We’re always amazed at how many of you are able to make time for running and working out all while chasing after your kids. So with our own Julie Marsh completing her first marathon (go Julie!) and aiming to finish a slew of triathlons this year, and our Editor Kristen setting her sights on completing the Philadelphia Marathon this fall (go Kristen!), we thought it would be the perfect time to kick off our Cool Mom Fit series.
Each week, we’ll introduce you to some of the coolest fitness goodies and gear (like those awesome New Balance shoes that Kristen loves), whether you’re just hoping to get in better shape, run a 5K, or finish a marathon.
Today we’re thrilled to give you expert tips from moms, runners, and authors Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen-Shea. Their books and Another Mother Runner blog have been a source of inspiration for so many cool moms–and now, hopefully, you!
So many moms have so little time to spare, why should they make time for running?
No matter how many demands a mother has on her, she deserves to put herself first on her to-do list, even if it’s only for a 20-minute run-walk three times a week.
We’ve found that if grocery shopping, laundry folding, Power Point formatting, dinner making, piano lesson driving can all be put on hold for the time it takes to run, that you’ll come back a more patient parent, a more productive employee, a more loving spouse, and a happier woman. (Sensing a theme?)
What are some of your favorite fitness resources for moms?
We love the book Hot, Sweaty Mamas, which gives a realistic but encouraging look at getting in shape as a mama. We also really like websites Fit Sugar and Bliss Tree; they both give useful, informative tips without overthinking or judging where you’re coming from.
What are your top 3 must-have running essentials?
A well-fitting, non-chafing sports bra (we dig Champion sports bras); some tunes to help you through the rough spots; and a running stroller if your rugrats are young enough to tote along, like the Mountain Buggy Terrain.
What’s the best, most rewarding part of running for you?
SBS: The sense of accomplishment I get after a run or race. I ran the Boston Marathon a month ago, and I’m still glowing with pride.
Dimity: I feel like running gives me this invisible badge of badass-ness that I wear on my chest all day long after a run. (In fact we call ourselves Badass Mother Runners on our Facebook page.) It helps me get through all the times–crying kids, frustrating deadlines, a husband who isn’t reading my mind when I need him to–when I’m feeling decidedly not badass at all.
What’s the best tip you can offer women who might not want to run but just want to get moving somehow?
Join a group or class that is interesting to you. If you’ve always wanted to play tennis, have at it: find a beginner class and grab your racket. If you have to drag yourself to get on the elliptical four times a week, guess what? You’ll find lots of excuses not to go. While working out solo is sometimes necessary–we’re fierce advocates of new, motivating playlists when that happens to you–we really think that finding a group or class is key.
We often find it’s the community–the women you meet at yoga, Zumba, boot camp–provide the spark of motivation to get to a class or the workout. Once you’re there, you catch up with them, and sweat and move and laugh, and feel so much better about yourself and the world.
I exercise because I want to stay healthy and look good and it is “me” time!
I run (well, walk sometimes) because I know I need to be healthy for myself and for my kids!
I run early every morning because it is my time to take care of myself .. I am a better Mom/wife/friend/worker the rest of the day because of that run!
I need to start running to get healthy for my girls. Putting it off is not the best option! 🙂
I run to stay healthy, keep off the weight, to set a good example for my children and to deal with the everyday chaos. Its time to myself.
I exercise so that my daughters (ages 3 and 11 months) know it’s okay to make your health a priority. I exercise to honor my father, who suffers from alzhiemer’s disease, type II diabetes, and heart disease, and my mom, who takes care of him. I exercise so I can be a better wife. I exercise for me.
I run because I want to model a healthy lifestyle for my children.
I want to start to run now that I have a son who is old enough to sit in the beautiful jogging stroller I bought pre-pregnancy. Everything fits different now and I need new gear, a little motivation and that spare 20 minutes you keep talking about!
Thanks for today’s email 🙂
I need to start! I am turning 40 on June 11 and feel like I have zero energy to move. I can blame working full time, and driving my teenage daughters around everywhere, but really – I need to just take time for myself.
