Motherhood is an endurance sport. Mums go without real rest days for years at a time. It can feel almost impossible to keep even the basics of sleeping and eating in some kind of order. Small children wake you at random intervals through the night. You eat half chewed left overs washed down with lukewarm forgotten cups of tea. There’s the stress of childhood illnesses and concerns for the future. Chances are you are working a paid job too while your partner is absent most of the time in one way or another for one reason or another.
No wonder Mums reach for the pills. Or the alcohol, a holiday in a glass to make up for the rest you aren’t getting.
Yeah right, you might be thinking, but when? Telling a mother she should run feels like giving a busy person another job to worry about.
Don’t worry about it, but do it. Talk to your partner, your family, your friends, anyone who can support you in this by taking the kids for just 20 minutes. Get together in solidarity with other mums. Use peer pressure and strength of numbers on your partners. (“Her partner helps her go running, and look how good she looks…) Whatever it takes to make it happen.
You can do it. Paula Radcliffe is arguable the greatest female endurance runner of all time, and a mum. In 2008 Radcliffe had a treadmill set-up in the bedroom of her 16-month-old daughter. I have heard of mums running up and down the street within range of the baby monitor in their pocket. Just like everybody else, if you want to run, you can find a way.
Consider getting a running type pram if you can. Run round the field while the kids engage in sports, stretch and play while supervising on playgrounds. You will feel better for every bit of exercise you can squeeze in.
Make running mothers’ drug of choice and get addicted. If you are lucky enough to be able to take it further, do. The true grit and tolerance for pain mothers develop translates rather well to competition.