How to train for a marathon as a working, busy mum.
After running her first marathon at 22, Natalie vowed she would never do it again.
But on a whim, 16 years and two children later, she’s ready to take on this year’s London Marathon!
We asked Natalie how she prepared to take on the incredible 26.2 mile course around some of the most iconic landmarks in London, and how she managed to fit it in around work, kids and life!
DITCH THE TRAINING PLAN
“Once or twice in the past, I’ve tried to follow a training plan before a race. As soon as something went wrong though and I missed a run, I’d totally lose motivation. I also do other sports, mainly swimming both in the pool and in the river. I didn’t want to lose those sessions each week, so my running had to fit around them.
“So instead of a training plan, I did something different. I knew roughly how far my longest runs each week needed to be. Those would be my priority. On the days I wasn’t doing a long run, I’d do a shorter run with my dog or go for a swim.”
PUTTING LIFE FIRST
“Years ago when I used to train for a run or triathlon, it could be quite all-consuming. Spare time would be taken up with training. I’d read about it, run with friends, go out on bike rides and go to organised club swimming sessions. Since becoming a mum though, things have been different. “I’m incredibly lucky to be self-employed. This means that I can work when it suits me as long as I meet my deadlines. So the children and home life come first and work comes second. Putting sport as a firm third.
"Luckily though, one of my responsibilities at home has always been to walk the dog. When I’m training for a race, we simply up the pace and the dog gets a run instead of a walk most days.
“I’ve taken to doing a long run one morning a week while the children are in school. This does mean working more evenings and early mornings, but it works for me. Similarly, if there’s a day when I can’t get out at my usual time, I’ll happily run in the evening or early morning before the school run instead. As a parent, it’s important to fit it in when you can.
“I’d love to be able to say that I was aiming for a great time in the London marathon and that I’ll run every step of the way. These days though, that’s not realistic.
“Whilst I am managing to fit in training, it’s just enough to get me round. I know that come race day, I’ll have the miles in my legs to complete the marathon. Any aspirations to run it in four hours have gone out of the window and I’ll be proud of my achievement if I get to the end and have that finishing medal around my neck.
“Because as a mum, I won’t have just run a marathon. I’ll have found the time to train for a marathon despite all my other commitments. I’ll be showing my children that sport is fun and accessible. I hope they’ll be proud of me, and inspired to take part in sports themselves in the future.”
AN OPPORTUNITY TO HELP
“I was incredibly lucky to get a ballot place in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon. So, I wanted to use the opportunity to raise money for some brilliant charities. I chose Ronald McDonald House Charities UK because I have seen the incredible work they do.
“The Houses are a home from home for people at their time of greatest need, allowing families to stay together. What’s more, they are bright, happy and supportive places that offer an environment where families can relax and children can play. I hope that the money I raise by running the London marathon can help Ronald McDonald House Charities UK to be there for even more families in the future.”
Find out more about Natalie’s running journey and more of what she gets up to here