My biggest concern is hurting myself. Years of running errands, running kids and running a household does not count as regular exercise!
I run because it is 30 minutes (or hopefully more) where I can take some time for me… to clear my head, to create a to-do list for later, to struggle with a tough issue and to flatten that stomach just a little! It is a completely selfish exercise – and, while I never thought I would say this a few years ago when I started – something that I look forward to at every opportunity. Thanks for inspiring!
I’d love to start to run to burn off all the fat from 2 pregnancies in three years.
I run for sanity…to spend a bit of time completely alone…and to try to stay healthy.
I started running (very gradually) to lose weight. After losing 60 pounds in one year, two years ago, I stuck with it. I feel so much better now, and I’m able to accomplish more in my everyday life.
Just recently started running, I started because I wanted to loose weight and found the couch to 5K app. I’m on week 6 and so far I’m hanging in.
I run, bike, and train to make myself feel better and healthier, both mentally and physically. A week without exercise finds me much more run down. I even think 30 minutes of exercise does more for me than an hour of sleep, which is why I get up at 5:30 am to work out before the family is up.
Running provides me with energy, motivation to be a better person and feel good each and everyday.
I started distance running 4 years ago after my daughter was diagnosed with a kidney disease for which there is no cause or cure. I ran to think, to relieve stress, and to stay sane. Seems to be working…haven’t been locked up yet! 😉
I run early in the morning because it is time for me. I am able to recharge and am better for it!
I run because it’s in my blood. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. I stopped running when I had my kids. I started up again last year and ran my first half marathon… then stopped for several months. Late last fall I decided I’m running that half again and I am going to finish faster, and I did by 7 minutes. Now I am determined to keep going. I have this strong need to improve because I know I can go faster…. longer… and rid of the ‘ole “baby fat” doesn’t hurt either. I run because I can. =)
I run to keep in shape, to help me sleep, and for the meditative frame of mind it leaves me in.
I run/walk so I can listen to podcasts. I have never been a runner, ever. I have hated running since I was forced to do the mile run in elementary school. But running is cheap and easy exercise – no gym necessary. So I run. Or walk when running sucks too much (which is often!) I listen to podcasts to keep my mind from constantly recalculating how much further I have to go. Most of the podcasters I listen to are much more motivated to podcast than I am to run, so when the podcasts pile up I know I’ve been slacking and it forces me to get out and do something!
I exercise for my emotional and physical well-being, which, in turn, is the well-being of my family.
I run because the thrill my two kids (1 & 4) get from watching mommy and/or daddy finish a race is the best reward and I know I’m setting a good example for them. Exercise and being outside is fun, not a chore!
I’ve been running off and on since December. I have so much more energy in the morning than when I drink a gallon of coffee!
I started running 10 years ago to lose weight. I’ve kept at it for the mental health benefits. Some days I literally drag myself out there, but after not running for the majority of my pregnancy and missing it so much, I no longer make excuses.
I started running with Team Challenge for the Crohns Colitis Foundation of America. I raise money, help other new runners fundraise and train. I’ve raised over $3200 myself over the past few years and have run 9 half marathons.
People ask why I do it and after 20+ years of being sick, I tell them I run because I can!
I run for sanity and maintenance!
I try to run and/or hit the gym every other evening. I love having the time all by myself and being able to zone out to music and podcasts after the craziness of every day. To top it off, I feel a lot better about myself and my body if I’m zoning out while running instead of zoning out in front of the TV. 🙂
I exercise so I don’t need to buy new clothes and to be a good role model for my girls!
I run to stay healthy and to be an example to my daughter!
I run to be healthy and to set a good example for my daughters. I also want to beat my husband in a race
I used to run before I had my son (now 2) and hope to get back to it soon!
Oh man – great giveaway and great timing!
