oh the mom guilt! It has to be a universal thing :)

  2. Oh, I completely understand the challenges of training and motherhood! I struggle with both finding time and guilt, too. But I also know working out keeps me healthy and makes me a better mom (and gives me more energy to chase the wild thing around!). I also keep my mileage relatively low (for a half marathons, I've been staying somewhere between 20 and 30 miles per week).

    1. The low mileage totally works, doesn't it! Motherhood really does seem "easier" after I've had a good workout... more patient, less frazzled, all of that :)

  3. Ya know this past marathon cycle I ran a lot less miles than I previously did and I didn't have the burn out as fast and I stayed injury free. So perhaps it's not always about all the high mileage as long as you make those miles count! You do what you can! :)

  4. I totally *get* this post on so many levels!!!
    Mommy guilt happens to us all, and its perfectly OK and normal to feel that way!
    Ive ran many miles before the sun rose,many miles after the kids were asleep, and many more while pushing the double jogger.
    As a mother it is very easy to put everyone and everything else before yourself. Its hard not to feel guilty about carving time out of the day for a run or workout. But the GOOD part about making time for you--even if its only a quick 30 minute tempo run or slog around the neighborhood, is exactly what you mentioned-it keeps you feeling centered and grounded. It keeps you feeling less stressed. And The important thing you are doing is keeping yourself healthy, which makes for a happier healthier mamma----and when mamma is happy EVERYBODY is happy, right????

    1. You do get it, Melissa! Sometimes I call myself a "closet runner". Most of my runs are in the dark or snuck in on the treadmill... who would know I'm even a runner if it wasn't for that jogging stroller :) Just gotta make it work!

  5. You so right my biggest reason to not jump right into another marathon is training and time and I don't have little ones! I never ran more than about 3-4 miles during the week during my entire training. I built once a week on my long run. So it is very doable even for a beginner like I was. We just do what we have too! I felt this guilt too, but in the end doing for yourself IS doing for others too. Think of what your teaching your little ones and your hubs as well. He is 1/2 of the parents too! They need to know how to get along without you for a few hours! Good luck to you it will all come together!

    1. You are so wise to take time and everything into consideration before signing up, Tricia! Training is so fun, but depending on the distance and the intensity you want to train at, it sure is a commitment as well :) And our boys totally need some daddy-only time, too!


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