Category: Healthy Living & Fitness

How to Train for a Marathon with Small Children

How to Train for a Marathon with Small Children

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the J.M. Smucker company. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Prior to having children, I ran road races multiple times per year. After having children, running races each summer and fall went by the wayside. My priorities shifted to being a mom and that is where a majority of my time is focused.

While training for and running races is not a top life priority now, I haven’t completely given up. I still try to run at least one road race per year, unless I am pregnant or have a newborn…so I have skipped a few races over the last 6 years. It’s not easy to fit the race in some years and it can feel like a lot of work, but it is completely worth the time and effort!

Running a marathon was a goal of mine. When our oldest daughter was one, my husband and I decided to train for our first marathon. It is such a time-consuming endeavor! The entire summer of 2012 was spent figuring our training schedules, shuffling our 1-year-old around during long runs, running, eating (so much!), and recovering from the many miles we were running.

It was such a fun summer of training and the marathon was a blast. We were both excited to hit our goal times. While I would not take the time to train for a marathon every year with small children, I am so glad that we decided to make it a priority for one summer.

If you want to train for a marathon or an alternate time-consuming (and bold!) adventure with young children at home, here are a few tips:

Write out a schedule

You cannot fly by the seat of your pants when training for a marathon. There are too many miles that must be fit into a week for that to work, especially when planning the runs around work schedules (my husbands) and a one-year-old. I made a rough 16-week training plan for both of us. We had weekly meetings to figure out when we would get our training runs in. There was no way we would have been able to log the miles and get in the long runs if we didn’t sit down to schedule out our runs each week. (It made me wonder why I didn’t do my first marathon pre-kiddo. It would have been much easier to get all the miles in!)

How to Train for a Marathon with Small Children

Find a training or accountability partner

I am so glad that my husband and I decided to train for the same marathon. Yes, it meant that every weekend we BOTH had to get our long runs in. If we both had to run 20+ miles at separate times in the day, that would take up much of our day! (We would then be completely wiped out for the remaining time.)

It was so helpful to have a training partner. We did a few runs together when it worked out to have someone watch our daughter. It was also nice to train for the same race as much of our daily conversation was around our running schedule, training runs, goal paces, rest, aches and pains, injuries, what we were eating, and everything else running related. If only one of us had been training, all the running talk might have gotten old for the non-running partner.

It also held us accountable as we had to do many of our runs early in the morning. Accountability is so helpful!

Commit!

Training for a marathon is hard work and time-consuming. While I enjoyed it, I am not going to say that it was always easy to do with a child at home. If she was awake at night, it was hard to force myself to get up early to run. It was also hard to have the energy to be a fun mom after running a long run. I just wanted to take a nap! It’s only because I was committed to the marathon and had a goal time in mind that kept me going.

Enlist in help

It was nice to schedule a few of our long runs when grandparents could watch our daughter. It was so helpful! It made our long runs more enjoyable because my husband and I could run a portion of it together…until he decided to take off at a quicker pace. It also took much less time to get our long runs in when we could do them at the same time.

Use your morning time wisely

We could not have completed our training schedule without using the morning time. We often switched off on who would run in the morning and who would run in the evening. When running for fun instead of actual marathon training, it would be fine to just roll out of bed and be out the door in just a few minutes. That doesn’t work so well when you have training goals and need to get a solid run completed in the morning!

If I had more than just a slow recovery run planned, I had to get up in plenty of time to wake up and enjoy coffee and breakfast. Enjoying the morning quiet with my coffee was the perfect way to start my morning prior to tying on my running shoes to get outside.

How to Train for a Marathon with Small Children

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How to Train for a Marathon with Small Children

Regardless of whether or not I am training for a running race, my morning time with a mug of coffee is one of my favorite parts of my day!

Have you ever run a marathon or considered training for one? What bold adventure do you want to plan?

The post is brought to you by Activate by Bloglovin and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
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8 Ways to Drink More Water Every Day

8 Ways to Drink More Water. With free printable water intake tracker.

Standard Disclosure: In order to support my blogging activities and provide free content on this blog, I may receive a commission if you purchase from the links in this post.

