I decided that I needed an excuse to workout when my 3rd son was a few months old. With three kids, there are so many excuses I could give NOT to workout – the physical labor exerted on a daily basis to keep up with my sons being one of them. But I needed an outlet and running seemed like a good option. So I signed up for my first half marathon and ran it when my baby was 7 months old. And, in my post-run high, I signed up for another. I am no expert, but I have learned a few things along the way. Here are tips for running a half marathon – according to a busy mom.
The Serious Tips:
1. Give yourself plenty of time to train especially if you only have time to run a few times per week. This will give you time to build your mileage slowly. I typically run 2-3 times per week and do a short, medium, and long run. I add one mile to each run every week and usually max out around 10-11 miles two weeks prior to race day. Some weeks are better than others. Some weeks my short run consists of me chasing my two year old around the house trying to get his shirt on. But that’s okay. If you are reading this it probably means you decided you want to do something for yourself. We aren’t trying to break any world records here – don’t be too hard on yourself. (Which reminds me – take everything I say for what it’s worth. These are amateur tips that happen to work for me.)
2. Don’t let long runs intimidate you. Sometimes I feel like HELL three miles into a long run and just want to stop. If I force myself to keep going 9 times out of 10 I feel better by the next mile because I have either a) settled into a nice rhythm, b) become numb and can’t feel my legs, or c) realized that this is my “alone time” and if I end this run now, my alone time is over…..usually that is enough to get me over the hump and keep going. Click here for a PRINTABLE TRAINING GUIDE!!
3. If you are training with a jogging stroller (a.k.a. “resistance training”) keep in mind these very official mileage conversions:
Single jogger: add one mile i.e. 5 miles really counts as 6 miles – and take 30-45 seconds off your pace
Double jogger: add 2 miles, i.e 5 miles really counts at 7 miles – and take 45-60 seconds off your pace
….or just have someone watch your kids and run alone.
4. Hydrate enough but not so much that you have to pee every 2 miles. Let’s be real, we all know that after having babies we have bladder “issues”. My advice? Pee like 5 times before you go for a run, plan your route near accessible bathrooms, and if all else fails….. wear black.
The Fun Stuff:
5. Rock out. Have a bangin’ playlist of music to listen to and update it regularly so you don’t get bored. This music is for YOU! There is no judgement, there is no one telling you to change the channel. This playlist is 100% whatever floats your boat. Here is a snippet of my current playlist for some inspiration:
You are laughing about Black Cat aren’t you? Go ahead laugh, then put it on your playlist and see if it doesn’t amp you up just a little bit. #ilovethe80sandproudofit
6. Take your mind off the running. Back in my glory days I was a mid-distance runner and would literally plan out my thoughts for each 200 meters of my 800 meter race. I would do this to keep my mind off of the pain I was experiencing. Sounds lovely, right? But seriously, when you are running a 10 mile run, you have a LOT of time to think and NO ONE to interrupt your thoughts (yes, persistent 4 year old child I am talking about you). If you think about the run the whole time you will FEEEEEL the PAIN. I write blog posts in my head during my long runs, I think about what I want to make for dinner for the week, sometimes I think about my pony tail swaying the the breeze because hair feels no pain. Oh, and sometimes I pretend I am running naked through a jungle…… Weird, I know. But once you become a runner, you become a little weird. But anyway, try it. It’s sort of a liberating thought.
Dress the Part:
7. Invest in some cute running clothes. This is so lame and superficial, but if I am going to spend $30 on a babysitter just so I can go for an 8 mile run I damn well better feel good about how I look while I’m doing it. Oh, and its likely you won’t have time to shower after your run, but at least you will look “sporty chic” when you see other moms in carline pick up. Here are some of my favorites:
Or my favorite brand these days – Fabletics!
8. Make sure you are prepared with the appropriate gear:
No, this is NOT a fanny pack! It’s a running belt. Big difference. And where else are you going to put your car keys? In the cleavage is no longer an option thanks the the children that sucked the life out of me, so a running belt is the obvious choice. (No really, breast-feeding is a beautiful thing and thanks to dedicating 30 months of my life to it I can say for damn well sure that I’m not getting any black eyes on my runs these days…….). Throw one of these in there as well and you are hands-free and ready to go:
Consider getting some running sleeves. Distance running requires some smart layering. These can easily be pulled off once you warm up and then tucked into your
fanny pack running belt.
Before the Big Race:
9. Hydrate like a camel in the days prior to your race – especially the day before. You won’t want to drink too much the morning of the race (see number 8), but I am pretty sure what you drink the day before counts in my non-scientific/non-professional opinion. Of course you need to drink before and during the race, but pre-race day hydration is key.
10. Stay off your feet as much as possible the day prior to your race. Meaning, enlist your hubby to herd the sheep.
11. Don’t do anything different. Don’t trick your body out by doing new things on account of the big race. Your body is about to be pushed to the limit, don’t add pressure by confusing it. If you normally enjoy a glass of wine at night, go for it. If you normally go to bed at 10pm, then do the same. If you normally drink coffee and eat a banana before a run, don’t switch it up now.
12. And one more piece of inspiration: If you gave birth to a child, you can run 13.1 miles. That is all.
Now. Who is ready to dust off them sneakers??
Need more running inspiration? Follow my Work it Out board on Pinterest!