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Moms Who Run + Top Gear Picks

Best gear for moms who run

A few of us over here at the blog would call ourselves runners. Why we run is for different reasons, but we all love to get out and hit the road, trail, or where ever our feet take us. Some of us enjoy it, others run out of necessity.

Maybe you are a seasoned runner or you are just getting into running, or perhaps somewhere in between. No matter what, we think you will like some of our running tales and favorite gear picks.

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The Running Mamas

So you could get to know this running crew a little better, we asked our runner Team Members a few questions about their running life.

Jami- Will Run for Chocolate and Ice Cream

Quite literally, I once ran a race where every finisher received a chocolate bar. You bet I ate it right then and there! I am a medium/long distance runner and have my longest race (25K) coming up in August. I like 10K and Half-Marathons since there isn’t a pile of training involved but you still get a good workout.

My favorite type of run: I really enjoy running on trails, the everchanging scenery makes the time pass.

When I started running: I started running out of necessity for many years while playing soccer. After my first was born, my husband had recently started running, so it was great to have someone to run with as I worked my way back into activity. Then, I found a running group (MRTT) and started running more intentionally and actually training for races, instead of just showing up on race day.

Why I run: Most days its because my training plan says so! And most days I need it to help balance my energy, and allow myself to eat ice cream too.

What my runs look like: Most often you will see me pushing a stroller with Kylie nearby on her bike and two pups running along side me. It is a rare occurrence when I am 100% solo or actually get on trails.

I am most proud of: My favorite running moment so far is completing my first (unofficial) half-marathon. I decided I was ready to train for a half-marathon so I found a plan and got going. Only problem was that the race I was planning to do was cancelled due to COVID (as with all races in 2020). I didn’t want to let all that training go to waste! So I organized a “race” with my family when we were on vacation over the original race weekend. I made a course, had some of our non-running family bike and cheer us on, a SAG vehicle driven by my aunt and handmade medals for all from my daughter. I even made it under my goal time!

My advice to a new runner: Own your pace. You aren’t slow, you are just going the pace that your body is allowing you to! And, be thankful you are moving!

Rita – Gets in Over Her Head

Which means signing up for a race that is way too long, then injuring herself half way through training and only being half prepared on race day. She is loving 6-8 mile runs right now, they are long enough to feel challenging but not so long the to feel like I have to be out too long. Rita has completed two 26 mile trail/mountain endurance races and a 15 mile sky/mountain race!

My favorite type of run: I love trail running and mountain running. Paved roads are my least favorite but dirt roads are ok. I love a good 6-8 mile training sessions.

When I started running: I briefly ran track in high school, and then after I had children I would run sporadically. I started running more intentionally after my 4th child to train for a 5K. Then I took a long hiatus from intentional running. I started running again several years ago to prep for a race (I do best with a goal in front of me).

Why I run: I used to run because I enjoyed the challenge of preparing for a race. Then I began to enjoy trail running because it helped me be a faster hiker. Recently I’ve started enjoying running just for runnings sake. I find as I become more experienced that I enjoy it for a sport more.

What my runs look like: My runs are varied. Sometimes I get up early and run, other times I take the kids on bikes and run while they bike. My husband is also great about letting me get out several Saturdays a month for longer trail runs.

I am most proud of: Running out in the wilderness for the first time solo in the mountains. I used to hate being alone and running has really helped me gain confidence.

My advice to a new runner: Slow and steady training over increasing miles too fast. I recommend reading the book Roar by Stacy Sims to learn about training with your hormones.

 

Becky – Powered by Audible

Becky is a medium to long distance runner. While she has tackled a marathon and two half marathons, her favorite run is the 10k.

My favorite type of run: I love trails, especially bike trails. The flow of a smooth trail thrills me. I love the challenge it presents and the beauty surrounding me as I exercise. Because the trees and obstacles are so much closer to me, I feel as if I’m going faster than I actually am. I also find dirt much kinder to my knees than pavement.