Do you want to make changes to your health, but don’t know where to start? If so, watching your water intake can be the perfect place to start. It’s a simple, small change, but has so many benefits. Just to name a few: Water gives you energy, your skin looks better, your kidneys work better, it helps keep away headaches, and so much more. Your body just works so much better when well hydrated!

8 Ways to Drink More Water. With free printable water intake tracker.

If you need to be reminded of the benefits of drinking water, check out the following links:

Why can staying hydrated be so hard? If you have trouble drinking enough water, I have a few tips to share with you. Here are…

8 Ways to Drink More Water Every Day:

Set a Goal

Decide how much water you want to drink each day. Read this article if you are having trouble figuring out how much water you should drink. Your weight, exercise intensity and frequency, environment (you’ll need more in the hot summer!), and other situations will come into play. Don’t get stuck on the actual amount. If you don’t want to think too hard on this step, you can start with the common eight 8-ounce glasses of water because it’s simple to remember.  

I find it easiest to set just one goal for the day and then break it out by my desired number of ounces. If your goal is 64 ounces and you have a 16-ounce water bottle, think of your goal as 4 water bottles for simplicity’s sake.

If you need to take the goal further, set a goal to drink a certain amount at set times during the day. For example: drink 8 ounces as soon as you wake up or drink 8 ounces of water before each meal (this can also curb calorie intake if that interests you).

Track Your Progress

Track your progress on paper. Here is a printable tracker for you to use:

8 Ways to Drink More Water Every Day with printable water intake tracker

Track your progress on an app. Here are a few apps to try: Daily Water Free, Water Drink Reminder, iDrated, or Waterlogged.

Get a water bottle that helps you track your progress. This water bottle even has an alarm to remind you to drink!

Get stickers to add to your current planner or notebook.

 

Find a water bottle you’ll actually use

Have you ever purchased new workout clothes to help motivate yourself to workout? This is the same thing. If you are excited about your new water bottle, you might be more likely to carry it around with you all day.

I currently use Ello BPA-Free Glass Water Bottle with Flip Lid.

I used to have the Thermos Intak Hydration Bottle with Meter. This water bottle has a rotating meter on the lid that helps you monitor your daily water consumption.

If you enjoy infused water, you could try out Asobu Flavor It Glass Water Bottle With Fruit Infuser.

Keep water with you at all times

Now that you have a water bottle you like, keep it with you all day. If you don’t have water easily accessible, it’s easy to forget to drink up. It’s much easier to fill up when your water is nearby. Keep water at your desk at work or keep a glass of water by your bed.

Add flavor and find a water you enjoy

If you do not enjoy the taste of plain water, try making infused water. It’s quick, simple, and can be inexpensive. I don’t mind the taste of water, so I used to think it was a waste to spend ANY time or money to make infused water. It was easier and cheaper to just drink from the tap! But…this summer I tried cucumber water and I am sold. It is so refreshing!

Check out this post for ideas or follow these simple steps to make cucumber water:

  • Scrub the cucumber (or peel it) if you do not use organic. You will want it super clean if it’s floating around in your water.
  • Slice up the cucumber and place it in a pitcher.
  • Pour water over the cucumber and put in the fridge for a few hours.
  • Drink up!

Eat your water

If you have trouble drinking enough water, consider focusing on water-rich foods. Watermelon and cucumbers both have a high water content. Here are 15 foods to help you stay hydrated.

Get your children involved

Find a water bottle your child enjoys using. If they have a water bottle to carry around, you may be less likely to forget yours. My girls love their Klean Kid Kanteen Stainless Steel Bottle.

Dilute your sugary drinks with water or ice.

This may take some getting used to. If you drink juice, lemonade, or other sugary drinks on a daily basis, consider diluting your drinks to cut down on your sugar intake. You will still enjoy the sweetness of the drink and it will be healthier than drinking so much sugar and calories. Once it’s diluted, you can drink more! If I give my girls juice or lemonade, I always water it down a bit. They don’t even notice and still think it’s a treat!

Don’t forget to print off your printable to track your progress

8 Ways to Drink More Water Every Day with printable water intake tracker

I hope you find these tips helpful! What tips and tricks do you use to stay hydrated?

