Jenny Huang, 42, is a true role model for many busy working parents who also do running.
She is a top runner in Singapore with several podium finishes to her name. For example, some of Jenny’s running achievements in the past, have included winning the 2013 Sundown Ultra Marathon (Women’s 100km) and the Great Eastern Women’s Run 2014 (Closed Category 21.1km).
But that’s not all. This amazing Wonder Woman is also a mother of two teenage kids, a 15-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy. And Jenny also holds down a full-time job as a Senior Physiotherapist at Urban Rehab (Orchard).
How does the runner juggle her time so effectively – and manage to get everything done?
I asked Jenny to share some tips about how she is able to juggle her work, family and running commitments – and still have time to breathe. Read on, to find out what Jenny had to share with PrisChew.com.
1. Plan your running time around school and work schedules
Says Jenny, “I always prefer morning runs as I have the most energy and it boosts metabolism for the rest of the day. I always feel more energetic after a run than when I don’t.”And after dropping off her kids at school or sending them to the bus, Jenny wastes no time getting home. She added, “Time pushes me to make my 10km or 8km count as tempo – to get ready for work. But if it’s a longer run that I need, I will wake up a lot earlier to squeeze in a run before my kids’ morning routines.”
However, Jenny sometimes does her running at nights too. She said, “I eat an early dinner with my kids. I always make sure that at dinner time, we sit and talk because it’s natural, easy and great quality time. An early dinner means about 5.30pm and then I run at 8.00pm. Night time runs are great too, but there are a lot more people on the walkways so there’s more weaving.”
2. Plan your routes
Said Jenny, “Always know where and how long you’ll be running to fit that into your schedule. Know if you’re able to run in the rain, as long as there’s no thunder and lighting. Also, know if it’s safe to run after a certain time, say late at nights or early in the mornings. Take more control over your runs so that you will feel less anxious about them.”
She added, “And if it is raining, there’s always the treadmill.”
3. Have goalsSaid Jenny, “There’s nothing like running, but there is also nothing like running with a focus!”
She added, “If running is new and you’re just finding ME-time, make it a goal to run longer and happier. Make it a goal to run at least four to five times per week for 30 minutes. Set a goal to do your first 5km race or do a fun run.”
But she stressed that it’s important to be reasonable and realistic with your goals though. She explained, “Goals will motivate and inspire you to move out of your comfort zone and push yourself to greater limits.”
4. Simplify your family life
Said Jenny, “If at all possible, get friends to help with taking kids to extracurricular activities after school or weekends. Split up the responsibility between you and the other care-takers, to free up more of your time so that you can fit in a run.”
She continued, “If the kids are taking music lessons, I have always gotten teachers to come to my house too – so that I can run! It’s like babysitting with a bonus.”
However, Jenny stressed that you should not over-commit to too many school activities at the same time. She explained, “Pick only the ones that your kids and yourself believe is more meaningful. This happened especially when my kids were younger – school excursions that means taking time off work, plus having to spend lots of time walking and helping out in the classroom, really zaps the energy out of anyone!”
5. Make it a routineSaid Jenny, “Consistency is the key. The more you run, the stronger you get. The more you run, the more efficient your body becomes.”
She added, “Also, run on days when you feel like you don’t want to, and you’ll appreciate why you got off your mommy butt! But do remember to have rest days or cross training days – don’t run everyday.”
6. Balance the “No Guilt Me-Time”
Said Jenny, “As a parent, I know that taking Me-time sometimes makes me feel guilty when I should be spending time with my kids. I mean, kids grow up so fast in a blink, and you want to cherish every second with them. But trust me, you are a better and more patient person and mom when you are able to fit in a run.”
She continued, “You are a role model for your kids to make them see that fitness is important and that taking care of yourself is important, too. As a mom, there’s nothing more important than taking care of yourself so that you can take care of the rest of the family.”
7. Feeling good means looking good. And shop for shoes.
Added Jenny, “Last but not least, I am a true believer that when you get more fit, the better you will feel – and the better your body works.”She continued, “Always makes sure that your shoes are right for you, too. You should never skimp on bad footwear when you are pounding thousands of steps in them. And if there is anything that hurts, just as you would treat your kids, take some time off, rest and find professional help if the pain lasts more than a week.”
And Jenny added that this will help you to become not only a better runner, but also a better parent. She explained, “In the long run, you will become a better Mom because you will inspire your kids, stay strong for yourself and your body – especially your bottom – will appreciate all that hard work that you have put in.”
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