We are all too busy. We are short on time, and we all have a million things to do in one day. Unfortunately, there isn’t always time to go for a run. But in order “to achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time’ (Leonard Bernstein). Definitely true when you have a deadline to hit, but lack of time is one of the most frequently reported barriers to exercise in developed countries (Reichert et al., 2007). But does this problem reflect actual time commitments or is it just an excuse. It has been suggested that an apparent lack of time as a barrier could, in fact, be a reflection of a lack of self-motivation rather than a legitimate hindrance to participation in regular exercise – as in you are lazy (Bowles et al., 2002). People who run regularly are just as busy with work, family and other commitments as people who don’t run. Genuine time commitments do not reflect the alleged lack of time for running and exercise, so it’s time to re-evaluate that excuse! (Heesch & Masse, 2004). So….. “But, I just don’t have the time to run!” actually means “But, I just don’t make time to run,” or “I don’t really want to run, I just want to complain about not running.”
I have realised that making the time to go for a run if you have a family is not an individual effort, everyone has to sacrifice. I go, I spot a gap in the fence and I take it. No phone, no work no nappies or roaring toddlers and no housework for a couple of hours. Not only does the effort push the body to the edge of breakdown, it takes its toll on families and significant others. If my wife, Michelle, didn’t pick up the slack and give me the time to go training and racing, my running wouldn’t have been possible. But unfortunately I am no longer the only “runner” in the house, since Michelle has taken up the sport there is now a battle for running slots! So I found a running buggy that allows me to bring the kids with me on runs. I could claim that I was inspired by the opportunity of bonding activities with my 18 month old Paddy and 4 year old Molly while incorporating my personal passion of running. But that would be stretching the truth; my motivations were purely selfish…… I just wanted a way to make time for my own running.
Running with a stroller has become an increasingly popular option for runners with infants and young toddlers, as it offers the freedom to run outdoors without having to leave children behind (O’Sullivan et al., 2016) Most recently during the Abingdon Marathon in England Jessica Bruce pushed 7-month-old Daniel, 26.2 miles in 3:17:26, making Bruce the fastest female to push a stroller during a marathon. Men race marathons with strollers too, Michael Wardian’s pushed his nine-month-old son Pierce to third place overall in the Frederick Marathon (Washington DC) in a time of 2:42:20. Julia Webb pushed a baby at a 6:09 pace for the Run like Hell 10K in Portland, Oregon, with a time of 38:15 beating the Guinness World Record time of 43:07. Some Race organisers get very nervous about runners with strollers, but with the right attitude from the marshals and respect for other runners, it’s completely safe. So it is not only possible to run with a stroller you can run quickly. In a fast paced world it is easy to sight obstacles, like a lack of time which prevent you from running, but rather than see it as an obstacle it is possible to turn it into an opportunity.
Bowles HR, Morrow JR, Jr., Leonard BL, Hawkins M & Couzelis PM. (2002). The association between physical activity behavior and commonly reported barriers in a worksite population. Res Q Exerc Sport 73, 464-470.
Heesch KC & Masse LC. (2004). Lack of time for physical activity: perception or reality for African American and Hispanic women? Women Health 39, 45-62.
O’Sullivan R, Kiernan D & Malone A. (2016). Run kinematics with and without a jogging stroller. Gait Posture 43, 220-224.
Reichert FF, Barros AJ, Domingues MR & Hallal PC. (2007). The role of perceived personal barriers to engagement in leisure-time physical activity. Am J Public Health 97, 515-519.