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8 Ways to Drink More Water. With free printable water intake tracker.

If you want to focus on Health & Wellness and want to record your goals and track your progress, check out my Health and Wellness Printable Planner.

Use the Health and Wellness Planner to:

  • Plan and track your fitness, nutrition, and wellness goals and habits
  • Create action steps necessary to fulfill your goals
  • Bring your new healthy habits into your daily schedule
  • Plan and track your workouts
  • Plan and track your meals
  • Track your vitamins, supplements, and other medications
  • List your favorite resources to aid and motivate you on your health journey

Health and Wellness Printable Planner.

Hold yourself accountable with your health goals with this printable planner. The Health and Wellness Printable Planner includes 9 pages. Use them all or pick and choose based on the plan that works best for you. The entire planner is undated so you can start using the planner at any time throughout the year. 

This post contains affiliate links.

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July Mini Goal: Drink More Water

This post is part of my 12 Mini Goals Challenge.

Small daily habits can make a big difference over the course of a few weeks, months, or even longer. In 2016, I am going to focus on a new habit or mini goal every month. In January, I focused on Daily Movement or Exercise. In February, I focused on cutting down on evening snacking. In March, my goal was 30 days of pilates. In April, my goal was to clear my kitchen counters every night. In May, I attempted to clear out my closet 3 items at a time. In June, my goal was to reset my mornings and wake up earlier.

I know the importance of drinking water and I used to not have any trouble staying on top of it. When I worked a desk job a few years ago, I would guzzle water all day long. I probably reached the water recommendations by the time I left work. I never was thirsty because I was on top of my hydration.

Now that I am home with my girls, I don’t have a water bottle with me every minute of the day and drinking water is not the habit it used to be. Because it is summer (and I’m pregnant), I often have a feeling of thirst and I know that means I am dehydrated. In July, I am going to try and stay on top of my water intake.

My July Mini Goal: Drink More Water (80 ounces of water per day)

How will I do this? I will follow these steps:

  • I will drink 8-16 ounces of water right away in the morning. This will be before my morning coffee. 
  • I will keep my water bottle close to me during the day. This is the water bottle I use and love.
  • I will track my progress in 8-ounce increments. Printable below!
  • I will reevaluate the goal of 80 ounces throughout the month. Because it is summer and I am pregnant, 80 ounces may not be enough water, especially on days that I am outside in the sun or on days that I exercise.

July Mini Goal: Drink More Water with printable tracker

Your July Mini Goal: Increase and track your water intake. 

If you need to be reminded of the benefits of drinking water, check out the following links:

If you want to join me, print off the July Challenge Tracker. Place an X in each box as you drink your decided amount of water. I also track multiple goals on my calendars, and the calendar leaves room for additional notes each day. It’s nice to have them written down all in one place. Use the hashtag #12minigoals on Instagram to show me your progress.

 Mini Goals Challenge for July: Drink more water

Let me know if you decide to join! How much water will you be drinking in July?

If you want to focus on Health & Wellness in July and want to record your goals and track your progress, check out my Health and Wellness Printable Planner.

Use the Health and Wellness Planner to:

  • Plan and track your fitness, nutrition, and wellness goals and habits
  • Create action steps necessary to fulfill your goals
  • Bring your new healthy habits into your daily schedule
  • Plan and track your workouts
  • Plan and track your meals
  • Track your vitamins, supplements, and other medications
  • List your favorite resources to aid and motivate you on your health journey

Health and Wellness Printable Planner.

Hold yourself accountable with your health goals with this printable planner. The Health and Wellness Printable Planner includes 9 pages. Use them all or pick and choose based on the plan that works best for you. The entire planner is undated so you can start using the planner at anytime throughout the year.

 

July Mini Goal: Drink More Water with printable tracker

 

I would love to have you join the 12 Mini Goals Challenge. Sign up for my mailing list if you want to be e-mailed the challenge each month. If we get to a month where the goal doesn’t fit into your life, you can always tweak it to be a mini goal that works for you.

This post contains affiliate links.

Stop by to see where I link up each week: Link-Ups

March Mini Goal: Complete 30 Days of Pilates

This post is part of my 12 Mini Goals Challenge.

