How Becoming a Mom Made Me a Better Runner

Being a mom comes with its own set of challenges, but for me, it has also brought an unexpected benefit: becoming a better runner. Before having kids, running was just a hobby, but now it has turned into an essential part of my life.

Although it can be difficult to balance family time and running together, I’ve learned that I’m at my best when both are a part of my life.

ali van straten with her kids at a race

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In this blog post, I want to share my journey on how being a mom has improved my running abilities and how it has taught me a valuable lesson about hard work, setting goals, and achieving them.

Training with Kids

When it comes to running, consistency is key, and having children has forced me to be more consistent in my training. With busy schedules, it can be challenging to find time to run, but I have learned to carve out time whenever I can.

I usually run when my kids are either asleep, in school, or at the gym with gym childcare. It has become an opportunity for me to recharge, clear my head, and keep my physical and emotional health in check.

Personal Time and Self Care

Another thing I’ve noticed is that after having children, I have become more appreciative of the time I get to spend running. I cherish the moments where I get to run alone and be free to focus on myself. Running has provided me with a form of therapy that helps me to decompress after a stressful day of motherhood.

Running has become a form of self care for me. It allows me to disconnect from the chaos of daily life and gives me a chance to recharge my mind and body.

ali van straten with her kids at a race

Mental Toughness

Motherhood has its own set of challenges, but so does running. However, being a mom has taught me mental toughness that I never knew I had. The sleepless nights, endless tasks, and constant responsibilities have made me resilient and able to push through tough moments during a run.

Motherhood has also taught me patience, which is crucial in running. Training for races and achieving goals takes time and dedication, just like raising children. Both require perseverance and the ability to stay calm and focused when things get tough.

Setting Goals

I also enjoy setting big goals for myself and working hard to achieve them, and my children see this firsthand. They get to see me work hard towards my goals and witness my improvement over time. It teaches them a valuable lesson about discipline, perseverance, and the rewards of hard work.

I have learned to set realistic goals that I can achieve while still balancing my responsibilities as a mother. It has taught me how to prioritize, plan ahead, and make the most out of every training session.

Being a mom has shown me the true meaning of hard work and determination. Motherhood itself is an endless cycle of challenges, but it has also taught me how to adapt, be resilient and always strive for improvement.

Through running, I have learned the importance of self-care and setting aside personal time. It can be easy to get caught up in the demands of motherhood and put our own needs on the backburner. But by taking the time to go for a run, I am not only taking care of my physical health but also my mental and emotional well-being.

ali van straten with her kids at a race on the beach

As a result, I get to set an example for my children that is sure to inspire them to work hard in whatever they choose to do.

Challenges of Being a Mother Runner

While being a mother runner has been an incredibly rewarding experience, it also comes with its own set of challenges. As a busy mom, my schedule is constantly changing and filled with unexpected interruptions. This can make it difficult to find time for running and training.

One of the main challenges I face as a mother runner is finding a balance between my responsibilities as a parent and my love for running. With children, there is always something that needs to be taken care of or attended to, whether it’s a sick child, school event, or just everyday tasks. This can make it challenging to stick to a consistent training schedule.

Another challenge I face is adapting my training around my children’s schedules. As they grow and their schedules change, I have to constantly adjust my own schedule to accommodate for their needs. This may mean waking up earlier to get a run in before they wake up, or postponing a run to attend to them.

In addition, the physical demands of motherhood can also impact my running. Pregnancy and childbirth can cause changes in the body that may affect my running performance and require me to modify my training. It’s important to listen to my body and make necessary accommodations in order to prevent injuries.

Overcoming Challenges

Despite the challenges of being a mother runner, I have learned valuable lessons that have made me a stronger and more patient individual. The constant juggling act has taught me to be patient with myself and my goals. I’ve learned to set realistic expectations and not beat myself up if I miss a run or don’t hit a certain time goal.

Motherhood and running have also taught me the importance of balance and prioritization. I’ve learned to prioritize my responsibilities and make time for both my family and my passion for running. This has helped me develop better time management skills and become more efficient with my training.

ali van straten with her kids at a race

Moreover, being a mother runner has also taught me resilience and determination. When faced with challenges, whether it’s a busy schedule or physical changes, I’ve learned to adapt and find ways to continue pursuing my passion for running. This has translated into other aspects of my life, making me a more determined and resilient individual.

In summary, being a mother runner may come with its challenges, but it has also taught me valuable lessons that have made me a better person. Through patience, balance, and resilience, I have been able to continue pursuing my passion for running while also fulfilling my responsibilities as a mother. I am grateful for the lessons learned and the strength gained through this journey, and I know that it will only continue to make me a stronger and more determined individual in all aspects of my life.

Running Improvement

Since I had my children, my running performance has improved dramatically. I’ve gone on to achieve all-time personal records, including in the most recent Chicago Marathon. It’s safe to say that this was one of my most significant achievements to date.

My personal record was 9 years ago at Grandma’s marathon, where I finished with a time of 4:22.

Every marathon after that became progressively slower, and my first postpartum marathon took me almost 5 hours to finish. This year, with consistent training and hard work, I was finally able to break through and finish at the Chicago Marathon with a personal record of 3:57.

This progress didn’t happen overnight and it’s been a long journey of learning, adapting, and persevering. But being a mother runner has taught me the value of patience and commitment, which has undoubtedly played a significant role in my improvement as a runner.

Finding Balance

Being a mom has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life, and becoming a better runner through motherhood has been an unexpected bonus.

Running has become more than just a hobby; it’s become a way of life for me. I’ve learned the value of consistency, perseverance, and setting achievable goals, and being a mother has taught me how to manage it all.

I hope that my story inspires other mother runners and shows that even with lots of responsibilities, it’s still possible to make time for things you love, like running. By doing so, you can lead a more fulfilling life that you can be proud of.


  • Ali Van Straten

    Ali Van Straten is the founder and journalist of Champagne and Coffee Stains. She is a Peloton expert, certified running coach and certified nutrition coach. Champagne and Coffee Stains provides information and resources on Peloton Interactive, running and recipes.

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