I am almost 6 weeks PP from having my second son via C-section on April 24th! Prior to getting pregnant, I was in the process of losing the pesky excess pounds, but at 18lbs lost, found out I was expecting! Put the diet on hold and now I am hoping to get the go ahead to start exercising next week. I am hoping that a running/walking regime will be just what the dr. ordered to get this mama back in shape!
I run for me! Running gives me balance and provides a very necessary outlet for stress reduction.
I run because it makes my heart, legs, & spirit stronger!
I currently get very little exercise and really need to get out there. I would like to be around as long as possible. Thanks for the giveaway.
I run b/c it’s something I can do without a bunch of equipment. It’s cathartic and I can challenge myself even after I’ve already started a run for that day–maybe I think I’m only going to go to a certain spot and I challenge myself to keep going for a couple more blocks.
I run to be able to keep up with my three-year-old and eight-month-old boys!
Running reminds me to BREATHE. And I love that my family supports me when I exercising…they know that it’s important for my physical and mental health!
I just started running. I am trying to be a good role model for kids (1 and 4) plus it helps with my fibromyalgia pain that I was diagnosed with after my youngest child was born.
I exercise because I can still remember when I couldn’t. Now, running is my happy, quiet, sanity time 🙂
I run for so many reasons…to prove something to myself, to feel good, to show my daughter what fit looks like, to lose weight.
for my sanity!!
I am trying to get fit and model a healthy lifestyle for my kids.
I work out to keep what little sanity my family has left me.
I joined a fitness challenge in April of 2011 and have stuck with it. The all women’s gym I belong to is great and really if it weren’t for that community of women I wouldn’t work out nearly as much.
I started running so I could get back into shape after having my appendix removed. Who knew that such a small organ could cause so much trouble?
I run for a lot of reasons. For stress relief. To have some “me” time. To be healthy. To be an example to my daughters. To teach them that sometimes things are hard, but we power through because we’re women. To teach them that sometimes the hard work IS the reward.
I need to start exercising more to stay young and keep up with my 2 teenagers, grade schooler and preschooler. This would be perfect motivation to get out there and get active!
I need to start exercising more to stay young and keep up with my 2 teenagers, grade schooler and preschooler. This would be perfect motivation to get out there and get active!
This spring I had to decide if I was going to have a midlife crisis. I decided to start running instead. So far, so good. 😉
I run to keep my sanity and a perk is definitely getting in shape. I also love being a positive role model for my daughter!
I exercise to feel great about life. It makes me a better person, mom, wife, sister, and friend. Exercise allows me to eat well, stay healthy, and get outside.
I began running 18 months ago. In December 2010, my BFF and sole sister and I signed a “contract” on the back of a Cherry Cricket (an iconic Denver eatery) specials menu, committing to run a half marathon in 2011. Every Saturday morning, we laced up and ran our long runs together. I ran my first ever 5k in February, and completed the Colfax (Denver) half-marathon in May. The Bolder Boulder followed a couple weeks later, which was the perfect distance to continue training for the Diva Half Marathon in Vail, CO in August. Then I learned I was pregnant with my first baby, and was classified as “high risk.” I had to hang up my shoes…I walked 8 of the 13.1 in Vail.
My little nugget was born on April 13, 2012 and I am desperate to hit the pavement again. I am having trouble getting out the door, but am committed to at least trying every day. I run to keep my sanity. I run to have girl time that doesn’t involve margaritas or beer, and I run for the high I get when I am finished. Oh, and I have my sights set on a full marathon for 2013!!
I run because I cherish that alone time in the morning, when I can think and breathe and it’s all about me, so that I can give myself to my kids & husband the rest of the day.
I exercise (mainly kickboxing but starting to train for a 5K) so that i can feel good and be healthier for my family
I am getting fit, lately for my kids and for my self. It is a great feeling the older I get the more important it becomes!
I run to get all the stress & restlessness out of my mind & body. Plus I’m training for the Nike Woman’s Marathon.
