Five Marathon Running Training Tips for Moms

A big thanks to Kelly L. McNelis, Ph.D., for this great fit mom guest blog with her top 5 marathon running training tips for moms. Kelly is a Social-Personality Psychologist, Certified Health and Wellness Coach, and owner of New Leaf Wellness, LLC. You can read more about Kelly and her wellness business at her website

Kelly McNeilis

Kelly McNelis, fit mom and featured blogger, with her girls.


Last month, I crossed “run a marathon” off my bucket list. I went into the race with tons of helpful tips from friends who have run marathons, ironmans, and ultra-marathons, and during the race, I learned a few tricks of my own.

Here are my top five marathon running training tips for moms:

1. EAT WHILE RUNNING. Eat early and often. One of my most-trusted running friends told me to eat every 3 miles. She said it would feel excessive at first, but that I’d be thanking her at mile 20. Thanking her, I was! When I was doing my marathon running training, I learned that it’s easy for me to eat early but food loses it’s appeal after mile 15 – so it’s especially important for me to eat before that point in the marathon.

2. TRAIN. Running 26.2 miles is scary. Anything can happen when you’re tackling a distance like that. You have to figure out when and what to eat, and you have to know how to cope when your body wants to stop during the marathon. Those are some of the things you’ll figure out when training. You can keep your fears at bay during the race by telling yourself, “I’ve felt this before. It’s normal, and I can push through. I know what to do.”

3. BE REALISTIC. Don’t make a goal of qualifying for Boston with your first marathon. You’ll either injure yourself before race day or be disappointed in your finish time. Train to finish. For my race, I didn’t even wear a watch. Covering 26.2 miles on foot is an incredibleaccomplishment, regardless of how long it takes you to finish. This is one of the most important marathon running training tips for moms.

4. DON’T START OUT TOO FAST. No matter how good you feel at the beginning, the end of the race is going to be tough. Be smart and save some energy. You’re going to need it.

5. PLAN FOR THE LAST 6.2. This is  the last, but certainly not the least of my marathon running training tips for moms. The last 10k of the marathon is going to be physically and mentally challenging. Come up with a game plan to get you through it. One of my strategies was asking my friends to post words of wisdom and support to my facebook page, and then asking my husband to read me their posts at mile 20. I also spent time thinking about past challenging experiences that I conquered (like giving birth to my second daughter without any drugs!) and toward the very end, counting in my head. There’s something about counting while running that can distract you when all else fails.

Overall, I had an amazing, empowering marathon experience and I would highly recommend adding one to your “bucket list”! Best wishes if you are a fellow mom who is committing to a marathon running training program.

To hear more tips from Kelly, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram: Facebook: New Leaf Wellness Twitter: @kellymcnelis Pinterest: @kellymcnelis Instagram: @kellymcnelis

6 thoughts on “Five Marathon Running Training Tips for Moms

  1. Shana says:

    Thank you so much! I am so looking forward to post-pregnancy and getting back into shape! I’ve already lined up my first 2 5k runs!! But never having been a true distance runner all the tips I get help! I’ve printed this and filed it in my fitness journal! LOVE IT!

  2. Amanda Tress says:

    Great, Shana! Awesome job already lining up your first races 🙂 All the best as you work to get back into shape. Let me know if you ever have any questions about post pregnancy fitness!

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