Busy Mom's Guide to Becoming a Runner

If you're like most busy moms, the years since your glory days as a high school athlete have probably passed in a blur of strollers, play dates and carpool duties. 

With your crazy schedule, it's easy to let a little thing, like exercise, slip through the cracks. Participating in regular physical activities, like running, can yield some major rewards for both you and your kids.

More: Mom Muscle-Sculpting Workout

How Running Can Help the Whole Family

Certified running coach and mother of three girls, Kelly Collins, understands the struggles that mothers face when trying to squeeze exercise into an otherwise busy day.

"Sometimes it's hard to get out of our comfort zones and do something for ourselves like running. When it comes to our kids, though, we're all over [doing things that benefit them]!"

A mother who takes time away from her kids to run isn't selfish, Collins asserts. Not only will she reap the physical benefits of running, but she can also have a positive impact on how her kids view exercise and healthy living.

"Childhood obesity is an epidemic in our country," Collins says. "It's horrible. Moms are who the kids are looking at," she points out. "The children will get so much [by watching their mother run] because they will follow the mom's lead. It's a terrific example of fitness and healthy living for the children."

More: Answers to Your Newbie Runners FAQ's

Too Tired to Run?

Collins knows that it can be tough to find the energy to get out there and run, but she asserts that running will actually increase energy levels, which will help moms cope with busy schedules.

"When [moms] get into shape, that gives them enough energy to keep following the kids around to their nine million activities," she jokes.

Collins' advice to moms who have decided to give running a try: "Start slow," she recommends. "Go out and get some actual running shoes and, most importantly, pay attention to what your body is telling you."

Put Running on the Calendar

For those who are having trouble finding the motivation, Collins suggests coming up with a goal.
 
"You can just say, 'I want to get in better shape,'" she says, "but that's such a broad, general statement. You can't really measure that."

According to Collins, a better goal for new runners would be to sign up for a 5K that is 3 to 5 months in the future. 

"It's not just about racing," Collins says. "It's about having a goal. It's something to work towards. Also, if you put some money on the line, it's a little bit harder to say, 'I'm not gonna run today,'" she quips.

To add a little excitement to the traditional 5K experience, Collins suggests signing up for a Color Run. Participants of these unique 5Ks don white T-shirts at the start of the race, and are doused with a different 100 percent natural color for each kilometer completed. 

As rainbow-colored finishers cross the line, they are met with a celebration of food and festivities. With events all over the country, the Color Run claims to be "focused less on speed and more on crazy color fun with friends and family."

"The Color Run is perfect for beginners," Collins says. "There's no time limit, so there's no pressure. They're just about having a good time."

More: At-Home Workouts for New Moms

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About the Author

Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke is an online video editor for Active.com. His favorite part of the job is covering inspiring races and athletes who push themselves to be the best they can be.

Michael Clarke is an online video editor for Active.com. His favorite part of the job is covering inspiring races and athletes who push themselves to be the best they can be.

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