6 Steps to Make Exercise a Routine for the Busy Mom

Routines make the things happen that you don’t always feel like doing.  For me, a huge one is exercise. Running comes pretty naturally to me and something I have been doing for over ten years; however, the reality of being a busy mom, often is still a huge barrier for me.  While I definitely do not always feel like it, I still manage to exercise 6 days a week. This simply would not happen if I did not have a consistent routine. The miles and burpees are literally scheduled into my week. That might sound excessive, but here’s the truth: if I don’t pencil in my workouts like they are important work meetings, they simply WILL NOT HAPPEN!  Same with you?

I am coming from the perspective of someone who loves to run and loves staying active and healthy, so I can only imagine the real obstacle to actually get out there and workout when it might not come as naturally to you. This is just more of a reason that you need to make exercise into a weekly routine! 

Routines Make It Happen!

 As I have said a ton on here before, routines help us actually do the things that are good for us even when we do not FEEL LIKE IT. If I am being honest, there are very few days where I truly feel like pushing myself and running a hard workout. Even when the feeling or desire is not there, I still get it done because I know that I run hard every Wednesday morning. It is just what I do.

I have a LOT of thoughts when it comes to exercise routines for the busy mom.  Before I even really get started, I want to clearly acknowledge that I absolutely understand that some mamas have greater barriers to fitting in workouts based on either being a single mama, having no family nearby, dealing with a tight budget, and/or having multiple little ones still at home to care for.  With that said, I still firmly believe that 6 days of movement, even for the busy mom with limited help and resources, is not only possible, but absolutely necessary.  

Before you start listing out the excuses about why there is no possible way you can exercise 6 days a week.  I want you to stop. The excuses are likely valid, but if you truly are priortizing your health, you can and will make time for scheduling working out as a daily routine.  

6 Steps to Creating Your Own Exercise Routine

Below are some step-by-step suggestions to help you get on the track of incorporating movement into your daily routine.  Notice how I am saying MOVEMENT. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves with that word “exercise” or “workout.” There is this underlying pressure that if we do not have a solid hour to workout, then forget it.  This way of thinking needs to stop. You have 10 minutes in your day. I don’t care how busy your days are. There are 10 minutes you can spare for intentional movement.  

I will send you this 4-paged printable that I created that will help you target the times in your schedule that are open + guide you as you set goals and actually schedule the exercise into your week. I have made this PDF editable so if you choose to keep it on your computer, you can easily edit the boxes! To get this sent straight to your inbox, just enter you email below. If you are already a subscriber, you will getting this lovely PDF in my Tuesday newsletter.

 



 

 

1. Examine Your Weeks + Identify Open Windows

Take the time to list out all your time obligations and responsibilities during the week.  Write it out as a schedule with time blocks. Once you have everything written out, identify the windows that are open.  It might be very small windows, but even if it is 10-minute windows, highlight these.

2. Set Clear Weekly Goals 

Be VERY specific.  Set the number of times you plan to do cardio (run, spin class, bike ride, swim, treadmill, HIIT training).  Set the number of times you plan to do strength training (core, weights, yoga, barre). For example, my typical weekly goals when I am not in full-on training mode is 4 runs per week + 2 classes (focused on legs, arms, and core).  

3. Schedule It

Now that you have your goals, schedule the exact time + type of movement you will be doing on each day.  Similar to my meal planning tips, I suggest that you do similar types of movement on each day of the week.  For example, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays could be days you run. Tuesdays and Thursdays could be days focused on core strength. Saturdays could be either long run days (if you’re into that type of thing) or a morning class you attend to kick off the weekend on the right note.  When scheduling, try to frontload your week. Schedule the hard things early on in the week when you are more motivated. For example, Monday-Wedneday I have most of my mileage scheduled in + a run workout. Put the hard things first! 

4. Plan Ahead 

Once your weekly schedule is set, next you need to plan out the logistics.  As a busy mama, it is no longer as simple as just leaving the house for a run or the gym.  You need to figure out who is watching your kiddos. Plan ahead and ask if you can have help in the hour you plan on getting out to exercise.  If you don’t have help available to you, try to plan out with your spouse a time when they will be home. For us, this usually means waking up very early or using the evening time. 

If limited help is a major barrier, try to plan most of your daily movement time when the kids are either in school, still asleep, napping, or my personal fav (can join you).  The baby jogger is a great way to incorporate your little ones, while you get out the door and prioritize your own health. I wrote a whole post dedicated to tips on running with the jogger, which you can read here.  There are also gyms that offer childcare, so this is another great option if you can swing a gym membership!

