Tag Archives: me time

7 reasons running is the perfect me-time for parents

*Originally featured on The Running Bug*

If you’re a parent to small children, you don’t need to be told caring for them is damn hard work. In fact, what with keeping them happy (OK, happy-ish – no one expects a threenager to get through the day meltdown-free) on top of actually keeping them alive, it can feel like a 24/7 job.

However, if you can manage to carve out just a little me-time each week, it will be good for your soul – and your sanity. Here’s why it’s a great idea to spend that time running…


1. The silence

Aah, silence. Remember that? Probably not, actually, as once you have children you spend the majority of your days negotiating crying newborns, screaming toddlers, little people banging things, breaking things or hitting things (or each other), all while listening to a high-pitched voice demanding “Look at me Mummy! Look, look, LOOK MUMMY, LOOK NOW MUMMY!” Peaceful it is not.

But never fear – you can get back to The Quiet. When you get the chance, slip on your trainers and find your nearest woodland trail, park or peaceful running route. This will give you the headspace you need to focus, leaving you calmer and more able to face the music (AKA a toddler banging a metal tin with a spoon while belting out a dubious rendition ofTwinkle Twinkle Little Star) on your return.

2. You get to lead by example

The World Health Organisation deems childhood obesity as a serious global health challenge, and recent statistics suggest 19.1 per cent of 10 to 11-year-olds in England are obese. What’s more, the fact that more and more children spend their time indoors in front of screens rather than outside playing is damaging their mental health.

But as a parent who runs, you are already helping to change this worrying trend. After all, what’s better than leading by example? If you’re outdoorsy and lead an active lifestyle, it’s only natural your kids will follow suit. So, let them see you sweaty and happy after a run – and then feel the glow of parental pride as they beg you to sign them up for the kids’ dash at your next event.

3. It’s baggage free

When you get the chance to run, you also get to leave your responsibilities at the front door. No demands for Peppa sodding Pig on repeat. No tantrums about a broken rice cake to soothe away. No-one clinging to your leg (hopefully).

Once you are outside, it’s all about you, the open road and what you would like to achieve for yourself – whether it’s your first 20-minute walk/run or a 40-minute threshold session. Even if it doesn’t go quite to plan, a bad run is better than no run. This is your time. Enjoy it.

4. It’s ideal stress relief

Running is one of the best forms of stress relief there is. It helps with focus, clarity and purpose, and what’s more, it kick-starts your body into producing mood-boosting endorphins. Whatever the kids are throwing at you (yes, even mushed-up Weetabix), we guarantee you’ll be able to handle it if regular running is on your agenda.

Better yet, as long as you have the childcare in place, you can run first thing in the morning if you so wish. (Because let’s be honest, while the kids might drive us to it, it’s not really socially acceptable to crack open the gin at 7am.)

5. You’ll be fit for parenthood (literally)

Being a parent is a physically demanding role (and we’re not just talking about the very physically demanding role of pushing an actual person out of your nether regions here). Bringing up children entails a rather enormous amount of rocking, carrying, playing, chasing, cleaning and lifting.

If you decide to turn your me-time into run time, you’ll be one step ahead of the game, because being physically fit is a huge advantage when it comes to raising children. And if you’re able to join in their games, you’ll be making life more fun for them, too.

6. It’s convenient

Let’s be honest, time is precious these days. If you’re a runner, there’s no time lost driving to a gym/pool/fitness class. If you’re lucky to get even 20 minutes to yourself a few times a week, using those minutes to run is the best way to guarantee you make the most of every single second.

7. It’s free

Wow, who knew kids could be so expensive? From nursery furniture and a travel system (yes, that’s really a thing), to clothes, shoes, school wear and simply the rather obscene amount of plastic crap they accumulate (I last saw my living room floor in 2013), having a child equals waving goodbye to your disposable cash. Good job your chosen me-time is cheap, then. No expensive spa days or therapy sessions – heading out of the front door in your running shoes is your therapy. Enjoy!

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*Originally featured on The Running Bug*


All by myself

Last weekend, my husband suggested he take the kids for a walk in the same woods where I was heading for a run, so they could see me.


Don’t get me wrong, I adore spending time with my children. But I’ve got to be honest, I think they see quite enough of me as it is. In fact, I figured out the last time I’d had ten minutes completely to myself had been 61 hours ago.

My children are with me from the moment I wake up. The baby watches me from the comfort of her bouncy chair while I shower; the toddler ‘reads’ stories to me while I get dressed; I have constant company throughout the day as I attempt to feed, clean, entertain, cuddle, console and rescue (the baby recently got stuck under the play kitchen after one roll too many) my little people. My youngest falls asleep in my arms every evening and then, when I’m just about ready for a little space at night, she often ends up snoring beside me in bed, too (apparently, being gently lowered into a warm, cosy cot is akin to being dropped into a cold, damp cave: not pleasant).

And I’m not complaining about any of this. All I ask is that, a few times a week, I get to be alone. All. By. Myself. Just me and an empty trail to run along, with maybe the odd dog walker to nod hello to (I don’t mind seeing a dog walker during my alone time, because while they may interrupt my solitude, they are not reliant on me and are unlikely to require me to provide sustenance/sing a nursery rhyme/wipe their bum as I pass them by).


An empty trail = heaven

The need for a little ‘me’ time is just one reason why I’d like my running to remain family-free. There is also the practical aspect.

I’m just not sure how easily I’d get into my stride with a little voice shouting, “Mummy, look at me! Look at me Mummy! Look! Look Mummy!” every three seconds.

Then there’s the baby.

I’m pretty sure she chooses the most inconvenient moments to glance my way and think, “Lunch” (I recently had to whip a boob out in church while attending a christening. It’s all very subtle, but still…). So, in the middle of a run? Yes, this would be pretty inconvenient. I’m not sure if you’ve tried to get out of a Shock Absorber Run bra recently? If not, the design is a Godsend to female runners the world over, but it’s not exactly easy access when it comes to feeding a baby. (Obviously. I mean, this is not what it’s designed to do.) I swear, if Houdini had been set the task of getting out of one of these bad boys, he’d have spent so long grappling with the various clasps he’d have died suspended upside down in that tank of water.

So, with all the above taken into consideration, my inner voice screamed, ‘Nooooooo!’ at my husband’s suggestion.

But I hate hurting people’s feelings. So instead I said:

‘Great idea! Let’s go!’

I am such a tit sometimes.

Anyway, one baby, one child, one buggy, one scooter, one spare nappy, one pack of wipes, one portable potty, two changes of clothes and one pot of snacks later, off we went.

I ran on ahead, to shouts of “Mummy? Where you going Mummy? I’ll run too Mummy!” Oh bless him.

I didn’t look back.

And you know what? It was fine. I pretty much managed to complete my intended interval session before I heard shouts through the trees of, “Mummy! Where are you?” (This was inevitable. I run through a small patch of woodland that’s about a 4K loop. It’s not exactly the New Forest: they were always going to see me).

I ignored that little voice for a few minutes, although it was getting ominously louder.

And then I saw them. My little family. And rather unexpectedly, despite the fact they had muscled in on my alone time, my heart soared with joy at the sight of them. And when my little boy yelled excitedly, “Keep running Mummy!” I nearly cried. He looked so proud of me.

Unfortunately, at this particular moment, they were stood at the top of a bloody great big hill and I was at the bottom.

“Keep running Mummy!”

How do you explain to your excitable son that, actually, you’ve just finished a 6 x 5-minute tempo session, and you’re actually pretty knackered and have earned the right to stop?

Answer: you don’t.

So I kept running. I kept running back to him.

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