Can you imagine filling the roles of mom, wife, corporate management consultant, runner, and fitness blogger? The thought makes our head spin, but that's precisely what Katie McFarland of St. Louis, Missouri does every day. Oh, and did we mention that she's currently training for a Half Ironman?
As the mom of a 6-year old son and 4-year old daughter, McFarland has two key nuggets of wisdom to share with new running moms or running moms-to-be. First, she says that "mom guilt" is a real thing. You can acknowledge it, but don't beat yourself up over it. Second, be realistic with yourself. Set appropriate fitness goals that you have the capability to achieve.
"If I don't run, I feel as if something is missing," comments McFarland. "Running has really helped me maintain a sense of normalcy in my life. After starting a family, you have to take it one day at a time. Look at it as an opportunity to start over and rebuild," she adds.
McFarland's blog, Moms Little Running Buddy, states that she ran her first 5K in 2004 and fell in love with the feeling of crossing the finish line. She says that it was an accomplishment she could not forget, so she continued to train and found herself at the starting line of her first half marathon in 2006. Since then she has completed over 15 half marathons, 1 full marathon, and has now started to "dip her toe" in the triathlon world by preparing for her first Half Ironman.
Although, McFarland does understand that some moms may struggle with setting time aside for themselves. "I've come to realize that running makes me an overall better person. That, in turn, translates into being a better mom," she says. "Running helps me handle stress, and keep that stress off of my kids. It also gives me my own identity so that I don't feel inclined to live vicariously through them or ask them to be someone they aren’t. I can still have and reach my own personal goals through running," she adds.
Learning to let go of rigid schedules and expectations are also part of McFarland's solution for long-term running success. "Some people think they have to run or train at a certain time of day, but you really just have to find what works once you have a family," she advises. "I run in the evenings because I think it works as a fantastic buffer between my full-time corporate job and my job as a mom."
We're confident that Katie McFarland will continue to inspire running moms to set new goals because she truly practices what she preaches. As soon as one Run's Done, she doesn’t waste any time moving onto the next.
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning freelance writer, blogger, and runner based in Estero, Florida. Her publishing credits include several outdoor-related web sites and magazines including USA Today. In addition to multiple 5K running events, she has completed the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon, Naples Daily News Half Marathon, and looks forward to tackling her first full marathon within the next two years.
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