Families running at the Vitality Westminster Mile

How to fit running around family life

When raising a family, it’s easy for fitness to fall by the wayside. When you’re juggling childcare with a job and/or housekeeping, as well as the daily distractions that life throws at you, making time to run can seem an impossibility. However, the key is not finding time by sleeping less or making sacrifices; it’s about finding ways to fit running into the daily routine you already have.

Get your family involved

You will find it much easier to fit running into family life if your family can realise the benefits of running. If you have children, introduce them to the fun that can be had from running kids-only races like junior parkrun, or get them started on The Daily Mile. There are numerous ways to get your kids excited by running (check out this article for some suggestions), but the key is to keep it fun, varied and at a pace comfortable for them.

Run with a buggy

Scan the Start Line of any parkrun – or simply keep an eye out on your next run – and you’re bound to see a number of pushy parents taking their kids out for a spin. Buggy running has boomed in recent years, primarily because it allows parents to combine fitness with childcare – they get a taste of fresh air (and a slightly windswept look), while you get your exercise in.

Run during sports practice 

If your child plays a sport, or does some sort of activity outside of school hours that you’re tasked with taxiing them to and from, why not use the hour that they are there to go for a run? That could mean jogging around the playing fields, or if that’s too mortifying a proposition for your child, map out a circular 10k route from wherever you drop them off.

Train smarter 

A slow two-hour run might be a lovely idea, but for many people, most of the time it’s simply not possible. The good news is that unless you’re in marathon training, shortening your runs and upping the intensity will give you all the fitness benefits of longer, slower outings. If you only have half an hour to spare, opt for intervals and tempo runs to maximise your training efficiency.

Run commute

If you have a small child you take to nursery in the mornings, or you commute to work by car of public transport, is it possible to run there? Or, if it’s too far away, could you do half the journey by public transport and the other half by foot? Run commuting is an excellent way to use time that would otherwise be spent sat down – or nose to nose with a stranger on the tube – more productively. And its benefits aren’t confined to fitness: recent research by Strava shows that the average Londoner can actually shorten their commute time if they run to work.