By Having a lot of HelpAn elite athlete's schedule—morning runs and strength workouts, afternoon naps, followed by a second run in the early evening—has its perks. Goucher naps with Colt, Radcliffe spends time with her children in the afternoon and Kastor anticipates returning home to Piper after her morning training runs.
But like any working mother, help is key. "It's vital to have a really good support team," says Radcliffe. "In the past, we relied a lot on grannies, and this year we've taken on a nanny." Radcliffe's husband, Gary Lough, works as her manager and trainer, which gives him the flexibility to stay with the kids while Paula naps and gets in her second run.
A sitter watches Colt while the Gouchers' train. (Kara's husband is a professional runner, too). The couple also makes deals. "We've worked it out where my running comes first, but I'll pick up slack in other areas," Kara says. For example, recently both wanted to sneak in a second run, but there was time for only parent to go. Kara ran, but when she got home, she made dinner and had Colt the rest of the night so Adam could have some downtime.
By Knowing That Both Sides Can Win the Working Mother's Tug-O-WarFor professional marathoners, going for a run isn't just "me time," it's their job. But like moms worldwide, pulling away for work can be tough. "The hardest time for me was when Isla was old enough to understand that I was going out the door, but not old enough to understand that I was coming back. She'd cry, 'Mama, mama!'" says Radcliffe. But eventually both mom and daughter learned that the separation was temporary and normal. Radcliffe explains, "Now Isla says, 'Okay, Mama, have a nice run.'"
The work-run balance was particu?larly challenging for Goucher at first. She felt guilty for wanting to run, but when running, she worried about what she was missing in Colt's life. "The sitter told me, 'He's starting to clap,' and I'm like, 'What? How could I have missed that?'" Goucher explains. But she now realizes that running and motherhood complement each other. "When I train, I'm hap?pier around him, and when I'm with him, he reminds me that it's just running."
Spending Focused Time With the Children HelpsGoucher dedicates her mornings to the baby. "I feed him, play with him, get him dressed and we have a good 45 minutes that's just me and Colt," she says. "I go to my workout feeling better because I've had that time with him." Radcliffe, too, finds pockets during the day to devote completely to her children, and she tries to keep her roles as mom and athlete separate. "When I'm at home, I'm 'Mum.' When I'm running, I'm 100-percent focused on training," she says.
Except When Training Can Be Family TimeAt Radcliffe's house, core work is playtime. "I do my floor exercises with both of them. Raf just kind of lies there rolling over at the moment," she says. "When I do planks, Isla sticks her bum up in the air. She also thinks it's funny to climb on top of me."
One of Kastor's teammates, Josh Cox, recently welcomed a baby, too, so Kastor is plotting group training outings: "Our spouses have been great about driving along while we run, so it'll be fun to have the babies in their car seats and be able to share the beautiful surroundings with them."