5. Actually Do It 

This can sometimes be the hardest step.  Once you have done the extra work of planning ahead and creating plans, you must actually commit to it.  At first it might feel hard, especially if your only window of free time is in the evening, but once you make it a consistent routine, it will become easier and easier.  Tuesday and Thursday evenings are the nights I go to a core class at my local Yogaworks. It used to be hard to find motivation to drive to these classes at 6 pm after a long day chasing Hudson, but now that it is a routine, it is something I look forward to and expect.  

6. Be Flexible

Even with the routine set and things planned out, the reality is that certain days will simply not allow for your typical exercise routine to happen.  There will be days where finding an hour window will feel nearly impossible and that is okay. I am learning that on these types of days, I can still incorporate 10-minutes of intentional movement into my day and this will help me to not feel guilty for skipping out and will also boost mood and productivity. 

We often operate in this all or nothing mindset. We think if we don’t have a solid hour of time available, then we should just skip it. Not true! 10-minutes will always be better than none. Be willing to adjust and stay committed to the movement even if it will look slightly different than planned. Just getting out the door to run a couple miles and play at the park with your little one will always be a win over just choosing to skip it. 

The tabata method is another great way to get in a solid workout in a short amount of time. It is similar to HIIT training in the sense that it focuses on doing certain exercises at a high-intensity level for 20 seconds and then resting for 10 seconds. I really believe we can all do something really hard for 20 seconds. You repeat this cycle 8 times. This is just 4 minutes of work, but it will push you in ways that going out for a casual 2 mile jog will not. I really believe this type of training is key for us busy mamas. It gives a high-quality workout in a short amount of time, and if done consistently can have huge aerobic and anaerobic results!

You’ve Got This

Wherever you are, whether that be training for a marathon or just trying to walk around the block daily, remember that you’ve got this and that prioritizing intentional movement daily is an essential part of your routine.  If you do not have a consistent movement routine, I really hope this encourages you to do so.

Remember, it will likely not happen if you do not have a routine dedicated to staying active! You can always give up 10-minutes to move! Those intentional minutes put towards your health will ultimately make you a better human, mama, wife, and friend.  I know that I am a wayyy nicer human, a more loving wife, and a much more patient mother when I get out there and make my running and fitness routine a priority.

Let me know how you squeeze in working out! I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!

The Art of Running with a Baby Jogger

There have been a few memories in Hudson’s first month of life that seem to be engraved in my mind. One of them is our first major outing a week after he was born. We went on a walk in Manhattan Beach. I remember it all so clearly. I remember how uncomfortable and insecure I felt when I saw my reflection in the store window. I had milk stains on my shirt, my belly still looked very pregnant, and my eyes drooped with exhaustion. That was just the physical parts I saw in the window. I also deeply remember how I felt on that walk. I was gripped by anxiety. I felt completely overwhelmed. We were literally just going on a walk. Something Lance and I would do all the time, but now everything was entirely different. I was paranoid and panicky. I had this new baby and this new stroller and this new body. All of it was foreign to me. The thing I remember most is the way I felt pushing the stroller down the hill to get to the strand. My heart was racing. My palms have never gripped something so tightly. All I could think about was my fear of losing grip of the stroller. I felt so awkward and incredibly unsure. The reason I tell this story is to show change and progress and illustrate how quickly transformation can happen. Fast-forward 11 months, and I run with the jogger one-handed with a casualness and confidence that June 15th Kelli would not have believed she was capable of. My relationship with the stroller is very telling of my progress as a parent. The stroller used to be a place of fear and sweaty, anxious palms. Now, it is a place of freedom and confidence.

Our faded orange, BOB stroller we bought on Facebook Marketplace was one of the best, low-cost investments we made in baby products. While the first month I barely touched it because I was nervous about using it, I slowly adjusted and figured out the art of running with a jogger. Like most things, it takes a little time to figure out your stride. It took some trial and error. There were runs where Hudson screamed the entire run. There were runs I had to just stop because I was so exhausted from the extra work of pushing it. There have definitely been runs and moments where I felt held back by the stroller and even annoyed by it, but as a whole our 2008 BOB has a special place in my heart. It has taught me something. It has shown me a strength and confidence that I had forgotten I possessed. It has pushed me to get out of comfort zones and it has revealed how much harder hills can become. It ultimately has shown me that I can do the same things I loved pre-baby, it just takes a different form. My pace is absolutely slower. The routes are slightly different; more pavement, less dirt. However, the jogger doesn’t hold me back too much. I’m still able to throw in some surges and can still pass some guys along the way. And let me tell you, that feels pretty good. So, yes the jogger changes things, but I am convinced it doesn’t need to change too much. If you are struggling with running with the baby jogger or want to and are unsure about it, here are 5 tips to help you master the art of the jogger.