I have gone through spurts – I loved how I felt after finishing a sprint tri – but right now I’m at a low of very out of shape – and ready to get out of the hole. I literally am at my 0 level, so ready to get ramped up, but want to go nice & slow to not inure myself. The confidence and body image that I get when I exercise is worth doing it – just have to get started. I loved hearing the readings at the book party, and think this is a great addition to Cool Mom Picks.
I run to clear my head and so I can eat cookies 🙂
I want to keep up and play with my kids more
I run because it is my daily dose of prozac!
I have been running for 26 of my 36 years and the reaspns I do it have changed over those years. It went from wanting to keep up with my mom (a runner) to wanting to keep fitting in my clothes. Now it provides me with guaranteed “me” time! Plus I enjoy the challenge of training for an event and accomplishing the goal.
I used to be a gym rat. Worked out 5 days a week until my first baby was born. Now, well, I look ok with clothes on, but I remember how I used to feel after workouts and I miss it terribly. Would love to feel that way again. For myself, my babies, my husband and my playing (I’m a musician).
i work out in a boot camp in the early morning so i feel calmer all day long facing work, kids, house, meals etc etc etc
I run for both mental health and physical health, it helped me lose 40 lbs, and it makes me a happier person.
Signed up for first half-marathon in October. I figure if I keep signing up for races I’ll stay motivated and stay in shape.
I exercise for my sanity. I love the time alone and the sense of accomplishment I have after a particularly good run. I am much better controlling my emotions with all of those happy endorphins running through my body. A happy mom is a better mom!
My husband and I just started the ‘Couch to 5k’ Program 4 weeks ago to get on a track of being as healthy as we possibly can for our kids. After watching my mom struggle through her breast cancer diagnosis this past year, it’s helped me work through the stress of it by taking charge of my health! I feel empowered now 🙂
I don’t have a lot of time to myself. When I do my yoga DVDs, I often end up having a 14 month snuggling up to my back during downward dog and a 3 year old telling me if I’m doing it right (she is also sometimes sitting next to me trying to do the workout). Lately I’ve really been thinking of trying to start jogging. I’m scared because I’ve never gotten far with it before but I think the outside time first thing in the morning with nothing but me and wherever I’m going with tunes in my ears might help me have a little piece for myself.
For stress relief!!!
I run because it makes me feel strong.
I love to exercise because it helps burn off stress. It’s the one time of the day when I don’t have to worry about my son or finding a new job.
I run because I LOVE to eat. I’ve lost 35 pounds in the last two years running and have kept it off thanks to all of the “pavement pounding”.
This is awesome! I started running several years ago to help deal with stress. It’s so freaking hard for me to run, that I have to concentrate really hard, which makes everything else in my head go away. Now, I run because I actually enjoy it!
I exercise because it is my de-stresser and always makes me feel so good afterwards. Its a little harder now cause Im pregnant with twins – but I still get out there for a little light exercising.
I run for exercise and because it’s my alone time! : )
I run because it gives me a sense of accomplishment that wrangling kids does not. It allows me to be my best self, and to keep pushing to find my best self.It gives me truly meaningful me time, where what I am doing is all about me. And as a former “fat kid” I love the challenges that being a runner offers, and how amazing I feel when I am done.
I ran a half marathon before having my twins two years ago and am having a hard time finding the time and motivation to get back into running. I recently decided to just make myself run for only 20 minutes on my lunch hour at work a few times per week — and I find that I usually end up going for longer because it’s getting fun again!
I run in order to clear my mind all in an effort to make me a better me/mom/wife/professional!
I run (and bike and swim) because I like to feel strong. I also used to be morbidly obese and extremely unfit. Now I have 4 kids and I want to be fit to set a good example and to be around for them.
I just started running to run away from my kids 🙂 No really, it is the one way I can get 45 minutes of completely alone time a few times a week!
I run because it gives me more energy for the day to chase my little girls around and helps relieve stress.
I run to feel strong and set a good example for my kids.
