By Kate Horney
If you have a New Years goal of completing an athletic event- be it a marathon, triathlon, or even your first 5k- here’s some inspiration from my friend Sarah that is sure to bring out athlete inside of you…
For those reading the blog who might not know you, or your background, can you give us a little background on yourself—how did you get into the fitness industry, where did you begin?
I’ve always been a person who enjoyed fitness. My mom has always taught us about clean eating and my dad ran marathons when I was young, so I’ve never really known a life without health and fitness. My family was very active when I was growing up and both my younger brother and I played sports throughout high school. My freshman year in college, when I was burdened by the stress of school, I took up running and I fell in love with it. Running led to me wanting to join a gym and my love of fitness continued to grow. In December of 2011, on my 30th birthday, I decided to challenge myself and my fitness more than I ever have and signed up for my first half marathon. I have since ran three half marathons and am about to begin training for my first full. I started my blog, Run, Mommy, Run, to not only keep me accountable and help with my training, but to inspire other mommy’s to find the athlete inside them. For many years I wanted to race, but I was always so nervous. I hope that my blog will help give others a little bit of hope and inspiration when they need it, as well as an honest look into the life of a mommy marathoner. Along with my blog, I’ve also started up a local chapter of Moms RUN This Town where I live and become a Sweat Pink Ambassador for the company Fit Approach.
Where do your priorities lie now? Family? Training? Both? Other? Etc. How has your focused changed over time?
The role of Mommy is all about balance. Naturally your children are a high priority, especially when they are young, but at the same time you don’t want to make the mistake of forgetting to make yourself a priority. My focus definitely changed after getting married and having children, but I didn’t take focus away from something. Instead I shuffle my time around. My family will always come first, which simply means that sometimes I have to get up a little earlier to get my training done. Or I have to remember take the time to play at the park after a particularly long run with little ones in tow. My training will always be a priority to me. Being fit and a runner is part of who I am. I just have to approach it differently and a bit less rigidly now that there are other people in my life.
You have obviously made fitness a priority even in your busy schedule. Was there a moment of definition where you consciously decided to go for it or was it more of a passive thing?
For the most part, fitness has been more of a passive thing. I’ve always been fit and worked out through both of my pregnancies, so it just seemed natural to continue working out after my babies were born and my life became busy. That being said, when I decided to run my first half marathon it was a moment where I consciously decided to go for it and I know it would be a big change. Before my goal was simply to stay fit, but with the half marathon I had actual time consuming training to do. I knew it would be hard and I knew it would make my busy schedule even busier, but I chose to do it anyway because it was extremely important to me.
How would you advise the busy mom who wants to leverage their time better? What’s the first step?
The first step in adding something new to any schedule is to make time for it. Just like you would anything else, you have to schedule a time for fitness and you have to stick to it. For me, the easiest thing has always been working out in the morning. Not only do I get my workout done early so the rest of my day is open, but I start my day off in a good mood and on the right foot. If a busy mom really had a hard time holding herself accountable for her workouts I’d suggest she use the help of a buddy, either in person or online. Joining a group or finding a friend to workout with each week is a great way to make sure you make time. Knowing that someone else is counting on you will help you stick to your schedule and make time.
What about moms who say they cannot achieve their goals because they don’t have time?
The phrase has become a bit cliche in the fitness world, but I’d say you don’t have time, you make time. And it’s true. Just as I said above, you have to be willing to schedule in time and you have to be willing to stick with it.
For moms who are frequently exhausted and worn-out by the end of the day, how would you advise they manage their schedules/energy/time so that they have the energy/motivation to start on the path towards reaching their goals?
It is so hard to want to take care of yourself when you are exhausted from taking care of others all day. This is one reason I like the early morning workouts…you get to spend time taking care of YOU before you have to worry about others. I think far too often we, as mothers, feel guilty about taking care of ourselves and focusing energy on reaching our goals, and we shouldn’t. A happy, healthy mom is what makes a happy, healthy family and I highly recommend all moms remember this. We also need to remember that to reach your goals it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Small achievements are just as awesome as big ones, and small workouts can be just as effective as big ones.
What is ONE THING these moms can start on today that will not overwhelm them?
Taking a walk. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s something the entire family can do together. Start by taking a walk once a week, either alone or with your family, and soon you’ll find yourself making more and more time to reach your goals.
Take us through a typical day for you. How have you “created your life?”
With my youngest in preschool, my oldest now in kindergarten, and a husband whose work schedule has him at work quite often, I have my life pretty scheduled. On a typical day, I begin around 7:00am with 10-20 minutes of gentle yoga followed by me making breakfast for the kiddos and getting my daughter to school. On the mornings my son has preschool, I generally use the time to write my blog posts as well as go on my longer training runs. On the mornings he doesn’t have preschool we head to the gym where he plays in the child care and I lift, run, go to class, etc. Irregardless of the day, I try to always have my workout done by 10:00am. The remainder of the day is filled with normal mommy/wife duties as well as anything else that needs to be done for my blog and my followers. For me, it’s all about consistency. I know what is expected each day and what needs done.
How do you personally channel your energy and get focused on your goals? In other words, how do you manage “everyday stuff” getting in the way? Any hard & fast rules?
I think this is probably a challenge we all face. For me, I go back to those early workouts. If I can get all of my training done in the morning then the rest of my day is good and I don’t feel like I’ve interfered with the everyday stuff. It’s the days that I slack and miss a workout or don’t get it done on time that sends my little wold spinning.
Personally, what is most important to your wellbeing?
Personally, the most important thing for me is to be active. Naturally, when I’m eating healthy and taking care of myself along with being active I feel my best, but those three things don’t always all happen at the same time in a busy life. If I had to pick just one, I’d pick being active. I feel my best, both physically and mentally, when I’m moving.
How do you maintain a positive outlook, or do you? Are there times of doubt, insecurity, fear, etc? How do you deal with them?
I’m pretty blessed because I’m a naturally optimistic person who generally sees the bright side of things. But even us “glass half full” people have our moments of doubts and insecurity. It’s during those moments that you have to dig deep down and KNOW that you can do it. A person can accomplish anything if they want it bad enough.
What 1 piece of advice would you give to moms who want to take their fitness to the next level?
Set a goal! Run a race, do more reps, take a class…it can be anything. Pick one area of fitness that you’ve always wanted to take to the next level and do it. Tell everyone you know about your new goal and be proud of your progress. The more you grow, the more you will want to do. For me this was the half marathon. I wanted to take my running to the next level, and when I did it was the best feeling in the world and left me wanting to challenge myself even more.
What are your top 3 daily practices to stay focused, perform at a high level and get stuff done?
1) Have a plan. I know what needs to be done each day and I get it done. I also don’t sweat the little things. My plan has a list of priorities, and there are lots of things that don’t make it on that last and I try my best not to worry about them.
2) Sleep! I don’t let myself get so overworked that I can barely function. That does more harm than good
3) Motivation. Quotes, photographs, notes from friends, etc…they can all be motivators and I like to keep them visible so if I feel myself slipping I can take a moment, look over them, and remind myself of what my ultimate goal is.
Anything else you would like to add? Anything you would like to promote?
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