fitting in fitness

I had a question recently about how I fit in running and training for races as a working mom.  I can honestly say it isn’t easy and, unfortunately, I have to sacrifice a little something in all aspects of my life to fit in everything.  But, I feel like it is important enough for my well being that it’s something I need and want to fit in to my daily life.

MacKenna-walking with dandelion-18 months

I took about a billion pictures of Kenna yesterday, so bear with me as you get to see some of the good ones in this post…

I don’t do a lot of “day in the life” posts because my days are pretty much the same every. single. day.  They look a little something like this:

4:15 AM – Wake up

4:30 AM – Gym for CrossFit

5 AM – Shower and get ready

6 AM – Wake MacKenna up and get her ready

6:15 AM – Breakfast for MacKenna while getting my stuff ready to go

6:30 AM – Leave for work (thankfully, Matt takes her to the sitter)

7 AM – Arrive at work

7:30 AM – First bell rings

10:48 AM – Lunch

11:09 AM – Lunch ends (a big fat 21 minutes)

2:35 PM – Dismissal

3:15 PM – Leave to go home

4 PM – Run

5 PM – Pick up MacKenna

6 PM – Dinner

6:30 PM – Bath time

7:30 PM – MacKenna’s bedtime

7:35 PM – Clean up, make breakfast + lunch for tomorrow, laundry

8 PM – Sit on the couch, eat dessert, work, blog

10 PM – Get ready for bed

11 PM – Sleep

This would be an easy day to get a run in since I have no after school commitments.  But, there are meetings that come up after school, I run open gym for volleyball 1 to 2 days a week, and I go to the chiropractor 2 days a week.  Those days I either have to push back my run time or skip it all together.  And with Matt being in the middle of his track season, it’s even harder to fit everything in.

I’ve gotten really, really good at managing my time.  I know about how long it takes me to get pretty much anything done and I can squeeze every little thing in to the amount of time I am give.  But, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take some sacrifice to fit everything in.

MacKenna-looking down outside-18 months

The first thing that I sacrifice is sleep.  I luckily can function off of about 6 hours of sleep.  During the fall, when volleyball season is in full swing, I get down to about 5 hours of sleep since I have to push my workouts to the morning before work (usually around 4 AM).  Lately, I’ve started cutting myself down to 5 1/2 hours so I can lift in the morning instead of after school and spend a little bit more time with MacKenna after work in the afternoon and evening.  And I’m hoping, now that it’s starting to get warmer, that I can start running with the jogging stroller more often.  I figure that I can always make up for lack of sleep on the weekends.

The next thing to go is my training.  Like I said, there are several days a week where I have to skip my run because I have after school commitments.  Things come up and sometimes I just can’t help it.  Using a training plan helped me a lot when training for the half, but, I’ve also had to cut back a bit on my training.  Most of my runs during the week are 5 miles or less – something I can do in under 45 minutes.  As much as I would love to really ramp up my mileage in order to become more competitive, I’m not willing to sacrifice that much time with my family for it.  Maybe someday, but definitely not right now.

MacKenna-touching tulips-18 months

And unfortunately, I have to sacrifice some of my time with MacKenna in order to run.  And that’s where the Mommy Guilt really comes in strong.  I’ve heard someone recently say that once her kids are in school (5+ years old) she’ll start working out again because she wants to spend her time now with them.  At first, when I heard that, I felt really guilty.  “Oh man, she totally has a point.  I’m missing out on some really important times in MacKenna’s life,” I thought to myself.

But, the thought of not working out, not having that time to myself, that time to unwind, relax, and clear my head would really start to cause some issues.  There are days where I come home from work after an exceptionally hard day and the only way I can get over being frustrated, mad, or upset is with a run.  If I didn’t run, I’m afraid that MacKenna would take the brunt of that anger and frustration.  I wouldn’t be able to just focus on her – the truly important thing.

Cute baby-bow finger

Maybe getting in so little time with her makes me a bad mom.  But, in those few hours that I get with her every night, I focus all my energy on her.  I savor each and every moment I get with her.  I don’t worry about house work or work work or any thing else but spending time with her.  And I think that makes me a better mom.  A mom that cares not only about her daughter, but about herself.  I don’t want MacKenna to grow up with a mom who is resentful and depressed and angry.  She doesn’t deserve that, and I  don’t deserve that.

Is it the ideal situation?  Oh heck no!  I’m pretty sure EVERYONE knows that I would much rather spend every single day at home with her (and thankfully, a month from today, I’ll be able to do that for almost 3 months).  But, this it what works for me right now.  It’s not easy, it’s certainly not always fun, but it’s the best situation for our home, for my sanity, and for our time.