Small daily habits can make a big difference over the course of a few weeks, months, or even longer. In 2016, I am going to focus on a new habit or mini goal every month. In January, I focused on Daily Movement or Exercise. In February, I focused on cutting down on evening snacking.

My March Mini Goal: Complete 30-Day Pilates Challenge

Because my goals in January and February both dealt with healthy living, I was going to change up March and move to a goal within the home. But when I heard about The Balanced Life’s 30-Day Pilates Challenge, I knew I wanted to make it my March goal.

The Challenge officially starts on March 1, so the timing was perfect. This challenge is FREE and you can sign up here. Every morning Robin e-mails out a 10 minutes Pilates workout that you can do from home.

There is a different focus each day of the week. See the image below for the breakdown of each day’s focus.

March Mini Goal: Complete 30 Days of Pilates. 30 Day Pilates Body Challenge by The Balanced Life.

I considered also making it a goal to do the video right away in the morning before my daughters got up. I decided against it and instead I am making it a goal to do the video before supper (or preferably by lunch) each day. In January when I was trying to get 10 minutes of exercise each day, I struggled to get it in if it was not completed by the evening. A few of the days I was doing a quick online workout video at 10 PM so I could check the day off as complete. It’s hard to be motivated to get the exercise in so late. In March, my goal is to do the video earlier in the day so this isn’t a problem.

Your March Mini Goal: join the 30-day pilates challenge OR find your own 30-day workout challenge

If you want to join me, print off the March Challenge Tracker. The March tracker looks different than the calendars for January and February. I wanted to leave room for additional notes each day. I wanted to note any days that had especially great workouts in case I wanted to revisit them later. I also plan on noting the time I do the day’s workout. Feel free to just place an X on the day when you complete your workout if you prefer.

March Mini-Goal Challenge: 30 Days of Pilates or other Fitness Challenge

 

(This post isn’t sponsored by The Balanced Life…I just really enjoy her free workouts! Join her free 30 Day Pilates Body Challenge here. She also has a monthly subscription service that looks intriguing.)

If you have trouble fitting exercise into your daily routine, read my 30+ tips to help you fit exercise into your daily routine.

Let me know if you decide to join!

 

March Mini Goal: Complete 30 Days of Pilates. Complete the 30 Day Pilates Body Challenge hosted by Robin of The Balanced Life. 

I would love to have you join the 12 Mini Goals Challenge. Sign up for my mailing list if you want to be e-mailed the challenge each month. If we get to a month where the goal doesn’t fit into your life, you can always tweak it to be a mini goal that works for you.

Stop by to see where I link up each week: Link-Ups

Over 30 Ways to Add Fitness to Your Daily Routine

Do you often feel like you have no time to exercise? It’s not always easy to get the exercise in. You probably know many of the benefits of exercise, but do you still struggle to get it in?

Because of the physical and mental benefits of exercising, I used to never struggle with the motivation to exercise. I was a regular (if not obsessed) exerciser. It felt natural to have exercise a part of my daily routine. Before having children, I worked out 6-7 days per week.

Now with children at home, I find that it can be much harder. Some days it’s hard for me to find the motivation to fit in even a quick workout. I used to get frustrated about the decrease in motivation but then realized that I just need to get more creative about fitting the exercise into my day.

You may have to try hard to sneak in your workout. You may have to prepare a little so you cannot give into the excuse that you don’t have the time.

Here are over 30 ways to add fitness to your daily routine:

 Over 30 ways to add fitness to your daily routine

 

Schedule it in. If you don’t write exercise into your schedule, you may not get around to it. Add your workout to your calendar and stick to it!

Exercise in the morning. It’s a great feeling to complete your workout, shower, and be ready for your day by 7 AM. There are also typically fewer time commitments that can get in the way of working out in the morning than during the rest of the day.

Create goals that are realistic for your time of life. Do you have 3 children under 4? Maybe now isn’t the best time to set the goal of running a marathon. Be realistic about what you can accomplish at this time in your life.