I run for me AND my four kids. I love that my kids have always seen how important exercise is to me and I’ve always involved them in my running. I’ve run throughout my pregnancies, I’ve run with my kids in strollers (my husband and I have TWO double strollers!) and now I’ve started to run while my older kids bike along with me. Running has been a part of my life for 20 years, and I love that I am passing my love for exercise down to my kids.
I am running to train for a half-marathon in October, and also finding awesome benefits like clearing my head, relieving stress, and sleeping better!
Help! I really need to start exercising. I’m 40-1/2. I have two minor kids, ages 5 & 6 and a 22 year-old. The difference in raising my kids during different decades of my life has now convinced me that I must start exercising like yesterday. Although I am slim and an walk everywhere, I’m realizing I really must take better care of my health and set a better example for my kids and get the exercising time in. Some gear would help!
I run so I can keep the rest of my life, uh, running. If I get out at sunrise I find I can shower, make lunches, get the kids out the door on time, and accomplish all I need to that day. When I sleep in, I’m tired all day, really grouchy, and late for everything. I love that you have teamed up together- I’ve always been a big fan of Cool Mom Picks and Another Mother Runner!
I run because it makes me a better mommy. I am able to focus on my kiddos and accomplish so much more after a great run.
Running is the only time my mind is fully free to think and reflect, it’s as much mental as it is physical. Something I never get from gym workouts.
I run because… What else would I do?!
I exercise for my health, so I’ll be around for my kids for a very long time!
I run for health and to set an example for my kids.
Why I run/exercise?
7 years ago I looked in the mirror and did not like what I saw! Also I don’t want to end up like my parents! They are just 70 years old and live in a nursing home, please not me.
I have lost 40 pounds and kept it off, I run 3 days a week and crosstrain with weights and water aerobics, which I teach!
I started a couch to 5k program and it feels great. The exercise and me time make me a better mother.
I run for so many reasons: my sanity, to maintain my weight, for “me” time. But mostly, I run because I can. My dad died of a heart attack at age 43 and I am determined to take care of myself. Running has given me confidence, as better body and lots of friends. See, lots of reasons! A better question might be: Why doesn’t everyone run?!
Running makes me the best version of me!
I exercise because I’m 5 months pregnant and want to be in as good as shape as I can for the heavy duty birthing! Excited and nervous, so want to be prepared as I can be.
I want to become a runner because I am secretly jealous of runners. And I feel like it would be a crowning accomplish to finish a race. And you don’t need any fancy equipment. Just shoes. And a great bra.
I am getting fit to feel better about myself, and set an example to any foster children I have, while feeling healthier each day!
I run because I can. It’s a privilege that not everyone has and that some people would sacrifice a lot to enjoy.
I also run because I know that I am creating a healthy atmosphere for my little girl by being a mover and a shaker.
Finally, I run because I do not want to shake when I move!
I started running again about a year ago because my friend literally pulled me out of my house saying “we NEED to do this!” I had spent months on bedrest with twins, another year dealing with everything that goes along with preemies, and roughly 7 years prego and/or nursing AND not running… “if not now then when?” became our motto!
Soooo.. in short I run for my 5 kids, for my friend who knows me well, and now for a BQ. Yes, my new goal is a solid BQ! Amazing what a single year of running can do.
I run because I want to feel like myself – a woman who is a runner, not just a mother or a wife.
to lose weight and to relieve stress
I am 45 and have never been in better shape or felt better about myself. Working out is one of the few things I do for myself.
i want to be more active and look sexy
I don’t know what I’d do without my morning run! Clears my head, relieves stress, lets me think… and next to no equip required!
I run to keep myself on the *right* side of sane, to get back to a healthy weight, and to be a positive role model to my daughters.
I started running right after my 45th birthday and felt it was time for me – all these years its been about my children and my family. I was at Disney when they had their Food and Wine and saw all these runners in all shapes and sizes and I decided as I waited on line to check in that I could do it – and I am doing it!!! Haven’t decided when to do my first half – but I will do one by February 🙂
I’m starting to making exercise a priority because I know it’s imperative for my future health to stay active. And also because I want to be a more patient mom and loving wife!
