Podcast: Another Mother Runner

Best of Both World podcast with Laura Vanderkam

Sarah and I had a real treat with this week’s episode. We have both been longtime listeners of the Another Mother Runner podcast, hosted by Sarah Bowen Shea. (I also remember her work from Runner’s World, which I’ve been reading for 12-plus years now — hereafter in this post she will be SBS to avoid confusion with the Sarah of The SHU Box).

We decided to do a crossover podcast, so if you listen to AMR, you’ll get Best of Both Worlds at some point soon, and if you listen to BOBW, you’ll get Another Mother Runner… We are excited to introduce our audience to AMR, and hopefully some AMR listeners are now finding us for the first time!

Some episode highlights:

You can PR in your 40s. Ok, if you were an Olympic-caliber athlete in your 20s, probably not. But for a recreational runner, intense, focused training can accomplish a lot. SHU was noting that she should consider her pre-kid personal records to be retired, but SBS is not so sure. She set her marathon PR when she was 43 (and her twins were 4)!

Even marathons don’t have to be crazy. There are several AMR training programs that top out at 40 miles per week, with the bulk of weeks being around 35 miles/week. If you run at a 10 min/mile pace, that’s 350 minutes, or less than 6 hours. Obviously there is time spent getting ready, and time recovering afterwards, but we are not talking obscene quantities of time. That said…

Flexibility makes training easier. SBS talks about training for a marathon when she had jury duty, and having to get in a 10-miler in the dark and rain before taking the bus downtown to the court house. Those of us who are self-employed do have an ability to move things around that is harder for those — like SHU — who have to be in the office at certain times. When I did my one marathon, I often did my long run on a Wednesday or Thursday morning after my normal childcare hours started (so, say, 8-11 a.m.) A number of people in the AMR community do similar things if they can.

Also, half-marathons are easier. These fit in life pretty well. Running 24 miles/week is only 4 hours. You add in pre- and post-run time, but still. And we’ll put in a shout out for older kids. It is a lot harder to fit in long runs around breastfeeding infants than, say, sleeping teenagers.

Mornings are a mom’s friend. Seriously — many women with kids who train consistently do it in the morning before the day starts. So much can come up in life, both professionally and personally, but many of those emergencies have yet to arise at 5:30 a.m. I did a short run this morning on the treadmill before getting three kids (well, four with our carpooling neighbor) off to school for the first day.

How I feel about my streak. I have been running daily for 20 months now. I am sure the streak will end at some point, but as of now I haven’t seen any real reason to stop. I don’t feel “trapped” by the streak. As with my time-tracking (40 months straight there!) it sort of feels like brushing my teeth. I don’t feel “trapped” by the idea that I will likely brush my teeth every day for the rest of my life.

Kids, screens, work. We all discussed a question from the listener who suggested this crossover episode. What do we do about looking at our phones in front of the kids? The listener noted that it’s always easy to just check one more email. SHU replied that her phone goes in the holster when she gets home, but she has the sort of job where she is on-call, or she isn’t. SBS and I are both running small businesses, which have more fluidity for work on dimensions of time and place. SBS mentioned kids and screens more in the context that her teenagers are not supposed to use their phones to call her when they are IN THE SAME HOUSE. I find this hilarious. She insists that it’s not because her house is huge, it’s that the kids are…challenged by a set of stairs. My answer is that it’s not always a bad thing for kids to see mom working. Yes, you don’t want to be buried in your phone all night BUT you’ve probably made a kid doctor appointment during the work day. You can check email after hours if you wish. And it’s OK to have different rules for your kids and you. You getting a big contract finalized that, you know, pays your mortgage, is different from them texting to avoid doing homework.

Anyway, it was a fun episode, so please give it a listen!

12 thoughts on “Podcast: Another Mother Runner

  1. Is there any chance of getting your podcast on Google Play? I’m eager to listen to your show but haven’t yet because I really don’t want to add another player to my phone.

  2. Thanks for this podcast! I”m a mom of two (2 and 4) and I used to be an avid runner (30-40 miles per week). I’m really curious about Sarah’s comment that she had “really strong opinions” about amenorrhea from lots of exercise. When I was running 30-40 miles per week, I had very infrequent periods. And, I believe similar to Sarah, I cut way back on running when trying to get pregnant. (It took a good year of little to no running plus some hormonal therapy to have my first successful pregnancy). My periods were super regular after I weaned my second child, for the first time in my life. But I’ve been slowly increasing my exercise. At this point I’m exercising 7 days a week, 3 of those days running (for a total of about 20 miles in those 3 days). And it looks like my period is again very infrequent. Am I damaging my health? I *love* how in shape I am right now, and I don’t want more kids (so I”m not worried about the infrequent periods themselves).

    1. @Sister_of_Angela – thanks for your comment! SHU will have to answer on the hormonal issues – she’s the endocrinologist. I think she also wound up cutting back on running in order to have her first child. After that, well, lots of little kids wind up cutting down the time available for high-mileage weeks right there!

    1. @Deckled Edges – I think just start slow and small. Run for a minute (slowly!) then walk for a minute. A lot of people have praised the Couch to 5K program for its gentle introduction to running (getting up to 3.1 miles after a few months). It’s tough for the first few weeks but gets a lot easier after that.

      1. I tried (and did) C25K and Could. Not. Stand. It. Though millions, it seems, of internet users do, and there are apps, and … on, and on. So if it works for you, great. And it probably will! As for me, I clicked with the somewhat similar, though also somewhat different, Dr. Mama’s “Listen Up Maggots!” approach.

        Another really key thing for me was embracing the reality that I will not run before noon, never mind @5:30 a.m. I will, however, run at 10 or 11 o’clock at night if I need to, to get it in.

        1. @Alexicographer – I think I would have trouble with anything remotely close to “listen up maggots!” — but obviously, your mileage may vary 🙂

          1. Ha! That literal approach wouldn’t appeal to me either, but Dr. Mama’s use of the phrase seems pretty figurative. The very condensed summary of the approach is (a) buy decent running shoes and a good sports bra, if applicable; (b) start running, really slowly. No! Slower than that! (c) stop when you need to, or after 30 minutes, whichever comes first; (d) wait 48 hours, repeat. Do this over and over and over again, ad infinitum (well, don’t get new running shoes every 48 hours…). I think it worked better for me than C25K when I was closer to the C end of that because I only had to decide to start running once every 48 hours (whereas C25K is tiny intervals with lots of breaks and thus, lots of resumptions). One ends up in pretty much the same place (the “No! Slower than that!” bit being relative), but I found Dr. Mama a much more tolerable route.

  3. I had been wondering if these two podcasts would collide! Is it the same interview on both TBOBW and AMR podcasts or are they two separate interviews? I listen to your podcast when I am doing work around the house during the week and AMR when I am on my long run on weekends, so I want to plan accordingly.

    1. @Margot – I believe they will use the same interview, with some AMR content around it. So you’ll likely need something else to get you through either the housework or the long run!

  4. I love texting my kid to bring me a cup of coffee in bed on a Saturday morning. Or to remind her to shower in the evenings when I’m sitting out on the patio with my husband. Technology for the win.

    1. @Calee – brilliant. But it would be less brilliant if used in the other directions (e.g. your daughter was texting YOU to bring her shoes or some such.)

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