Let me just say that I’m about the last person to be giving you advice. Me, the lady with the doubts and the nervous stomach who hasn’t run a marathon herself in over a decade.
But I finished the Twin Cities Marathon this weekend. And today, I registered for another marathon …and four more half-marathons.
Because I’m hooked again. After 11 years of motherhood and focusing on just that…and almost only that…which is wonderful. But now I’m doing something for me…
So here’s what I learned over the past four months as I trained and juggled family time and cleaning the bathroom and working, and ran my first marathon in many, many years – and some are serious, and some are not – but I’m hoping that maybe they will help you get to the finish line…Because as mothers we deserve four or so hours of ‘me’ time now and then.
10 Tips For Moms For Running And Finishing A Marathon
1. Set realistic goals. I used to run sub-four hour marathons. But I knew from my training that I would not be running that time on Sunday. My training told me that my time would be about 4:15-4:30. And I finished at 4:26. Yes, my slowest time ever – but I finished exactly how I trained. And train how you feel comfortable. Don’t get injured in your training. Listen to your body. You’re busy – you’ve also got a job, kids, laundry, dinner, dishes, mopping and allthethings – focus on what you can focus on and put the time into what you can.
2. And in saying that – make time to train. I know I was crazy and did my long runs at 3am..but it’s because I put my family first and don’t want to carve out time away from my kids. So I run when my kids sleep.
3. Trust your training. I doubted myself big-time, but I trained hard for four months and knew my body and mind would carry me through. Know that you are ready.
4. Don’t worry about not having the most fabulous, hi-tech clothing. Yes – spend money on good shoes – but who cares what you wear – even wicking crap gets wet. Dress for the weather, dress comfortably, and dress in something crazy if it makes your family find you easier. And don’t forget a cute headband. And maybe one day they will invent make-up that lasts through 26 miles – but until they do…skip the mascara. Everyone looks like a half-dead zombie when the marathon is over.
5. Listen to music. Now, this goes against everything I’ve ever done. I’ve been such a purist and no-music-runner for so many years. But I gotta tell you – at mile 22 and the lowest of my low a little Low by Flo-Rida kept me going. The race is long. The music made it so much shorter. And I had all songs with super-explicit lyrics that I would never let my kids listen to.
6. Pack light and smart. I know as moms we tend to over-pack for everything and our purses are a pit that holds enough to sustain a family for about five days…but don’t bring all of that with you. I only brought some gels with me. And Jed brought me more at mile 21 in case I was running out. So bring some fuel. The only other items I could’ve used was kleenex as I really suck at the farmer nose blow thing and honestly I don’t want my kids to think it’s okay to do that. So I need kleenex for the nose.
7. Enjoy the crowds! Thank them! Give each and every kid you can a high-five if they’ve got their hands out there. I swear using the energy from the spectators gives you that extra kick to keep going. Be the mom on the course and also tell your fellow runners how awesome they are as you pass them and leave them in the dust. And hand out gummy bears.
8. Know where your people are going to be..and have people. We made a plan ahead of time for where Jed and the kids would be – so I had something to look forward to – and seeing them at miles 5,12,21 and the finish line is what kept me going. And getting extra kisses and hugs along the way was better than any Powerade. I’ve never had my own ‘little-spectators’ before..and something about having a little voice yell out “You got this, MOM!” is certainly the best cheer I will ever hear. I admit I cried a few times because of THEM. I have people!
9. Relax. Remember that you aren’t going to win – and sure maybe you want a PR – but you know just remember to enjoy the race. It’s really just a four hour party. Run hard and run focused and run to finish – but remember to run to have fun too. Smile because frowning makes you look old…like this…
10. Dig deep. You know how when you have a baby and the last few moments before the kid is out you think that you cannot do this for one more second? And that you will never do this again? Yeah, men have no idea what pain is. Muscle cramping and thinking you’re going to collapse on the road at mile 23 has NOTHING on childbirth. You’re a mom – you’ve made miracles and no amount of pain will ever compare. So remember that and dig deep to get past those last few miles because trust me, as soon as you cross the finish line you’re going to be signing up to do it again.
Because the prize is so worth it. YOU GOT THIS!