Short story: How do you handle jogging if you're sleep-deprived? Especially when the only time you can do so is early in the morning when you could be sleeping?
I've taken up jogging for exercise, and it's been great. I'm doing the couch to 5k program and I feel so much better, even after just a few weeks. The program requires that I jog three times/week and the only practical time to go jogging is early in the morning, after my 10-month-old baby has nursed and gone back to sleep (usually around 6am) before my husband goes to work. My 2- and 4-year-old are still asleep. I've been able to go jogging in the evening a few times, but there's almost always something keeping me from getting out at that time, when everyone's up and I have to finish up all my chores and errands for the day.
Now, here's my problem. My babe does NOT sleep through the night by any stretch. She's up twice if I'm super lucky, and five or six times if I'm not. This past week, she's been waking up and staying up for an hour before going back to sleep, and she'll do this three times in one night. And it's not like she goes to bed early, either! It's a rare event indeed when I get a full 8 hours of sleep, and that's never consecutive. Not to mention during my pregnancy, my morning sickness was at night and joint pain woke me up every hour or so even if I wasn't sick, so I haven't had a good night sleep in over two years, no exaggeration. Did I mention that my last two pregnancies I've had symphysis pubis dysfunction really bad? And was in a wheelchair much of the time? And that my pelvis has had to recover and I'm so incredibly out of shape...
Anyway, since I only have to jog three times a week, I jog whenever she's slept well. Usually that works out fine, as long as I'm not picky. At first I was trying to space the days apart, but that's just too many variables and I always ended up missing days. This week I jogged Monday and Tuesday, but then she's pulled all-nighters every other night this week and now it's Saturday night and I've only jogged twice.
So what do you do if the only time you can exercise is the morning and your baby kept you up all night? If I've gotten a decent night's sleep, that extra time in the morning is better served with a jog, and I feel awesome, but I've tried jogging after baby kept me up all night and the rest of the day (and the next few days) was so awful. It would be awful whether or not I go jogging, but if I can get that extra hour or so of sleep, I'm that much better off. On those days I feel like I'm running on fumes as it is and I'm a beginner coming back from long periods of being sedentary. But on the other hand, I really DO like jogging and I don't want to make excuses because excuses don't get me fit. But then again, I don't want to do more than I can do because that will get me nowhere in the long term. But then again, feeling tired is the main reason I took up jogging. I'm sick of feeling tired and not being able to move. You have no idea how much two entire pregnancies of immobility makes you appreciate the ability to get up, walk out the door, and go running! It's great... when I've slept.
Anyone else trying to deal with sleep deprivation and early morning jogging? When the weather gets nicer, I can take the kids out during the day on my bike with two kids in the trailer and one on the bike seat (bare in mind that I have to take all three kids wherever I go and the only thing I have that carries all three is a wagon). Also, it's February in Canada and half the time I'm jogging through snow, and I could bundle up one kid and take them out in a jogging stroller, but three kids through the snow is a bit much, and there aren't many strollers for three kids, and my 4-year-old is gigantic and he doesn't fit into any stroller I know of.
If the weather were better, if my baby slept through the night, if I could fit my kids in some kind of jogging stroller... all these things will get better with time, but what do I do in the mean time? So should I just get some sort of indoor exercise thing or something? I really like outdoor exercise because I think it's better, and I also have a dog that needs exercise anyway, so it seems silly to exercise inside when I just have to walk her anyway. And I like being outside so much more, even this time of year! I've been out in some nasty wind and snow and I still prefer it to a treadmill.
I'm so sorry that this has become so difficult for you. I've been there. I didn't work out much until my kids were sleeping better. I always felt like I was being lazy, but I just couldn't give up the sleep. I joined a gym recently that has great child care and my kids all do well there. For me that's been huge, because it means that I can go in the morning after we are all ready to start the day. I should say, however, that my kids are 2, 5 and 8. It's a lot easier now that the youngest is a toddler and happily goes where his older siblings go. I would think about that or try some videos or other indoor activity. You can go out for a walk or a jog on the days when you feel able to, but when you can't you've got a back up. Good luck to you!
You've had 2 babies in 2 years with tough pregnancies? And still night nursing a 10 month old and parenting a toddler? Wow!!! I guess I just wanted to say that you should go really easy on yourself - you're in a tough place. That doesn't mean you don't need the exercise and it won't help a ton, but don't add beating yourself up for "making excuses". You've got some good ones.
-I'd give up on the idea of a "routine" program like C25K; I feel like it will stress you out. Instead, go jogging whenever you can and do a run-walk program based on how you feel. Some people have described this as walk til you're bored then run til you're tired - and alternate. You'll still build fitness and will find yourself running longer and longer, but on a schedule that fits your needs. Know that it will get easier when the weather turns and you can be outside with the kids.
-I don't know what your partner does or how late he gets home, but can you ask him one evening a week to take the kids for just 45 minutes as soon as he gets home so you can go out. It's just 45 minutes once/week and maybe you can try to have dinner prepped so you guys can just eat as soon as you get home or they can eat without you that one night. It could be soup, salad, bread night, for instance. Then can he also give you an hour on one of the weekend days? Same idea. Then you only have one morning a week when you have to get up early to get your running in; if you miss it, no biggie- you've still gotten 2 day. And sometimes you might get a 4th day in. I know partners can have rough schedules, but it seems to me that unless he's working 60-70 hour weeks, your partner should be able to free up 2 hours/week to take the kids by himself so you can devote time to yourself and your health.
-When the weather gets warm, plan longer family outings on weekends around physical activity: a hike with infant in carrier on mom; toddler in backpack on dad and 4 year old walking; a bike the way you described but with one parent pulling the trailer and the other the bike seat; swimming outings where each parent can take turns doing 15 minutes of laps while the other plays with the kids/builds sandcastles/etc. Things will be SO much better in the summer. This weather has sucked!
-Do you have a friend who would come watch the kids for an hour once or twice a week? Or a mom or dad friend you could do a little co-op with? Someone must be in the same position as you.
Good luck. I just did c25K this fall and am now up to an 8 mile run and 24 miles/week. It really is fabulous and I know what you mean about your energy. I'd try to find just a couple of hours for now and call on help, and then plan to do more as the weather gets better and the kids get older. Once your oldest starts kindergarten, I might invest in a double jogging stroller so you can take the younger kids out (if they're not too old).
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