Prior to getting pregnant, I was super-active: 5ks, half marathons, 100+ mile bike rides, the works. I was up every morning to hit the gym by 5:45 am for either a spin class or a workout session. Of course, soon after I got pregnant, I was hit with the extreme tiredness of the first trimester. That tiredness morphed into laziness and a whole host of excuses. I gained approximately 45 lbs. during my pregnancy and have about 30 or so that I’d like to lose. So I want to get back into running or biking or just generally moving to get back to me. My DD is about 5 months old right now, and if she’s anything like me or DH, she’ll be running around… and we’ll need the energy to keep up!
As I approach 40, I’m realizing that my metabolism isn’t what it once was. I have to start watching what I eat for the first time in my life, and exercise regularly for my health and to keep my migraines at bay.
I love taking “bike-runs” with my 6 year old son. He rides, I try to keep up, great fun and excercize for both of us.
I’ve always made time for the gym before the kids and even though I have 2 now, I always try to make time for it. It helps keep me sane and it’s always good to have some “me” time.
After welcoming my second son, I started exercising in my home, using my body as resistance. I plan to join a gym once we move into our first home in July, but plan to continue my at-home workouts until then. I exercise to maintain my 60-pound weight loss (over the past year), to show my daughter that “strong is the new skinny” and to keep myself healthy.
I don’t see my original comment here, so I’m trying this one again. I run to stay in shape and because it makes me feel good about myself after the fact. Whenever I start feeling moody a good work out normally does the trick.
I run because I want to teach my children the importance of staying fit & healthy. Plus, it gives me a “time-out” everyday – something every mom needs! 🙂
After I lost my job, I started to gain weight and feel depressed. Running allowed me to clear my head and feel better about myself! I was able to take better care of my family, which made me feel even better.
I NEED to get back to running – so I sleep better, work better, parent better and just plain feel better. This is my goal for this summer – squeeze our schedule just enough for Mom to get back to her old self!
I run because I never thought I could. I never though I could be a runner until that whole 30 Day Shred thing we had going on a few years ago. Then I realized that when I’m treating my asthma, I love to run. I love the power. I love that even though I am slow as hell, I feel powerful. I can’t wait to be doing it again.
I run regularly, usual 6-8 miles each run. Running makes both my mind and my body feel stronger and more at peace, and it’s my quiet time after a long day with the kids!
I need to start exercising – I recently lost 35 pounds by dieting…now I need to find (ok, make) time to exercise to tone up!
I just started up again running and going to the gym everyday. I feel great but my husband asked why I was doing it and I said I was doing it for me. He seemed surprised since I never do anything for myself. I say, it’s about damn time.
I’m really needing some help getting started. I can get going for a few days then I end up off track again. I need to balance my work, family and exercise time much better!
I am getting fit for my two small children. I want to be a healthy role model for them. I also have the Disney Cruise we booked for next year as extra motivation.
I run because I know so many people think I can’t. I love the feeling of doing something AND the fantastic energy rush that comes when I’ve finished. I’m not the fastest but I’m getting fitter every day.
I just had my second child 2 weeks ago and I really want to get back into running and completing a triathlon. I had hypertension during both of my pregnancies (my sons are 13.5 months apart) and was on bedrest at the end of both. Before my first pregnancy I ran a half marathon and loved the strength both mentally and physically that it gave me. I want to have that again, and I know that running will help me combat the post-partum depression that I am prone to get.
I needed to loose weight. So I’m doing a triathlon. Obviously, half-measures are not my forte.
I run 3 to 4 days a week, so I can be strong and live a long healthy life. I want to be a strong and active woman at 100.
I run mostly for sanity, some to keep fit, and sometimes just to get my kids to nap in the jogger. It’s also great motivation for getting outside when I’d probably otherwise stay buried in errands and housework: “oh wait, I need to fit that run in.”