1. Wait

There are different numbers people throw out as when the appropriate age is for baby to be in jogger. I have heard as young as 4-months and as conservative as 8-months. Definitely consult your pediatrician, but we began running with Hudson around the 5-month mark. And to be honest, I don’t think he was quite ready for it. Physically, it was totally fine, as he had very strong neck control, but I don’t think he was quite mature enough to be able to sit in jogger for an extended amount of time without getting fussy. Both Lance and I experienced a lot of crying in these early runs. I would wait to run with baby until he or she is clearly as at an age where they can occupy themselves. It really hasn’t been until recently, around 9-10 months, that Hudson has been a champ in the jogger. We are at the point that I can run 60-70 minutes without him fussing once. So if you can, wait a bit to start consistently running with baby. They will make it pretty clear when they are ready for it.

2. Start Slow

Physically pushing a jogger is demanding. Especially if you are getting back into shape, it is going to feel pretty hard to push jogger and run at a decent pace. I would not even look at your pace for the first couple runs with baby. Start by just going off of effort. I run at least 30-seconds slower with the jogger. Allow yourself some grace in terms of pace. You are out pushing a jogger, no need to break records. I also would recommend starting your runs more conservatively. You can always end your run faster, but it is especially important to ease into pace with jogger and not go out too hard.

3. Run During Nap Time

This is a tip I have recently figured out. I used to run with him right after he woke up from naps. From my experience this is not the best option. He had lots of energy and did not want to be strapped in. While I am all about being home for naps so I can get things done, I have learned to sacrifice this nap time in order to have a nice, quiet, cry-free run. I think it’s worth the nap sacrifice. I now always run during his first morning nap around 9 am. He sleeps for most of my run. It is also nice to get the run done early. Once we get home, he is happy and rested, and we have the rest of the day to do something fun.

4. Be Consistent

Like with most things in life, the more consistent you are, the easier it will become. I do not do every run with him, but I run at least 2-3 times per week with him in the jogger. This consistent pattern has allowed for both of us to get used to the jogger. Running with the jogger has not only trained and strengthened me, it also has trained him to be patient and capable of handling sitting for an hour. It is building within us both a strength and independence, and for that I’m thankful. Be as consistent with the jogger as you can. The more you do it, the more second nature it will feel for you and the more used to it baby will become. Since we go on runs on a consistent basis, Hudson has not only become accustomed to our running routine, he has come to enjoy our rides. It is deeply relaxing to him. He loves taking in the wind and the new environment he sees from the comfort of the stroller. The jogger itself also seems to ride smoother and smoother the more I have used it. Consistency really is key when it comes to running with baby. If you only use it every once and a while, it is likely it won’t feel as good for both you and baby.

5. Increasingly Build

This might sound obvious, but you don’t want to start your first run with baby on a super long and hilly run. Increasingly build. Start small and build from there. Start by just going out for a run around the block and see how it goes. Then next run, go a little further, and so on. Also, I would recommend starting in places that you are familiar and comfortable with. Find a route that suites the stroller and that you know well. Once baby has proven to handle jogger well, then you can venture out to trying longer runs and different terrain. Take it one day at a time. No need to prove anything.

While the jogger used to be a burden to me, I am learning to run with it with a sense of gratitude and grace. I am thankful. I am thankful for our BOB jogger. I am thankful for a healthy body. I am thankful for a child that I get to push up steep hills. While I used to awkwardly run with the jogger in hand, I am learning to run with greater ease and confidence. The stroller no longer feels as heavy. The stroller has taken on a lightness that I didn’t think was possible. The stroller is a great source of pride for me. I am proud to run with my jogger. It is like an orange badge of motherhood. Now, when I am out running solo, I feel naked. I feel like I’m missing something. And I am. My baby and my BOB.

Hope these few key points are both helpful and motivating. You don’t need to be extra strong or fast to push a jogger. Just a consistent, determination to do it, even amidst the extra crying and weight.

