If you're a mom (or dad) who loves to run, don't struggle through training without these essentials.
A Running Stroller1 of 10
We won't lie--running with a stroller is tough. Depending on how big your child is and how much your stroller weighs, you could be pushing anywhere from 30 to 100+ lbs. But when it comes to multi-tasking, the running stroller is tops. You get in some mileage, a killer upper body workout and time with your kid.
A Reliable Babysitter2 of 10
If a running stroller isn't practical (or you just need some alone time), a responsible childcare provider (or cooperative partner) who is ready to jump in whenever you need to go for a run is essential. If you're training for a race, take a look at your schedule and prioritize when you'll need coverage for speed workouts, long runs and races.
A Supportive Sports Bra3 of 10
This is pretty self-explanatory. After kids, sometimes things just don't fit the way they used to. For the sake of comfort (and your confidence) treat yourself to a high quality sports bra that will reduce any chest pain while running (and once you've found the right one, buy several, because you already do enough laundry as it is amirite?).
A Solid Night of Sleep4 of 10
We know--easier said than done. Quality sleep is essential for staying healthy and sane while balancing child rearing with training. You can't always get eight hours of uninterrupted shuteye, but you can tweak your schedule to maximize sleep. If you've always been a sunrise runner, but your kid isn't sleeping through the night, try shifting your runs to later in the day. Can you fit in a quick lunchtime jog? A run-commute after work? Or some post-dinner miles? The timing might not be your version of ideal, but if it means you can get some extra Z's, it will be worth it.
Running Buddies5 of 10
Schedules and family demands might make it harder to meet up with other runners, but it's key for creating accountability. If someone is counting on you for a long weekend run, it's a lot harder to make excuses. Plus, as awesome as kids are, sometimes we all need adult conversation--or no conversation at all.
Access to a Treadmill6 of 10
In an ideal world, all of our runs would be on beautiful, shaded paths in 60-degree weather. But in reality, sometimes the weather is too gross to venture out with a running stroller, or the babysitter cancels, or your only time to run is when the baby naps. In these situations, the ability to log some miles on the treadmill can make all the difference.
A Go-To Post-Run Snack7 of 10
Life with kids can be crazy and sometimes it's a miracle to fit in a run, let alone all the extra things you used to have time for (like, you know, FOOD). Make it easy on yourself and automate your post-run fuel. Whether it's a protein shake or yogurt and fruit, plan out your snack in advance and it will be one less thing to worry about. You might as well make extras for your inevitably hungry kids, too.
Flexibility8 of 10
Training rarely goes according to plan and that's even truer when you're a parent. You have a long run planned, but your little one comes down with a stomach bug. Your 5K happens to be on the same day as your 5-year-old's can't-miss soccer game. One of the best skills you can have is flexibility with your running schedule. Try to be relaxed about shifting workouts when necessary and doing your best to prioritize what really matters--and while sometimes that's definitely running, it's ok when it's not.
An Exceedingly Large Coffee Mug9 of 10
This might be the most important item of all. An extra boost of caffeine is a given before an early morning run--it's really the best friend a running mom will ever have.