Running with kids: Half-marathon training for parents

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Training for a half with your spouse? How will you both do all that running with kids?

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Our Story

My husband, who, hasn’t wanted to work out since high school, shocked me about a month ago when he said he was finally ready and wanted to train for a half marathon. Together. Say what!?!? Sexier words have never before been uttered from his lips.

Seriously trying not to jump up and down with joy that after 8+ years he was finally ready to work out with me, I casually asked, “That’s great. Which half do you want to do?” He responded with Leavenworth, which made me even more excited. That was my hands down favorite half so far. You can read about my first experience running it here.

Running with kids

I’m no stranger to training for a race with kids. I did a full marathon a few months before Evelyn turned one. Check out my Rock N’ Roll Seattle marathon recap here. But, having two parents train simultaneously, well that’s a different story.

After sitting down and finding a training plan for my hubby I came up with a schedule of sorts, and it’s been working out great so far. I figured why not share it here and maybe give other couples considering running a half together some ideas/motivation to get it done! Hopefully it gets the ideas flowing and you figure out a way to run together!

Half marathon training

I found this training plan on Pinterest from Snacking In Sneaker. (she has lots of awesome training plans)

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This plan is perfect for Travis. It’s not daunting and the milage starts very low. I would recommend three days of strength between the days of running. For the most part (unless he has to switch because of work) his running days are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Encourage and help each other out

Each Sunday I write Travis’s mileage on a sticky note on the mirror above his nightstand so he can see it and plan out his week. I’m trying to be the super helpful, encouraging wife! 😉 (Evelyn also added some encouraging scribbles)

Running with kids: Half-marathon training for parents

Travis in turn asks me each run about how my speed was, since I’m trying hard to PR again in Leavenworth this year. We try to find the positive in each run while also problem solving issues that arise together.

But how do you both find the time?

When we moved I was so stupid and sold our double stroller. Ugh. Worst decision ever. Now that Tyrion is almost five he’ll be able to ride his bike on my shorter runs soon so I don’t want to invest the money into a double again. It’s not worth it for the rest of this year when we could have used it. Oh well, live and learn.

That leaves Evelyn who’s almost three and our single stroller that thankfully I didn’t part with in our move. However only having the single makes it so we can’t simultaneously run as a couple with both kids. That would have been ideal, but at the same time a lot of work! Running with a double isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s an intense cardio session. One that my husband probably doesn’t need training for his first half since high school.

So what’s a training couple to do?


Leave one behind if possible.

Play date with a neighbor? Visit to the grandparents? Deposit a child and go!

Tyrion had Awana every wednesday and on those nights I’d drop him off, come home and hook up Evelyn, then Travis and I would hit the road for a quick run before I had to head back and pick up Tyrion again. Now that Awana is over for the summer that isn’t possible anymore so here are a few of the things we’re doing.

I run, you run, we all run!

Travis gets home from work and while he takes a moment to settle down I take off on a run leaving him to catch up with the kids about their day, drink some h20 and pre-workout, and get pumped up to take off after I get home. This works great in the beginning of our training plan because the mileage is short. I’ll put dinner on low when I take off, so once I’m home I can put the finishing touches on it and after Travis complete his run and jumps in the shower dinner is waiting and we can enjoy the rest of our night.

Run on opposite days

This is something we’ll have to implement as we get further along and our milage ups. Anything five miles or more would mean we’d both be running for the better part of our evenings which we’d ideally love to spend together. So, running opposite days is a great way to space out the separation. That’s another reason why I loved this training plan so much. It gives us both the opportunity to stay with the program 100%. I do at home strength workouts on my off running days, or sometimes in conjunction with my runs.

One runs in the morning, the other at night

Most of you know I love my morning runs, especially as the summer heats up and the evenings are muggy with all the mid-day residual heat. Ick. Since I’m more of a morning person than Travis, as our milage ups I’ll probably get up early a few days a week and get my miles in before Travis heads to work. The kids sleep until 7ish, and Travis is out the door for work about 6:30 most days. That means if I hit the pavement by 5am I’ll have plenty of time to get in up to 9ish miles if called for.

Find a running group and hit up their weekly run night

We have a local running group called the Flying Irish and I’m dying to start hitting up their Thursday night runs. You can stroller run, but since we don’t have a double we’d ask Travis’s parents to watch the kids that night or if my little sister Emily (who lives with us) is home we’d see if she’s available. Sometimes it’s simply fun to run a new rout and/or run with a fun crowd. Moral of this story: Look for a running group in your area. Maybe you can’t make it weekly but can attend every other week or once a month.

Make a few “Runs dates” instead of “Date nights”

Find a sitter and have a run date instead of the regular dinner and movie date. You’ll do more bonding, it’s healthier, and you get to run someplace new! Maybe find a few 5k’s to register for and use those as your dates. There’s so many fun 5k’s around these days! Grab a late breakfast after you cross the finish line and before heading to pick up the kids. Make it an event!

These are just a few ideas to get your creative thinking juices flowing. Sure, it’s harder to train as a couple, but also a lot more rewarding! As a mom with two kids and hubby, I can definitely say it’s growing us closer in our marriage training for our half together. We have a common goal which we are pursuing side by side, and it’s so much fun!

What is something you’ve done with your spouse that’s helped maintain a strong relationship? And tips you have for running with kids?

You might also like:

Training for a half or full marathon after baby: How to fit running into your busy schedule

Thoughts on running my first 20 miler

Eryn Whalen, running with kids

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  1. This is super helpful for those of us with kids! I’ve often wondered how people who run several miles a day do that with kids simply because long distances take up so much time when you have children. Thanks for sharing these tips!!

  2. I love the training plan chart and all the training as a couple ideas. My husband and I did a workout program as a couple. It was sometimes tricky but we somehow finished as a team!

  3. I can personally attest to the fact that running with a double stroller is a whole different ball game. It is also impossible to work for PR. My husband and I are fortunate (or unfortunate if you ask him) that I have a stroller obsession and so we have multiple single joggers as well as double strollers to run with.

    Something that we have done together to bond has been reading the same book when he is deployed overseas. This gives us something to do when we are apart and then its like having our own little book club when we come together to discuss. By far, my favorite thing we do.

    1. I love the book idea! Staying close while he’s overseas is, I’m sure, a struggle. That’s awesome you found a way to keep connected. Also, I’m super jealous of your stroller situation. I’ve been looking for another single on FB marketplace so we can each take a child. No luck yet but I have my eyes peeled!

  4. Great post and very inspiring. I hope we can also make this especially a great family bonding idea.

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