7 Secrets to Training for a Half Marathon with 3 Kids

Being a stay at home Mom has been a great joy of my life. We have three beautiful children 6 and under. Which means one is at school during the day and the other two are under my care. Staying at home with my kids means there are so many things I get to be a part of. I get to participate in teaching them their fundamental education. I get to take them to the playground and see them playing with their friends. I get to sit and read book after book with them. This does mean that time for myself is not bountiful. Despite that, I’ve always placed a high importance on maintaining my running lifestyle. Over the last six years I have trained and run a number of events at a variety of distances. Right now, I’m knee deep in training for the Disney World Half Marathon coming up this January. The very idea of training for a Half Marathon when you have three small people to keep alive can be daunting. So here are some secrets to how I get in those miles during this very busy season of life.

Thule Chariot

We have owned a Double Thule Chariot Cheetah for five years now. This is a stroller designed with many sports in mind. It can be hooked up to a bicycle, strapped around your waist as your skiing and be pushed while you’re walking or running. There’s room in the trailer for two children with a max weight of 100 pounds. It comfortably sat our older two children until our oldest was 6 1/2 and our middle son was 4 1/2. Giving us plenty of years of use. Now that we have our third child, he sits along side his older brother during our family runs. This Thule Chariot has allowed me to get my runs in during the day without having to get childcare for my littles at home. It’s taught our kids that running is a normal part of our lifestyle and fitting it into our days is as simple as going out the door. Over the years we’ve used music and books to keep them entertained while out for runs. I’ve always found running on busier streets to be more entertaining than quiet neighbourhoods.

Creative

Instead of always logging miles by running a running route with the Thule Chariot, I choose to run TO places as often as possible. If it’s a beautiful day, we’ll run to a playground in another neighbourhood. Instead of driving to the city library, we’ll run there. Heading downtown to the city market, we’ll run down. Because the run ends up getting broken up, it ends up being more bank miles than anything else. But bank miles are better than no miles.

Plan

When I’m running without a goal in mind, if I don’t get out for an expected run any given day it’s not a big deal. But when I’m training for a specific event I need to make sure I have at least 3 runs on the books for the week. This means my husband and I need to talk at the beginning of each week about what’s happening in the days ahead. Having a plan for when my minimum 3 runs are going to happen makes sure they’ll get done. I also have a training plan that I adhere to. I typically pull one out of John Stanton’s Running book. I plot it into an Numbers spreedsheet, inputting the proper dates to correlate with my particular race.

Flexible

Being the number one caregiver of three children means unexpected things are sure to come up. Someone gets sick, a week gets filled with activities, my husband goes away for the whole week for work. Not every week is going to be perfect for fitting in the workouts I need to do. This means I have to be flexible. Maybe I don’t get to do my hills that week, or I can only fit in 2 runs instead of 3. I’ve learned to be okay with that.

Register

There have been many times I’ve intended to train for a half and then everyone else schedules get pushed to the forefront pushing my goal to the wayside. So I’ve learned that I need to register for a race I plan on doing. When I’ve forked out the money for a registration fee I am more committed to making sure I am physically prepared for the race.

Time Goal

Right now, in the middle of these early childrearing years, certain time goals for certain events aren’t realistic. Getting out for my runs to get in the miles can be challenging enough. I don’t have the energy right now to be concerned about running a 15k race pace run. This summer I was able to train for a fast 10k but running and achieving a personal best isn’t in the cards right now. Running the event in and of itself is an achievement. So instead of watching my watch as I’m running my miles, I’m focusing on the distances I’m running.

Understanding Husband

I’ve been a runner for 12 years now. I was a runner before I met my husband. I was a runner before we had kids. Running is a big part of me being my best self. My husband knows this. He is very supportive of making sure I get in my workouts. On a day I really don’t feel like I have the energy to get out he pushes me to do it. If it wasn’t for his support I wouldn’t be able run regularly, let alone train for a half marathon.

I am so excited to run the half in Disney World. It’s been years since I ran in one of their races. I can’t wait to run through Cinderella’s Castle and up Main Street U.S.A. I can’t wait to see all the characters along the route. It’s the perfect race to come back with. My first half since having our little William. My first half since 2015. I wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t for these 7 secrets. I hope they help you achieve your goals too. Happy planning, Friends.

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