How do you organize your week to get exercise/training in with kids?

Its Monday today, what I usually consider the first day of the week. But maybe the wall calendar set up of starting the week with Sunday really is a better idea in order to plan the Monday to Friday part! Whether you’re at home full-time with your kids, work full time or are somewhere in between like myself, making time for yourself to get a workout in can always be a challenge! Although your ideal schedule likely varies depending on the age of your kids and what else they’ve got going on, this is what has helped me get my training in and still be a happy mom at the end of the day:

1. Make a training plan. Make a plan for at least one week of details planned out in advance of what your workout will be each day. I sit down with my coach once a month and we plan all my workouts and races for the next 4-6 weeks at a time. Once I have my training plan I can figure out my babysitting needs, work schedule, and family plans around it. When you have a plan down in writing you’re more likely to stick to it and make it happen – the where, when, how, with whom etc part.

2. What time of day works best for you? Although I aspire to be an early riser in order to workout and do it on occasion, since my kids rarely wake up earlier than 8:00 each morning, I take that time to get my much needed sleep as well. I’m lucky enough to have a fabulous babysitter for a few half days a week to work or train, and a great training group, Critical Speed, to meet up with in the evenings if needed – personally it is also important to have a few “social” training sessions each week if I can. All that said, motivation definitely drops as the day progresses so some advice posted by Barbara Edelston Peterson on our facebook page, “Athlete Moms” might make more sense to more of us:

“My advise all of us Moms, is to do whatever it takes for the VERY early morning workout session. Once the day gets rolling, there are endless obstacles. Waking up burns whether it’s 5:00 a.m. or 8:00 a.m., so make it EARLY enough to do the workout you love/need before anyone awakens. It’s the best feeling, it fuels so many parts of YOU and the family, and once it’s accomplished, you’ve got the whole day ahead of you with clarity and less stress. There’s probably time for another outlet at the end of the day, that may include the kids. Where there’s a will, there’s a way – and something may have to ‘go’ – so you can ‘go!'”

3. Indulge in some outside help.  If you’re like me you may not be lucky enough to have some grandparents around the corner, and you don’t want to be playing tag team with your husband every night in order to get your workout(s) done.. The next best alternative is to invest in a babysitter to either get some workouts done during the day (if your schedule allows) or even to let you and your husband get out together for an evening “training date’ as we call it or even separately at the same time on the weekend to allow more family time together. In Calgary, where I live there are many recreation centres that offer daycare while you workout. I’ve used it often to get in a swim or cross-training workout at the gym. An even cheaper option is finding a girlfriend to trade childcare with. And of course, if all else fails just pull out your trusted Chariot for a run or a ride!

4. Have frozen meals in the freezer. All too often I fall short of my nutritious cooking goals. I rarely think about dinner plans before my husband comes in the door at night – lucky for me he does like to share the cooking. But in my occasional “lets get organized bursts” I’ll cook up double portions of a few of my favourite meals like my mom’s spaghetti sauce over a few days and fill the freezer. Great on busy days when there is no time to cook!

The toughest challenge of training is that it needs to be done almost every day to be effective, and usually in some sort of systematic order if you are preparing for a race – I always joke that you can’t cram for a race and say, hey I’ll just put in a few 8h days of training this week and then put my feet up the rest of the week!

I would love to hear any other great tips from moms that help you consistently get workouts in week after week?