5 Ways to get Motivated to Workout Alone

This mama needs to work out alone.  This is much more of a need than a want.  Every part of me wants training partners and a team to keep me motivated, but this is just not the season I am currently in.  It seems like groups meet either too early or too late.  6 am just does not work for me because I have a sleeping babe and a husband that needs to leave for work even earlier.  Evening groups also are not ideal because Lance is finally home and I want to spend time together as a family.  I also usually have to run with the baby jogger so this makes it so I can’t run on all terrains with ease, nor can I run quite as fast with a jogger in hand.  All this makes it very difficult to run with people.  I think I am not alone here.  It can feel nearly impossible to find even just one person that is at a similar level of fitness and is available to train with you at the same time that works for your schedule.  While it makes working out so much more fun when you have someone to share in the miles and the sweat, the reality is that there are going to be days where working alone is your only option.  And let me tell you, working out alone is 100 times better than not working out at all.  This past month I have had a lot of solo runs and workouts.  And the truth is, I am loving it.  Initially, not so much, but when I am in it and grinding alone, there is something that changes within me.  It is crafting within me a strength and boldness I did not know I had.  I am learning that you really find what you are made of when all eyes and pressure are off.  There is no coach yelling out my splits.  There are no teammates pulling me along.  There is no one.  Just me and my watch.  I could stop.  I could skip an interval.  I could slow down the pace, the time, the effort.  But I don’t.  I grind it out.  And let me tell you, it is a grind.  I run circles and circles around the park by our house.  I sprint, I tempo, I recover.  I am constantly checking my watch to make sure I am on pace.  When you workout alone, you are required to dig deep within yourself.  You no longer can rely on teammates pulling you along.  It is all you.  While I would not recommend doing this all the time, I get something out of my workouts now that I never found in college on the track.  I cannot even name exactly what that something is, but it’s wonderful.  I jog home from an evening workout at the park with a sense of confidence, strength, determination, and passion that I just never got in college.  There is something to this working out alone thing.  It is an exercise not just for my legs, but for my heart.  My pace is not what it was a few years ago, but the effort is.  The passion is.  The heart is.  I might not be as fast, but I don’t think I have ever truly loved running more.  It is real to me in a way that it never was before.  It is more of an old friend.  That is exactly what running is to me now.  It is an old friend.  But I digress.  The whole point here is that working out alone can be a powerful experience, but truth be told, it is not always easy to make that initial push when you don’t have anyone keeping you accountable.  Here are 5 of the best ways that get me out the door even when it is just me:

1. Drop the Excuses 

The excuses never seem to leave.  It is so easy to let the excuses rule your day.  It is raining.  I woke up 5 times last night to be with the baby.  I am sore.  I don’t feel good.  I don’t have time.  I need to do x, y, and z first.  I will do it tomorrow.  And the list goes on.  If you are anything like me, you will never 100% feel like working out.  Every single day I am again faced with the battle.  My bloodshot and tired eyes tell me no.  My aching back tells me no.  My long to-do list that I just never seem to get to tells me no.  The crying babe tells me no.  The rain tells me no.  But, my heart tells me go.  It tells me to run and sweat and try as hard as I can.  It tells me to tune out the millions of no’s I have floating in my head.  This is not a battle that is easy to win, but I think the first step is recognizing the excuses.  Put them on paper.  Then write down your goals.  Choose those goals over all the excuses.  Actively tell yourself that you are ignoring the excuses and taking action to meet whatever goals you have.  It is raining but I am going to get better by doing this long run.  I have slept only a few hours but I will be stronger after running this tempo.  I have a lot to do but this workout matters just as much.  The excuses are so much easier to listen to, especially when you are working out alone, but you need to drop them, or it just is never going to happen.

2. Make a Plan 

This one is especially important when it is just you.  Working out used to be so much easier for me because it was something that was scheduled into my days.  Workouts were every Tuesday and Thursday at 3:30 pm.  There was a van that drove us to the location.  There was a coach that had a plan and would tell us exactly what to do.  There was a whole team that was doing this same exact workout.  These are the perfect conditions and the fact is, even then, I did not always want to do the workout.  I dragged my feet out of the van.  This is just more reason why having a set plan and time to workout is so essential.  Without one, it is nearly impossible to make it happen.  I am not a college athlete anymore.  I am a stay-at-home mom.  No one cares if I workout.  Literally no one.  Except maybe Lance.  The fact is I can just not workout and there are no consequences.  No coach calling me up.  No teammates waiting on me.  Because it is just me, I really need to create a plan that will help me stick to my training and workouts.  Just like in college, I have chosen Tuesdays and Thursdays as workout days.  Just like college, I try to make these workouts non-negotiable.  I literally pen them into my calendar.  I set a time.  I plan to have someone watch Hudson or I plan to workout right when Lance gets home.  I plan whether I am going to drive down to the strand or if I am going to just do loops in the park.  This planning part is so necessary, especially for true workouts.  If you are just going out to run, it can be looser, but for those tough and grinding workouts, you really need to set up a plan to ensure it actually happens.

