Mother Runner: This Busy Mom Shows You How It's Done

Ever wonder how to balance taking care of kids while chasing big running goals?

Just ask Morgan Boland. This mother runner shows you how it's done.

In our interview with Morgan (mom of three), you'll get...

  • Insight into just how hard it is to balance running and motherhood, while keeping everybody happy
  • Tips for managing big running goals when you have kids
  • How to balance running, parenting, and self-care
  • Benefits of being a mother runner
  • Advice for moms trying to do it all (including running)
  • Top 5 running gift ideas for moms who run (FYI...Sunday, May 8 is Mother's Day)

Is there even time for running? The business of being a mom...

Moms have one of the hardest jobs out there: raising tiny humans to become grown adults capable of actually functioning in the modern world. 

They’re responsible for:

  • Turning a ball of cells into a real live person.
  • Teaching that person how to exist on earth.
  • Maybe even thrive while they’re at it.

Considering how I barely feel like a human at all some days, I can only begin to wrap my head around the challenge of braving the erratic rollercoaster of life and bringing along a mini-me along for the ride.

But somehow, mothers do.

They earn their superhuman powers by just making it through each day still holding onto their sanity. 

Frankly, that’s more than enough of an ask for this breed of saint on earth. 

Then there’s a special subset of this already admirable crew: mother runners.

They manage to juggle:

  • Parenting.
  • Working.
  • Keeping their own heads above water, and...
  • Chasing athletic goals for themselves all at once.

Most runners working towards a big race, new distance, or a faster pace easily understand the discipline and organization it takes to fit in all the training that’s required.

And there’s only more where that comes from for mother runners who have to balance their own schedules with the seemingly endless needs of their dependents. 

FYI...It's Mother's Day on Sunday

I don’t mean to make a dad’s job seem easy in comparison. 

Fathers definitely put in their fair share of parenting effort. And it can be just as hard to get out the door for a run as a dad as it is for a mom.

Especially in light of how traditional family structures have changed as more women make their way back into the workforce more often instead of automatically taking on the role of primary caretaker. 

However, the pregnancy process puts added strain on the female body that men don’t experience as part of parenthood. 

  • That kind of physical and mental stress has lasting effects on women.
  • Not only for the nine months leading up to childbirth but long after that baby takes its first breaths.
  • Pregnancy transforms a mother’s body into a complete home for another entity, and doesn’t immediately “bounce back”. 
  • Coming back to running after all that involves learning how to move in a body that might feel more like a stranger’s than your own for the foreseeable future. 

Can you be a mother runner + do everything else?

For women who do adopt the role of “stay at home mom”, children are more naturally attached to them as the primary caregiver. 

They’re used to their mother being the one to fulfill their everyday needs.

It’s tough for them to release that bond, even temporarily, while mom heads out for a run. 

All this to say, mother runners face some big obstacles that even their partners might not fully understand.

  • It’s harder than just making the time to run. 
  • It’s also familiarizing yourself with the new you.
  • Teaching your kids to cope with time away from you.
  • Coping with your own guilt when you leave them — all within the limited availability that you do have in parenthood.

Discover the perks of running through motherhood

Though it’s not all a struggle by any means. There are certain perks that come with running through motherhood. 

  • You have built-in cheerleaders who think that you’re the best thing to ever lace up running shoes.
  • You get to model the benefits of being active and setting goals.
  • You appreciate the time you dedicate to running even more because you know how precious it is.

For better or for worse, running as a mother means buckling up for an adventure. But don’t just take our word for it...

Meet Mother Runner Morgan Boland

Morgan Boland of @milesthroughmotherhood, runner and mother to three young bucks, is here to walk us through the challenges and advantages of being a mother runner. 

And, in honor of Mother’s Day next week, she drops some helpful hints for favors and gifts that make life as a mother runner a little bit easier (even if it’s just a little something to put an extra smile on her face). 

Mother runner Morgan Boland is a mom of three.

Q: What are some of your running goals right now?

Morgan: I’m mainly focusing on recovering strength. You do lose a lot of strength while pregnant, so it’s important to focus on rebuilding it in postpartum.

I’m also in half-marathon training. Half-marathons are great for me in postpartum because they’re still a commitment, but leave time for family.

My biggest goal is to do the Marine Corps marathon as maybe my first marathon, because my husband is a Marine. 

Morgan Bolan recently completed the New York City Half Marathon.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges of running through motherhood?

Morgan: Time management is more of a struggle than the physical piece.

I’m a pretty organized person, so I work with my husband at the beginning of the week to schedule it all out so we’re on the same page.

