I ran my fifth half marathon on Saturday, just 2 weeks shy of my 30th birthday. It was terrible but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the 175(ish) miles that I ran over the past 10 weeks – while pushing a jogging stroller up the hilly streets of Tacoma.
My husband, a working musician, travels a lot in the summer. It’s the busy festival season for him so the majority of my long weekend runs were done with the baby in tow. Here are some things I learned about training for a half marathon as a working [semi-single] mama:
1) Take care of yourself: Drink water, get lots of rest, eat well. All those things we intend to do, you really must do when you’re running 15 – 20 miles a week. Tired and sick moms are the worst moms so take care of yourself!
2) Bring all the things: Although pushing a stroller with a toddler in it is taxing, it was nice to be able to have reinforcements. I brought little toys, snacks, water (for both of us), sunglasses, hats, etc. If the baby gets fussy you’ll have things to occupy him. One time I brought the tablet and he “colored” on it during the run.
3) Lower your expectations: This is a difficult one for me. I was a personal trainer and I ran a 1:50:00 half my first try – when I was 20! Ten years later I expect those same results – even though I haven’t run that fast in years. What you need to do is have realistic expectations. If it’s your first race, your goal should be to finish without getting injured. You can work on your times later. For seasoned runners, dont expect to break any records while training with a jogging stroller. Expect frequent stops and slower times – and maybe even missing a few runs due to screaming fits. On my 7 mile run kiddo wasn’t having it so we turned around and I only ran about 5 that day. If I’m going to do this again I will allow myself more than 10 weeks to build up mileage. My time on Saturday was about 6 minutes longer than my goal but still better than the race I did in 2010 so I’m happy.
4) Ask for help: If you just need your “you” time, dont be afraid to ask for help. Schedule your runs while your spouse is home to watch the kiddo(s). Or, ask a friend or a relative to watch the kiddo while you run. Running is a great time to think, process and de-stress so don’t be afraid to ask for help!