3. Gear Up Confidently

When I was running in high school and college, I always wore my lucky racing socks come race day.  It is such a small detail, and sure I guess it is a bit in my head, but I am a firm believer that how you clothe yourself matters, especially when it comes to performing well.  Everyone has their thing, for me it was my socks.  For you, maybe it is a headband or your lucky watch.  Whatever it is that makes you feel stronger, faster, better; wear it.  Every. Single. Workout.  This is a new thing of mine, but recently what makes me feel fast are leggings and a visor.  In high school, I always ran in spandex shorts.  After a few years and a baby, there is no way I will ever run in spandex again.  In college, I wore slightly more fabric.  I typically ran in a pair of Lulu shorts.  This style I am linking here was my favorite.  A month or so after Hudson was born, I tried on a pair of these shorts and it was embarrassing.  They technically fit me, but they didn’t feel right anymore.  They felt way shorter and snugger.  That led me to leggings.  I am sure very soon it will start to warm up again and it will be too hot to workout out in pants, but with this weirdly cold California winter we are having, it works.  I have recently been obsessed with the leggings from Gap. They are really great quality, super cute prints, and much less than a pair of Lulu tights.  Here is a pair I have recently been working out a lot in and loving.  I have been loving workouts in these tights for a few reasons.  1. They keep me warmer. 2. They make me feel faster.  3.  They make me feel confident.  While I used to feel confident in my spandex shorts; now I feel best in tights like these.  They just fit me better and they meet me where I am at.  Fast but not that fast.  Serious but not that serious.  Competitive but not that competitive.  Tiny shorts were college days, now it is all about the long tights.  To top my workout outfit off, I grab my visor.  I have never been a visor person or really a hat person in general, but my visor has become a necessity for hard workouts.  I have been loving this Adidas Superlite one.  Again, some of this stuff is all in my head, but I think what is in your head matters, just like what is in your heart.  Wearing a visor makes me feel like a mature and seasoned runner.  It makes me feel serious.  It make me feel fast as I imagine it making me more aerodynamic.  Of course the right shoes matter a whole lot, but that is for another day.  The shoes matter, but the even smaller details of leggings and visors matter too.  Choose gear that gives you confidence.  Choose styles that make you feel faster and stronger and more powerful.  If you invest in good quality stuff, I really believe it is easier to get out the door and get that workout done.

4. Find a Sound that Inspires You

I know a lot of people like to listen to music when working out.  If this is you, create a specific playlist that is especially for those really hard, grinding workouts alone.  Take some time in crafting a really strong and powerful playlist.  Put the songs in there you know will help you push through and not just give up since no one else is watching.  I might be an anomaly, but what really pumps me up is a good podcast.  I love listening to inspiring and motivating interviews.  Granted, if I am in a really tough section of a workout, I might not be really listening to it, but the rambling of words as background can help distract me from the pain.  I tend to listen to interviews by women telling stories of faith, family, and dreams.  My current favorites are the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey and That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs.  Listening to these podcasts, help me feel like I am not out there alone.  It makes me feel connected.  I know music can do this too.  Maybe for you, you prefer working out unplugged.  That is great too.  Choose a background that will inspire you.  Put the extra effort in and drive to a nearby location that will have more peaceful sounds than car engines.  For workouts, I typically run to the park or drive to be down by the strand.  Location and sounds matter, take the extra time to think this through.

5. Find a Coach 

It is hard when it is just you training for a specific goal.  Even if you are working out alone, you need to have a person that knows your training goals and will help create and tailor training that will get you there.  Thankfully I have a husband that is also the perfect coach.  I am not good at generating my own workouts, but tell me what to do, and I will do it.  And this is exactly what Lance does.  He writes out my workouts and I get them done.  You might not have a person that is able to do this, but there are so many great online resources and apps.  To really feel like you have your own coach, you should check out Freeletics.  You can pay for a membership to get training or there are also free plans.  I am linking to the site here.  Whether it is a virtual coach through an app or website or your spouse, find someone that can guide you and keep you accountable.  One of my favorite parts of working out is talking about the workout after.  I love coming home to Lance and telling him all about the workout and how I felt.  Even though you are technically out there alone, you should not be really alone.  It is essential to have a team behind you that believes in you and pushes you to be your very best.

