Saturday, March 3, 2012

How to be a Running Mom

I'm a mom first, but before my babies came along, one of my labels was as a runner.  I started my running career pretty late.  I didn't run in high school or run on a team.  I ran because it was the only way I could manage my stress in college.  After a very short time, running became addictive.  I am addicted still today.  I can honestly say, and I know it's weird to many of you but, I LOVE RUNNING.  I love the runners high I get on long runs every 3-5 miles, I love how empowered I feel during and afterwards, I love feeling free and strong, I love the quiet alone time with my thoughts, my dreams, my realities, I love being a role model for my students and my kids, I love cutting down that stress one mile at a time.  I'm a runner, and I plan to be for a long time.  I run 5Ks, 10Ks, 15Ks, halfs, fulls, tris and everything in between.  I like a challenge.  I like to push my body to the limit.   

When my kiddos came along, running became a must-have in my life.  It was also something I had to really make the effort to find a place for in my hectic life.  With T, it was much easier to find time.  We tag-teamed him, and when he got old enough, he came with me in my trusty Performance Baby Jogger.  With B, it became much harder to fit it in.  But...I do it.  I do it because running is a piece of me I DO NOT want to give up.  Running, although somewhat selfish, makes me a better partner for my husband, mom to my kids and teacher to my students.  Running is important to me.  I make time.

Here's what I need on hand to be a successful running mom:
1. a patient and understanding hubby - Logging miles takes some time.  He's so supportive and understanding, and even joins in the training from time to time.
2. a support system - this can be Internet friends (I love running blogs, message boards, and the like), a running group, a neighbor you run or swap running stories with, a coworker you train with, whatever.
3. A good running stroller.  I would like to give you the end-all-be-all answer to the best one out there. cars and such a personal choice.  There are pluses and minuses to each type.  I know the most popular right now is the B.O.B.  I, myself, have a Baby Jogger performance, and it's been good to me.  My advice is to buy what YOU like, not what others need/want/recommend.  A jogger is going to have different needs than a true competitive runner, a mom with two will have different wants, and a mom hoping to expand her family would have others. 
4. A waterproof running watch and/or a heart rate monitor to log your workouts, splits, times, etc.  I prefer the Iron Man series watches (you can get one at Target that is waterproof) and the Polar heart rate monitors. 
5.  An amazing pair of running shoes.  I am a huge supporter of the Mizuno brand, but it's such a personal choice.  My recommendation, go to a running specialty store, not your local Walmart, to pick out running shoes.  Take the time to try some out (they let you try them on a treadmill or down the street before you buy) and have the "experts" watch you run to recommend the right shoes for you.  Don't just buy the prettiest shoe.  Running shoes are ugly.  You just have to accept it.  Also, don't run on shoes longer than 6-8 months (depending on mileage).   
6.  Access to a treadmill.  Treadmill workouts are good for hill workouts that you can control, or when you have to get in a workout quickly (as a mommy, I get that).  We finally invested in a treadmill for our basement, and it was an incredible buy.  I bought the Livestrong Series from their website and all the proceeds went to cancer research. 
7.  Access to a track.  Speed work is key.  I used to take Ty in his stroller, sit him in a shady spot with a snack and run sprints.  Speed work is key to a good race. 
8.  A gym with a daycare.  Sometimes you have to rely on other people to help you get it in.  You have to remind yourself, as I do, that you're a better mom if you get in your run. 

The bottom line is, anyone can be a runner.  That's the beautiful thing about this sport.  When I stand at the starting line amongst fellow runners, they come in all shapes and sizes, all ability levels, a huge range of ages, and don't all look like classic runners.  You can do it too.  Even if running isn't your workout of choice, find some way you can cut down your stress and feel like you again. honor of this post, I'd like to put my running goals for 2012 out there, so that I stay accountable:
1. Run 2 sub-3:50 marathons
2. Break 23 minutes in a 5K
3. get over my fear of swimming in crowds and complete a triathlon
4. Beat my PR in a half marathon
5. investigate a new jogging stroller (possibly a double)

Happy Running!


  1. go for it!!! this sounds like fabulous advice! I took the easy way out and dropped my kids off in the babysitting room while I worked out!!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.
    happy March!

  2. You rock! You inspire me to get back out there and walk (my version of running)!


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