Mama Runs a Marathon: A Beginners Guide to Training for a Race


run training

With the rise in popularity of the film Brittany Runs a Marathon I’ve heard many of my non-runner friends say that they were inspired enough by Brittany O’Neill’s story that they wanted to take up running. Why not? There are many proven physical and mental health benefits of running, and it is something that can be done almost anytime or anywhere with minimal equipment and no expensive memberships needed. Its virtually the perfect workout regimen for a busy mom. If you are ready to hit the track and train to run, here are a few tips to get you started:

Set Your Goal

Want to run a mile? Tackle a 5k? Cross a half or full marathon off your bucket list? Pick your goal (or goals) and find a race that interests you that is a few months out. While we all have a friend of a friend who ran a half-marathon without training, you should ensure that you have enough time to train safely for your race.

Get Evaluated

As with any new exercise program, be sure you discuss your goal with your doctor to ensure that you are healthy enough to complete your training program.

Get the Right Equipment

The right shoe is vital to your training program. Using the wrong shoe or a shoe with too many miles can lead to injury. Your best bet is to visit a running store that specializes in shoe fittings prior to starting your training plan. They will evaluate your feet and your stride and ensure that you have the best shoe for you.

Whatever Your Running Goal, Find the Right Training Plan

There are hundreds of training plans available, so do some research to find the best plan for you. As you are researching and identifying your training timeline, be honest with yourself about your current fitness level. If you do not have a lot of cardiovascular endurance, a plan like the Couch to 5k program might be a great option for you. Other plans, like those by Hal Higdon, may have you running as much as three miles in your first week, so if that doesn’t feel doable, be sure to build in a few weeks of pre-training to your timeline.

Carve Out Time

As a mom, this is often times the hardest part of training for me. I’ve found the best way to keep myself on track is to put my training plan into my calendar. If I treat my runs or cross-training sessions like an important appointment, I’m much less likely to skip them!

Find Someone to Support You

There are times in your training where you might be feeling down or like you can’t do it, so finding someone to support your goals is key. Identify someone you trust: a spouse, a friend, or a parent, perhaps, who supports your goal. Give them your training schedule and ask them to check in with you on days where you have workouts planned. Better yet, find someone to train with you and be each other’s best cheerleader!

Understand that Walking is Not the Enemy

When I first started training, anytime I needed to walk, I felt like I was failing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. For most beginners, the goal is just to finish the race, so covering the distance is the most important thing! It is more than ok to stop and catch your breath and let your heart rate come down a bit, just pick it back up once you feel ready again.

There you have it! Now lace up your sneakers, grab those headphones and hit the road, you’ll be crossing the finish line before you know it! 


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