5 Tips on Running When You Have Children

“How do you do find time to train for races?”


My husband and I are training for a half marathon and this question has been asked of us so frequently over the years that I thought I’d give you a few pointers today. Not that I’m a pro, by any means, but the logistics of having a busy household and committing to staying fit can be a bit tricky.

1. Agree to support each other.

Whenever and whatever it takes.  If your spouse is not running, be sure he/she is on board with your decision.  Not just on board, but cheering you on! 🙂

2. Accept childcare assistance.

For me, when I can run without my children, it’s a treat. I’m blessed to have a college age daughter who, when she is at home, will stay in the afternoons while the two youngest nap and the other children are in school.  Maybe you can exchange running times with a neighbor?  When my husband and I both need to run in the evenings, we exchange running time and “holding the fort” time.

3. Adjust as needed.

Keep the mile schedule if possible, but be willing to change your strategy for the day. Sometimes running on the treadmill while the kids play in the basement under my watchful eye is the best I can do for the day. If you know that one day of the week is going to be more flexible than another, run the longer mileage runs on the flex days. Click here to find the schedule I originally used to begin training for races.

4. Add your children!

This summer, my 10 yr. old son ran with Daddy in a 5 K while my 8 yr. old girlie ran with me. Running builds character and increases confidence in children!  My daughter placed first in her division- a very cool moment for all of us.

5. Appreciate whatever you can do.

Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t think the situation is most ideal.

Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.  Heb. 12:1

If you wait for the time to be perfect, you’ll never run.

I’d love to hear either your dilemmas OR tips for running with children.  Can you leave them in the comments?


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  1. I miss running and really struggle with “If you wait for the time to be perfect, you’ll never run.” I have a two year old and an eight month old. I love your suggestions though and hope to make some changes in schedule to make it happen. Thanks for posting!

    1. OH girl. I know it. When they are younger, it’s tough. Set smaller goals and check them off. Having a running journal or I use an ipod app to track my runs. Keeps me motivated to see the progress.

  2. Love this post. My little ones are 5 & 2, we are running a Color Run 5k next month and plan to let the 5 yr old run as far as he can before crashing in the double stroller, but I can’t wait for the day we can all run as a family. Started running in February this year, I never thought I would love it as much as I do, and I thank God every day for giving me a husband who supports me.

    1. Love hearing stories like yours! That is awesome! Every time I see a family with teens and parents running together I get excited for when my kids are able to run halfs. 😉 Blessings to you!

  3. Heather P says:

    My daughter and I have diabetes and right now we walk Monday through Friday before school right now. We walk for our health, but it also helps us to get our minds focused and deal with stress.

  4. Hi Rachel,

    I’m visiting from WWW. I saw your title and couldn’t resist. I’m a runner, hoping to train for a half-marathon in November, but my husband works crazy hours–7 days a week, getting home around 9 pm most of the time. My grandmother who usually keeps the kids for me while I run (and the oldest two are at swimming), has a bad knee and can barely get around right now. She will need surgery soon. I don’t have a mom that wants to help, and running on the treadmill makes me crazy! I also don’t have a neighbor that I can trade time with. My husband has decided to come home on Tues and Thurs early so that he can have the little ones while I take the older two to swim practice and I have that time to run alone around the lake. Also, on the weekends if he gets home around 5 or 6, my oldest and I are going to go together here at home. I do get bored on the treadmill, but I may take your advice and try to get the old thing out again, just for those weeks when nothing seems to be working right. I’ve been pretty frustrated–running and exercise is my lifeline to good physical and mental health. Blessings to you and thanks for this post. I think I was supposed to read it. What a lovely family you have, by the way!

    1. Oh how well I know that frustration. Time never seems to be on my side. Funny, I used to LOVE the treadmill when I first began running. It was like clockwork. I checked in, checked out and felt completed. And now the treadmill seems a prison; I so enjoy that freedom of pounding the pavement. I have to treat it as many other things I’m learning in life: Do not focus on the goal so much and learn to enjoy the moment. Better the treadmill than nothing, right? And some folks would LOVE to have a treadmill. 🙂 All about the perspective. Trust me when I tell you I’m preaching to myself here. 🙂 Thank you for coming by. I stopped by your lovely place and those babies of yours look awfully precious as well! 🙂

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