Balancing Running & Family Life

balancing running and family life

We had another fun and busy weekend over here!  Summer is in full swing, which means spending as much time finding fun things to do with my 7 year old.  It’s really hitting me that this will be his last summer as an only child, and my husband and I are doing everything we can to make it as fun as possible.  Balancing running and family life has always been tricky, but adding in a pregnancy has made things a little more complicated.  And a little less, since I physically can’t spend 4 hours running on Saturdays!

I want to share a few tips that have helped me to make sure I’m not sacrificing my family life for the sport I love, or making my goals smaller just because I’m a working mom.  But first, here’s how our week went.  Sunday was a very relaxed day in the Brambila household.  I participated in a virtual 2.15 mile walk in honor of the 215 Indigenous Bodies that were found recently buried at a residential school in Canada.  My first reaction when I hear stories like this one is anger, and spending a morning walking helped me process my feelings.

My work week was fairly routine, but pretty demanding. I had to rearrange my schedule several times this week because we had so many last minute meetings that came up. I usually work out during my lunch hour, but this week I had to push my workouts to after work or do them in our home gym. It is so hard having motivation to work out in the afternoons in Texas because it is approximately 23487 degrees, and our CrossFit boxes do not have climate control. But, we made it work. Having more home gym equipment definitely helped!

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My son had an appointment Saturday morning, and thankfully my husband was able to take him while I got in my long run.  After we both got home, we drove out to my dads house for a short visit.  We spent most of the afternoon hanging out in the water, enjoying the Texas hill country views, and eating our weight in my dads barbeque.  It was not great, but very tiring for the bump and I.  Sunday morning, my dad taught our son how to ride a mini-dirt bike.  Just a normal weekend for us!  I’m so glad we were able to make the short trip work, because our son had the absolute best time, and talked about his new dirt bike riding skills the whole way home.

In the height of marathon or ultra-marathon training, it’s hard to have the energy to make weekends like this happen. And honestly, even with reduced mileage, I really have to rally sometimes. But I have found a few ways to usually make it all work.

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Balancing Running & Family Life

  • Ebb & Flow – Recognize and accept that different periods of time will be focused on different things.  At the peak of marathon or ultramarathon training, expect that you will be more tired and let your family know that during this short period, you might be less present.  Also recognize that there will times where family is the more dominating focus, and don’t feel pressured to keep running the same volume.  Life is not linear or consistent, and remembering that everything is temporary can help you and your family to shift and adapt as needed.
  • Capitalize on Recovery Periods – Similarly, I’ve found that I have the most availability with my boys during my recovery periods.  Sometimes this means the couple of weeks after a big race, and other times this just means during cut back weeks.  When I know I won’t be spending as much time training, I really focus my “extra” time on family activities.  If the boys have been asking to check out a waterpark or on a day trip somewhere, I tend to give the green light during recovery periods, since I’ll have more energy.
  • Schedule Ahead – Knowing that my training will vary over the years and recognizing that I have more energy and availability during recovery periods helps me to schedule ahead.  I tend to pick races that aren’t close to my boys birthdays, since I want to be able to take a fun trip with them around that time of year.  I also don’t plan any big vacations during peak training periods.  Having a couple of races on my calendar helps me plan when I need to prioritize training versus when I can schedule family trips or activities.
  • Fuel for Fun – No matter what you do, you will not have the energy to do anything fun if you’re not fueling appropriately.  I’ve always been amazed at how much easier it is for me to get up and get off my “recovery” couch after a workout when I’m fueling and hydrating appropriately.  We’re basically plants with feelings, so make sure you’re feeding and watering yourself regularly.

Related Post: 7 Tips for Fueling Appropriately

  • Get the Kids Involved – Bring them to races and let them cross the finish lines with you to show them just how exciting this sport can be, and help them to feel included.  If they’re old enough, have them ride their bike with you on some of your runs so that you’re spending time together and getting in some easy training.  The more they see what you’re training for, the more invested the whole family can be in supporting your goals.
  • Be Realistic – Even during the hardest weeks of training, I can usually muster the energy to do something fun with my family during the weekend.  I may not have the motivation to play a game of backyard baseball on a Tuesday after working and training, but I can probably get it together enough to go see a family-friendly movie on a Saturday afternoon (not evening, because I’m probably snoring by 9pm).
  • Embrace Efficiency – If there’s a major family event, like a birthday party or family trip, that doesn’t mean that training just can’t happen at all.  It may mean that you have to spend some time judiciously looking at your training plan to identify which workouts are key, which workouts can be shortened, and which can be nixed all together.  During one week of holiday travel, I recognized that most of our days were filled with fairly active things, and I’d be walking around a whole lot, so I ditched two of my easy runs and focused on finding time for my speed workout instead.  I used the walking in place of easy runs, and while it wasn’t exactly the same, in the end it all worked out fine because efficiency and consistency usually win.

This Weeks Workouts

balancing running and family life, how to train for a marathon and still have a life, parenting and running, balancing running with kids, how to find time for training, how to find time to run

Total Miles: 32 Miles
Total Workouts: 4
How the Run Felt
I’m happy to report that we had zero thunder storms this week interrupting my running plans. It was however hotter than the 9th circle Hell, which was not the most enjoyable experience. I want to try and stay on the roads and trails as much as possible, but I have to admit that the thought of running in an air conditioned room in my house has been very tempting lately. My runs are feeling pretty good, without any pelvic floor issues to report. My calves have been a little tight, but the Hypervolt and some compression socks have been really helpful.

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My long run this weekend was a little more taxing than previous weeks, especially with the heat.  I tried to get out earlier in the morning, but the Sun was relentless.  I was happy to get in a mix of dirt and road miles, but there wasn’t any climbing, which I really am missing.  I came across a crawfish on my run that seems like he was displaced after the floods.  I hope he was able to find his way back to the creek beds, but I was too hot to try to relocate him myself.

How the WODs Felt
It was really nice to have two sets of dumbbells to work with during my home WOD this week. While we were at my dads house, I was talking to him about our little home gym, and he said he was able to build me a plyo box. I’m so excited to have more options for home workouts, especially with how hard it can be to get out of the house with an infant. All of the workouts felt good this week, outside of making me feel like I was working out in an oven. I have been monitoring my internal temperature, since I know that’s something that can be concerning in pregnancy. So far I’ve been able to regulate my temps pretty well, but it’s something I’ll continue to keep an eye on.

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What I’ve Been Listening
I’ve been listening to a new true crime podcast called The Devil Within.  It’s a series focused on a murder that happened in 1988.  The story is that a teenage boy killed his mother after becoming involved in a Satanic group.  The murder happened at the height of the Satanic Panic, and has left a lot of gaps in the investigation.  I also started listening to a podcast called The Underworld, which is all about organized crime groups.  It’s a little bro-centric for me, but the subjects and groups they cover are so interesting.

What Went Well
Getting to break in my new home gym equipment.

What Went Shitty
Running on the surface of the Sun.

Plans to Improve Next Week
Next week will be a cut back week, so I plan to incorporate some walking on the treadmill as well.

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