Get your run on

04.12.12 As a working mom, exercise has been on the bottom of my priority list. But it's time to lace up my running shoes.


Finding the time to exercise as a working mom has been tough. Before I had a baby, I swam or ran a few days a week and, when I had a gym membership, I would dabble in a class or two. On average I worked out three times a week and never thought twice about it: Exercise was a part of my life.

When I had my son, working out never crossed my mind. I was so sleep deprived that any free time I had outside of working, nursing or life in general was spent trying to get some extra z’s. It wasn’t until my son was 1 year old that I felt like I wanted to start moving again. But, then came the question of when? Mornings were busy with nursing and getting my son and me ready for the day—and, in all honesty, I’ve never been much of a morning person so the idea of waking up early to move vigorously made my stomach turn. Exercising in the middle of the workday wasn’t feasible if I wanted to leave at 5 p.m. to pick up my son, and after work wasn’t appealing either. Exercising at night would mean first picking up my son at day care, driving home and then getting my son fed, bathed and to bed. After all that, all I wanted to do was have dinner with my husband and a glass of wine—not head out for a run.

I kept up my coach potato routine for a few more months, but I actually started to miss exercising. I would see someone running and sigh, “I used to do that.” So I decided to join a gym near work with the idea that I would drop my son at day care early a few days a week and get in a workout before heading to the office. I stuck with it for a few months, but I felt guilty dropping my son off an hour earlier than usual and I always felt rushed to get to work, so it never seemed like I was really getting the full benefits of a workout. I started going less and less and then our offices moved, so the gym was no longer convenient.

So, here I am. My son is almost 2 1/2 years old and I still haven’t figured out to make exercise a regular part of my life again. Enter my colleague Kathryn McRitchie, Fit Pregnancy’s fashion director. I made a comment this week that I would have to start wearing only dresses because none of my pants fit and she suggested I run an upcoming 5k with her: it’s the Revlon Run/Walk for Women and Kathryn is running in support of her sister, a two-time breast cancer survivor (she’s been in remission now for almost 18 months).

The race is May 12 in Los Angeles, which gives me just four weeks to train. I won’t be starting completely from scratch—I’ve been getting a run in on at least one weekend morning for the past few months—but I haven’t run a race (or more than 2 miles!) in more than five years. Luckily, I was sent an early copy of the recently released Train Like A Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line—and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity by runners and moms Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell. The book offers up a training plan for a 5k, so I know what I have to do. I just need to make the time to do it.

How have you fit exercise into your life as a working mom?