Cute baby-makeup

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, how do you fit working out into a busy schedule?

  • Wow, you are awesome! I get up around 5:15 am every morning for work and always said, there is no way I could get up at 4 am to go work out. I don’t even have a child! Man do I envy you with your energy with working out and teaching and taking care of the ever adorable MacKenna!!! I try to get my workouts in after work, normally I have my bag of clothes with me so I have no excuse but to go to the gym right after work. I fear if I go straight home to change, I will talk myself out of working out. It’s definitely mind over matter. You are an inspiration to us all! 🙂 PS, if you are looking for a new gym, you should check out Complete Fitness. They are awesome!!
    Jessica recently posted..Sunday Social #12

    • Kristen

      Where is Complete Fitness? I workout at Gold’s on K right now – I like it but miss the 24/7 that I had at Club Fitness. I just really wanted a gym with a pool!

  • Sarah

    Thank you for this post! My first child is due in a few weeks and I’ll be going back to work after maternity leave and balancing work/life/baby/workouts is already on my mind. Being healthy is very important to me and exercise is a part of that. So thanks for sharing your perspective, it gives me some ideas of how I might fit it all in when the time comes 🙂

    • Kristen

      Just be flexible. I used to be an all or nothing person, and I’ve had to totally change my mindset with a baby. Fit it in when you can and don’t beat yourself up if you have to miss a workout or 2. And let your significant other know that you need that time away because you truly do!

  • Jen

    I love this post because I’m always looking for other moms accounts on how they get things to fit in a day. I currently have a 15 month old and am almost 5 months pregnant with baby #2. When i wasn’t pregnant it was a lot easier toget everything done. I survived better on less sleep I guzzled coffee and was generally able to fit in a workout about 4-5 days a week on top of working full time. Now that I’m pregnant I need more sleep and I’m still fitting in workouts but its 3-4 days a week and last a little shorter. I work 2nd shift so 1230-11pm so i usually workout after getting E up for the day at 7/730 er eat togeter hang out play for a bit and by 9 i go do my workout either with him in the bob or in his pnp by the treadmill. I’ve already invested in a double bob and any day that its warm ill do what I do now and take them with.

    Thanks for this post. 🙂

    • Kristen

      Sounds like a great schedule. I know the times I am off, I take MacKenna to the gym to get a workout in. Our basement isn’t quite ready for a little one to be running around next to our treadmill.

  • Jen

    You are an awesome mom. On days I run, I always feel like a calmer, more focused parent so I know spending that time away from Wyatt is best for everyone.

    I have NO idea how you function so well on so little sleep! I would not be able to do it. Yay for summer break coming up!
    Jen recently posted..Taking it slow

    • Kristen

      Coffee! Ha! Actually, working out in the morning has been great for giving me energy lately!

  • Erika

    I am a working mom. Before having our son I use to workout in the a.m. and p.m. but now I just workout in the morning. I have to be to work by 7 and have to drop him off at daycare so I get up at 4:00 to workout. Sleeping in would feel good at the time but I know if I don’t workout I’ll feel even worse and be in a bad mood. Once it gets warmer out too we’ll start going for walks together after work. I’m happy with our routine right now but since we are trying for a 2nd child I know things will change and I’m a little nervous about how it will change and having to adjust all over again.

    • Kristen

      I know having a 2nd child will throw a wrench in my schedule – I think that’s why I want to wait a little longer before we start trying again. I’m glad I’m not the only one waking up at 4 AM to workout!

  • Mom

    You are a wonderful mother, and I’m proud of you for taking care of yourself and taking time to do what you love. Don’t feel guilty! You are setting such a good example for Kenna. The pictures of her are sooooo cute!

    • Kristen

      Thanks Mama!

  • Julia

    Thanks so much for sharing how you fit everything in, and how you have to be flexible sometimes with workouts. You don’t need to hear me say this, but you should definitely pat yourself on the back for making such a wonderful effort at finding a balance that works for you. I agree, it would be ideal to stay home in many ways, but at the same time you are being a great female role model to her about how you can work and take care of your family and yourself. that woman who won’t work out until her kid is in kindergarden! wow!

    p.s. i found this through your fbook page as I still can’t load your site, but I never tried deleting my cashe as you had suggested in an email a week or so ago.

    • Kristen

      Julia, check to see if my blog is working for you now. I FINALLY figured out what was causing the problem and it should be working correctly now! Thank you for continuing to read, even though I know it’s been a pain in the rear for you!

  • Jess

    What kind of jogging stroller do you use? I’m in the market for one and can’t decide!
    Thanks!