Make a Health and Wellness plan. Sometimes just taking a step back and evaluating where you are with your health and wellness can be motivating. Use this Health & Wellness Planner to help you set goals and track your progress.

Health, Fitness, Wellness Printable Workbook

Pick an efficient workout. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is an efficient workout when you are short on time. When you don’t have a large window of time, focus on quality, not quantity. This list also includes links to videos and other workouts that are helpful if you have trouble setting aside a large amount of time to workout.

Find a workout partner. If you have a time and place set up to meet, it’s harder to skip. You won’t want to ditch your plans when you have someone waiting for you.

Find an accountability partner. Text a friend every morning after you complete your workout or find an app with an accountability feature.

Sign up for a class. Hopefully spending the money will motivate you to complete the class. A little skin in the game never hurts.

Limit screen time. I know. It’s much easier to browse Facebook, but you will feel much better after a 20-minute walk than 20 minutes on Facebook. Trust me.

Find a challenge or make up your own. There are so many online challenges to join. Search around Pinterest or check out The Balanced Life for free pilates challenges.

Set our your clothes the night before. If you are off to work in the morning, all you have to do is grab your gym bag as you head out the door. As you leave work, you won’t have the excuse that you don’t have your gym clothes along.

Find your exercise purpose. Do you want to be healthier for your children? Get rid of aches and pains? Complete your first 10K? Lose weight? Having a reason for your exercise may help you to enjoy it rather than just get through it. It may make it easier to form a new habit.

Track your progress. Write out the detail of your exercise each week or just check off that you did something. Many say a key component of achieving a goal is to write it down. It’s motivating to see the number of days you workout add up. It can also motivate you to improve week to week. Use this free Fitness Tracker printable to record your weekly workouts.

Free Fitness Tracker Printable

Track your steps. Use your FitBit or just find a cheap pedometer to track your activity throughout the day.

Break your goal down into smaller pieces. Is your health goal to lose 50 pounds? Focus on the first 10 and then worry about the next 10 later.

Reward yourself. I must admit that this isn’t the most motivating factor for me. I’m just too cheap to reward myself and am simply happy with how much better I feel when I workout. I do know that many people are motivated by new workout gear, a pedicure, or another splurge for keeping a consistent workout schedule. If it works for you, go with it!

Buy fun workout gear. While workout gear is not my most motivating factor, it is fun to get a new tank top or pair of leggings. There are so many options (both inexpensive and too expensive!) of great gear out there. 

Add variety. If you worry about getting bored, don’t forget to vary up your exercise. 

Have a list of workouts ready to go. If you workout at home, don’t spend the first 10 minutes of your workout finding the perfect online workout video. Have a list of your favorites, so you can use your workout time efficiently. Here is a list to get you started.

Do what you love! If you despise running, try another activity. If you are not fond of exercising, you may not absolutely LOVE whatever exercise you choose. If you really hate it, though, try to find something you can tolerate better. Find something that fits your lifestyle and desires.

Focus on a daily habit. Sometimes the best way to start a new habit is to force yourself to do it daily until it becomes your new routine.

Walk on your lunch break. Not only will you be efficiently fitting exercise into your day, but you will probably feel more alert in the afternoon. 

Have a walking work meeting. If you spend much of your day sitting, a walking meeting will be great for your health. This is also another way to get rid of the afternoon slump.

Exercise date. My husband and I spent many of our first dates running or cycling together.

Catch up with a friend. It makes your workout go by much faster!

Include the family. Enjoy your evenings with a family walk or bike ride.

Walk or bike to work. Make your commute your workout. 

Always be prepared. Keep an extra pair of tennis shoes in your car. You never know when you may have a few extra minutes to take a quick walk. If you have a few minutes while waiting for your child to get done with practice, walk around the block instead of scrolling through your phone.

Turn your chores into exercise. Yard work, shoveling, cleaning. Add a little vigor to it!

Add snippets of exercise into your day. Squats while you brush your teeth? OK…maybe only I am strange enough to do that. :)

Be flexible. Did you have a 5 mile run scheduled, but life got in the way? Find another day.

How do you fit your exercise into your day?

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Over 30 ways to add fitness to your daily routine. Make a Health, Wellness, and Fitness Plan.