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!

Another Mother Runner

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.

Champion sports bra

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.

Train Like a Mother