5 Things You Must Accept to be a Running Parent

©istockphoto/RichVintage
©istockphoto/RichVintage

So much about being a run­ner is indi­vid­ual, which is the point; run­ning is a sport you can (and many do) by your­self, pret­ty much any­time, any­where. That’s the appeal for many peo­ple. Par­ent­hood, on the oth­er hand, is pret­ty much the oppo­site. It’s not about you at all any­more. You can like to think you dic­tate the sched­ule of any giv­en day or activ­i­ty, but…you don’t.

These con­trary lifestyles leave new par­ents, who also hap­pen to be run­ners, fail­ing some­times, unsure how they can main­tain their pas­sion of run­ning with­in their new alter­na­tive uni­verse of par­ent­hood. It’s easy to think it just doesn’t work and decide that you’ll have to give up run­ning for a few years. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Run­ning still has a place in fam­i­ly life, it just has to adapt. Here are five truths you must sim­ply accept and learn to work with in order to be a run­ning parent.

Sched­ule Flex­i­bil­i­ty
Maybe you’ve always con­sid­ered your­self a morn­ing run­ner, hap­pi­ly get­ting up with the sun before work, log­ging your miles, and start­ing your day with some­thing that makes you feel so good and ener­gized. Hold on to those memories…it’s going to be a while before you feel ‘ener­gized’ again. Now that Junior arrived, you have a liv­ing human being requir­ing your atten­tion at any and all hours of the day and night. Frankly, you will run when he deter­mines you can.

Run­ning on a Full Stom­ach
In line with the above truth, you may be sur­prised how fre­quent­ly it seems Junior decides to nap and pro­vide you with a pock­et of time for a run only twen­ty min­utes after you just fig­ured it wasn’t going to hap­pen so you ate a full meal. At first you may decide to forego the run, but after a few weeks, you’ll learn that it’s now or nev­er, so you’ll give it a try. Hon­est­ly, being able to run with food in your stom­ach is a rare, but help­ful, skill in the run­ning world. Those who can suc­cess­ful­ly do it are either ultra run­ners, freaks of nature, or parents.

You Will Have More ‘Sick Days’
Not only do you have to work around your own ill­ness­es, but you will also have days when you must forego your run to attend to your sick child.

Delayed Depar­ture
It will take you at LEAST twice as long as it used to get out the door. It’s rarely as sim­ple as chang­ing your clothes, lac­ing up your shoes, kiss­ing your child’s cheek, and step­ping out the door. You now have to pump a bot­tle for your part­ner to feed the child (or just to light­en your load while run­ning); you have an audi­ence who will unabashed­ly ask ques­tions while you change into your run­ning clothes; you will have to pry your shoes out of your baby’s curi­ous fin­gers (or mouth), which will make them cry, and you will then need to hold and com­fort them; you will have to answer their ques­tions about what you’re going to do, how many miles you’re run­ning, and how long you’ll be gone…approximately 432 times. All these things take time, and it may be anoth­er half hour before you’re final­ly on your front porch—and if you turn around, you will see a small, curi­ous face (or two, or three) plas­tered to the win­dow, watch­ing you go.

You Will Be a Role Mod­el
Some­times, when you’re doing your own thing, it’s easy to for­get just how close­ly your kids are pay­ing atten­tion to you. Whether they grow up to be run­ners or not, remem­ber that they are watch­ing you run and learn­ing about ded­i­ca­tion, self care, and pas­sion from you. Good for you for stick­ing with your pas­sion and set­ting a healthy example!

By Audra Run­dle