Running as a Parent

Tips for fitting in runs when you have little kids.


By Megan Harrington


When you become a parent, time becomes one of the most precious resources and often one of the first things to go is exercise. But with a little creativity (and a lot of advance planning!) you can maintain a running routine. Here’s how:

Stroller running

If your child is between the ages of 6 months and about 3 years old, running with wheels might be the perfect option. There are plenty of strollers on the market that are designed specifically for running; simply choose one that fits your budget and running needs.

You may have to slow down (kids + strollers are heavy!), but in addition to cardio, you’ll be getting a good strength workout. Be sure to pack plenty of snacks and maybe a toy or two to entertain your little one. If you find they get fussy on the road, you can try running a mile or two to a local park, taking a play break, and then packing up and finishing the run.

Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to stroller running, but it can be a great way to fit in a workout without worrying about a babysitter!

If your child is too old for a stroller, consider having them bike alongside you for easy runs. It’s a great way to encourage physical activity and spend time together.

Gym membership with childcare

Many gyms and YMCAs offer free or low-cost childcare for members. Sometimes there’s a 1 or 2-hour limit, but it’s a great way to keep your kiddos entertained while you fit in a run.

Take turns with another parent

If you have one (or several!) other parent friends who like to run, consider trading off on childcare. You can meet at a local park or track and while one of you runs, the other stays behind and entertains the kids. After a predetermined amount of time, you switch.

If none of your parent friends run, consider budgeting for a babysitter. If your partner runs, this might be a healthier alternative to dinner and a movie date night!

Run while your child is at sports practice

If your kiddos have soccer practice every afternoon, consider running laps around the fields. You’ll be able to cheer on your child while also logging miles. This could work for any type of lesson or practice - just be sure to plan ahead and pack a pair of running shoes!

Early mornings and late nights

In some cases, the only time you’ll be able to fit in a run is while your little ones are sleeping. Try to find a friend who will meet you for sunrise runs or perhaps invest in a basement treadmill for post-dinner miles - whatever it takes to boost your motivation!

With small children at home, your schedule might not allow for leisurely late morning jogs, but hopefully these tips will help you squeeze in some mileage. When it comes to exercise and a busy lifestyle, doing something is always better than doing nothing. Happy running!

Megan is a writer, RRCA certified running coach, and new mom living and training in rural upstate New York. She competed in DIII track and cross-country at Wesleyan University and now focuses on the half-marathon and marathon distance.

Main Photo Credit:; Second Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images/; Third Photo Credit: lzf/; Fourth Photo Credit: Daxiao Productions/

Jul 14, 2018

Helena Jagodnik this one is for you 🙂

Jul 14, 2018

Thank you Tina! Yes yes I needed this article.

Jul 26, 2018

Impressive indeed!

Aug 1, 2018

How much to you guys wake