With, Without, Together: Training with Children

By Carissa

If you had told me that I could train for a marathon while homeschooling my three sons, ages 5 and under, I would have told you that you were crazy.  Yet day after day, week after week, those boxes in my training schedule got checked off.  When I was finished I couldn't wait to do it all again.  Flexibility and creativity are key to pulling it off.  Let me share with you some of my tricks for exercising with your children, without your children, and together.

Jogging Strollers:  I have used and been a fan of B.O.B. jogging strollers since I first became a mom.  Yes, they are pricey.  When shopping for a jogging stroller it is easy to buy another cheaper brand.  I am completely sold on this brand and I’ve never heard anyone who uses a B.O.B. argue differently.  This stroller is worth the cost.  It also lasts a really long time.  I’ve been using mine for 7 years and I have no complaints about wear.  This is a great item to pick up used and it retains it’s value well for when you are ready to sell it.
I've used both the single and double B.O.B jogging strollers for the last 7 years.
Treadmill:  When our family moved to Portland we moved to an incredibly hilly neighborhood.  I needed a way to workout that didn’t involve brining the boys with me.  We purchased a new Horizon T-81 treadmill from Play Again Sports.  It cost $570 and was worth every penny.  That treadmill has guaranteed my ability to get a workout in despite weather, time of day or crazy kid schedule.
Some race bibs in my line of vision help me stay motivated when my workouts are tough.
Biking:  As my kids have gotten older, biking while I run has become an option. With my youngest in the jogging stroller my 7 and 5 year old can bike along side me.  I bring along a special snack to celebrate each mile (Sharkies:Kids Sport Chews) and we’ve covered up to 5 miles together.  
Biker gang-the youngest obviously can't ride while I run :)
At the Track:  Working out with my kids at the track is my favorite because I get to see them run too.  The balance is difficult and my workout is guaranteed to have interruptions but I’ve seen their confidence and sense of accomplishment soar as they loop that track. Last week I hesitantly headed to the track with my crew of boys.  The big question mark was what my 2 year old might make of it.  Would he play happily with the sand toys I hauled out to the track?  Get lost in kicking a soccer ball back and forth across the field?  Or would he pitch a fit that I was running the track and cry for me to return to his side?  The experiment was a success.  He played quietly in the shade enjoying snacks and friends.  Once again I used Sharkies to encourage my older boys to get involved.  We talked about setting a personal goal they wanted to achieve but in the end settled on 1 Sharky earned per lap.  My 5 year old alternated between playing and looping the track.  At the end of our time he had ran a mile.  My 7 year old also alternated between running and playing.  He ran a total of 3 miles!
The second week we went to the track this guy ran 5 miles!  Way to go son!
Alone: While exercising with my kids is fun and a nice change of pace, what really refreshes my soul is running without them.  Getting in that by myself workout takes help from my husband, family and friends.  It also requires getting up early or squeezing it in during nap time or soccer practice.  
By myself or with a Sole Sister is my favorite
One time I ran 13 miles to arrive across town at my son’s soccer game.  Another time Jodi and I ran from the start of school until the end of it.  (The boys had a shortened day.)  You may run with your children, you may do it without them and you may do it together as a family.  Which ever way works for you by staying flexible and being creative you WILL get that run in!

Tell us Sole Sisters: How do you find time to run?

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