Maybe I’m crazy. At least I keep thinking that as I train for my first half-marathon 6 months after giving birth. I keep asking myself “Who thought of this crazy idea?!” and yet the answer is always the same – “me.” For years now I’ve wanted to do a half marathon but the time was never right – or so I told myself. I was always good at coming up with excuses. And in all honesty, I do still think they were good excuses. But after our second child I thought – no more wasting time! Let’s do this thing! I was very gung-ho…and now I find myself vacillating between excitement for the actual run and thinking over and over that I must be crazy to think I can do this.

After all, it’s not just the physical aspects of it – not that I have ever run 13.1 miles consecutively in my whole life – but TIME. Time? What’s that? And so I’ve apparently become the crazy mom that runs to pick her eldest up from preschool, does a little extra leg, and runs home. With a double jogging stroller. God bless the other parents that humor me as I stagger in, sweaty and toting my baby. And God bless my children that humor me – my youngest catching a catnap here and there in the stroller and my oldest shouting “Faster! Faster!”

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I somehow managed to rope my husband in on this half marathon. Well, actually “rope” is the wrong word. Although he didn’t have any aspirations to do such a thing, he is doing it to support me. And thus he started running while I was still pregnant and sitting on the couch eating ice cream. “Way to go, hon! I’ll be right here when you get back!” I’d yell after him. Yep, this guy actually ran with the double jogger before we had our second child.

Here Are 5 Things To Know (Helpful Hints) Before Starting Your Training…

1. Follow a training plan.

You don’t need to follow it to the letter. Know upfront that you won’t run every day your plan says you need to. Things happen. Life happens. And that’s ok. But I highly suggest roughly following a plan. The plan is the plan for a reason – a gradual increase in distance which will prevent injury. After my first son and before my second I did a 7 mile race and did not properly train for it. I increased my mileage too quickly and ended up with such a terrible stress fracture that my orthopedist said if I didn’t lay off running and let it heal completely, I’d never run again. If you don’t train smart, you’ll end up sidelined.

2. Manage your own expectations (aka know that running with a jogging stroller is hard).

On the one hand the jogging stroller can be distracting because you are either talking to your children or making sure nothing (food, sippy cup, toy, etc) is being thrown overboard. On the other hand it is quite the workout and you may need to take [more] walking breaks. I kid you not that every time I run with the jogging stroller I think “is the brake on?” because it’s just that much harder.

3. Your family will thank you for training!

You will be more cheerful. Enough said.

4. If you are breastfeeding, then running takes some strategy.

Feed your baby or pump before running. Everyone is different, but from what I gather most of us need to double up on sports bras. Make sure you have one that fits well or else by mile 1 you will be uncomfortable.

5. Get your family on board (see #3 above).

My husband has trained my son to shout “Yay Mommy!” at the top of his lungs when I get home from a solo run. Silly? Sure. Feels great? You betcha!

So as the weeks and miles tick off, we will run on! Not too long before the BIG DAY now! I can’t wait to get there – and to cross the finish line!

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Alisa Brooks

Alisa Brooks

Alisa Brooks is a nurse that has worked in both fertility and neonatal ICU. She lives with her husband and two wonderful sons outside of Washington, D.C.