Timing can be tough, we have to figure it out so that I’m not taking time away from my family while still getting the time that I need.

Getting out the door brings a lot of guilt, when you’re on your way out and the kids are begging you to stay… but I know that the time away gives me more energy and patience to spend better time with them when I get back.

It’s important for me to have the space, even when it’s hard. You do have to learn how to balance their needs with your own.

Also, it’s hard to balance stress from running with stress from life. Stress is stress… and parenthood is stressful. I want to train hard, but sometimes I just can’t and just need to go with what the day brings. 

Morgan Bolan balances being a mom of three, along with running and training for races.

Q: What are some benefits of being a mother runner?

Morgan: My kids are my biggest cheerleaders. Every time they see a Brooks commercial on TV, they say, “look mom, it’s you!” which always makes me laugh. They love to see me run.

And running has honestly changed my life. As a mom, you don’t take a lot of time for yourself. But running:

  • Keeps me calm.
  • Makes me more positive, and...
  • Gives me so much patience as a mom. 

I’m a better person and mother because of running.

I get to show my kids that going after big goals is important, and that’s something I want to show them.

I want to prove to them that I’m not taking time away, but I’m spending time on myself to be better for them. 

Morgan Bolan shares her story about being a mother runner on Instagram at

Q: What motivates you to run?

Morgan: The effect that running has on me as a person and a mom keeps me going.

Honestly, people who have known me since before I started running would say there’s a night and day difference.

It can be such a special outlet for mothers. 

Not only are you doing something that gives you endorphins and makes you stronger and healthier. But it gives you confidence to do things that you didn’t think you could do. 

You can make time for yourself and come back as the best version of you. 

When Morgan Bolan decided to start running, she wanted to make it fun by wearing unique T-shirts, headbands, gear, and shoes.

Q: What advice do you have for other mother runners?


1. Communicate with your partner. It takes two to figure out your schedule. Talk it out, write it down, put it somewhere visible… 

  • Just make sure to ask, “Does this work for you?” and respect the other person’s time too. 
  • It really helps to make a clear schedule that the whole family can rely on. We plan out which are my days to wake up early and run, and which are his mornings to have to himself, so we know what to expect. 
  • If you're a single mom, tap into your network of friends. Coordinate play dates for run time. Use some babysitter time to fit in a run. Get a jogging stroller to take your littles with you. Have older kids bike or scooter along. If your gym has a daycare, use it while you put in some treadmill miles.

2. Plan ahead. It makes a huge difference to set your clothes out the night before, even plan your workouts the night before.

This takes the guesswork out, and keeps me engaged in my running. That way there aren’t any obstacles in the way from the moment I wake up. I can just dive right into my plan.

3. Remember that you’re not being selfish. You’re making yourself a better version of you. They’re going to thank you for that one day. 

Here are Morgan Bolan's top 5 Mother's Day gift ideas for mother runners.

Q: What are some fun gift ideas for mother runners?

Morgan: I’m a very serious person in many aspects of my life.

When I started running, I wanted it to be the fun part of my life. Running is one of the times where I let myself wear the fun colors, the goofy shirts, the headbands, you know.

So running gear and products that make me smile and take even one thing off of my mind make a huge difference in my attitude.

Here are some things that I love for that reason: 

  • Noxgear Tracer 2 Vest – A lot of moms have to run in the early morning or late at night when the sun’s not out. This vest lights up the night to help you feel safe during those times. 
  • Bakline Running Tops – These all feature fun or inspiring running phrases to reignite some motivation when your energy is feeling low. Morgan’s top pick, “The Future is Female Runners”, is the perfect nudge to get out there and fill the world with more of the girl power it desperately needs. 
  • Sarah Marie Tops – Make light of your exhaustion! Mothering is hard work, but these tops for runners might just help you laugh some of the stress away. “Mama Needs a Run” is Morgan’s favorite. 
  • Lilac Market Headbands – These headbands come in a variety of colors and patterns to fit any running (or lifestyle) outfit, and are one of those little tricks to just make you feel more put together when everything around you feels like it’s descending into chaos. 
  • Erica Sarah Jewelry – You can get these necklaces engraved with your kids’ initials, prints, handwriting, or something that reminds you of them while you’re out running. You can take a little piece of them with you to keep them close when leaving feels hard, and to help you remember why you’re taking that time for yourself. 
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Lucie Hanes
Eagle, CO
8 Following

Ultrarunner, rock climber, occasional artist, fond of good wordplay. Small human on big adventures with big goals and big fee...


Brynn Cunningham Wonderful story! Thanks for capturing motherhood so well :)

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