I know this is turning out to be a long one, but I want to end with this: don’t think working out is just for the real serious athletes.  Also to be clear, “working out” is going to look different for each person.  To me, a workout is anything that really pushes me out of my level of comfort.  For me, a regular run comes relatively easy.  It is calming and meditative.  Therefore, a workout is more than just a run.  It is usually a tempo with a pace at least a minute faster than what I typically run.  Or it is a set of intervals where I am changing my pace based on my goal 10k time.  This is what working out looks like to me, but your workout is likely different.  If going out for a 5 mile run puts you out of your comfort zone, then that is a workout.  If sprinting a 800-meter distance puts you out of your comfort zone (which it should), then that is a workout. If going out for a 2-mile walk puts you out of your comfort zone, then it is a workout.  The point here is that on a weekly basis, you are committing to pushing yourself outside of the normal, comfortable routine you are used to.  Whatever working out looks like for you, I hope these 5 things can be the push you need out the door because let me tell you, it is worth it, even if you are alone.

To Run in the Rain

This mama needs to run in the rain.  

As I learn more about myself, I am realizing I am much introverted than I previously thought.  I like the idea of being around people, but I really thrive off of having time alone in quiet.  This is one of the many reasons why running is so good for me. It gives me the space to be in a quiet rhythm.  It allows me to think, pray, and breathe.  Don’t get me wrong, I love running with others as well and connecting in this way, but every once in a while a solo run does my soul a lot of good.

The rain just kept coming this week.  It rained and rained.  Every time I looked out the window my initial thought was to skip the run.  Stay inside my mind whispered. Even though I have been a runner for over a decade, basically every time I go out for a run, I am again dealing with the internal battle of just staying inside.  I know some people eagerly lace up their shoes and prance out the door to run, but this is just not how I operate.  It would probably fool you when I am actually out running with a smile, but that initial push out the door is so hard for me.  It is especially hard now when I don’t have a coach telling me what to do or a team depending on me to be in shape.  Now, I am the coach.  I am the whole team.  With anything, when it is just you, performing and producing your best becomes even less motivating.

Despite this desire to stay inside, I managed to get out the door twice to run.  And it was two of the best choices I made all week.  Both times felt magical.  The best part of running in the rain is that not a lot of people do it.  The park was empty.  The strand was deserted. All I could hear was the rain rhythmically hitting my visor.  All I could see was waves crashing.  All I could feel was peace.  I was not thinking about other people.  I was not trying to pass the person 100 meters ahead of me.  I was not trying to impress by running as fast as I could.  I was not worried about pace or performance.  I was simply just running in the rain.  Alone.

When all the exterior elements of running are stripped down and you are left with just the raw aspects of movement, breath, and cadence; you can really find the joy in running.  You can find it in its purest form.  I think over the past few years, I got lost in the races, the time trials, the competition.  I think I forgot what it feels like to just run because you can, not because you have to.  When it comes down to it, I really love to run.  I actually have always loved it, but I think somewhere along the way running became something else.  It became pressurized and demanding.  It became solely about performance and pleasing coaches.  The rawness of running: breath, movement, cadence; became lost.

It took having a baby to get me to return to running and fall back in love with the sport.  Once Hudson was born, all expectations of who I was as a runner seemed to dissipate.  It did not matter if I ran for just 20 minutes.  It did not matter if I ran 10 minute pace.  These are things that I would of laughed at a few years ago, but now it was all about getting out the door.  It no longer was about the pace or the mileage.  It was solely about running to clear my head, running to get off the baby weight, running to take a break, running to pray for patience.  It was all about the movement.  I was running because I had a deep down need to move and it turns out running is the best way I know how to do that. I finally was in a place where I could run without the pressure, anxiety, and fear that seemed to plague most of my college running career.  I could run and walk.  I could stop when I felt tired. I could just run a loop around the block and return home.  I finally am learning to run with grace.  And this is making all the difference in my love for running.

Running in the rain last week reminded me why I run.  It reminded me how running is supposed to feel in its purest form.  It reminded me the importance of not waiting until conditions or life is perfect.  If we run like this or if we live like this, we never will run much or really do anything at all.  Sometimes it will rain all week. Sometimes you will have bad days, weeks, months, years.  And sometimes you just have to face it.  You have to tie up those shoes.  Put on your hat.  And start that watch.  And just like running in the rain, through movement and action, you can eventually be reminded of why you do what you do and be at peace with whatever life gives you.