When I started running: While I had played soccer in high school and ran a little during college, I didn’t become intentional about my running until six years ago. A friend invited me to join her on a few trail runs, and I was hooked! Her companionship and upbeat personality helped me overcome the challenge of building speed and strength every beginning runner faces.

Why I run: I began running as a chance to connect with a friend while exercising but I have continued it because I have found it to be soothing and rewarding. I love the opportunity to be alone, to think, and to enjoy the outdoors.

What my runs look like: While my ideal run is at 2:00 p.m., most of my runs occur at 5 a.m. It’s the only time I can be assured that my runs will be uninterrupted!

I am most proud of: Last fall, I participated in my first trail marathon. It was 26 miles over 5 mountains. It was a bluebird fall day and the Vermont foliage was brilliantly red orange. I remember smiling through most of the run, loving the views, the climbs and the people I encountered. (I also remember grumbling through the last grueling five miles of road running.) Yet I pushed through, finishing at my target time. At the end, I felt so accomplished. When I began running, I had no idea that I was even capable of completing a marathon!

My advice to a new runner: The hardest hurdle for me was learning to run. It’s a strange paradox, but to enjoy running, one often has to have been running. My advice to beginners is to be gentle with yourself. Combine walking with running and build your endurance. If you have a difficult day, don’t quit. Those happen to every runner. Over time you will notice that it becomes easier and later wonderful. I also found that having a friend and plan was essential to my success as a runner. Even now, if I don’t have a plan to run, I won’t. Find a training plan and use it to keep yourself accountable.

Jen – Running for Sanity

Jen likes both road and trail and both slow jogs and hill sprints. She also likes team sports and racing. Most days she likes running alone, or with a select few lucky people. Running keeps me sane though not nearly as fast as I look. I can’t run for more than an hour or I will get a knock out migraine. So, slow and fragile but still getting after it! She wants to run until she is 80 and would love if her family joined her.

My favorite type of run: Runs with my husband! Cody and I got into a big fight on a long run in India. I had to stick with him although I wanted to run away. (A female running alone along a country road in the middle of southern India isn’t a good idea, even modestly dressed.) We needed to navigate the cows and rickshaws together. The further we ran trying to make our way back to the hotel, the more we softened and began to talk. I so appreciate each and every run with him since. Sometime we don’t talk, but the companionship is all that’s needed.

When I started running: I remember in the middle of a basketball game, at about age 7 or 8, my legs began to flow into a smooth sprint. All those months of sucking wind paid off. I fell in love that day.

Why I run: I run to clear my mind, set my intention, have prayer time and have some connection with my partner.

What my runs look like: 4pm after a long afternoon nap is stuff of dreams. Also, I run half naked (only in America/England) because I find clothes hot and uncomfortable. I’m not that confident in my body but I like to be comfortable. I put in my headphones and keep my head down. I spend most of my time praying while I run. I’ve peed behind trees and cars while pregnant but I don’t know a mom that hasn’t, right? I’ve jumped over rattle snakes, scared several deer and had many birds give me a good jolt. I have also explored old and new cities on runs.

I am most proud of: I ran a 5k Turkey Trot 3 months pregnant after spending 5 months in the hospital the previous year. It was a glimpse of hope!

My advice to a new runner: Go at your own pace. Listen to your body.

Jessica – Scraping Together Miles When She Can

Jessica would call herself a casual, social runner. She has no interest in training for races at this time, although she has done them in the past.

My favorite type of run: I love a good trail run!  There are few things more nourishing than moving my feet through the woods. Trails are so much more gentle on my joints than road, and I love having some space from traffic and busyness and noise. 

When I started running: I told myself I HATED running until about 14 years ago when I moved to Bellingham. I had to take a physical fitness test for my job, part of which was a short run. I figured I should probably practice a little bit before I had to be timed. Much to my surprise, I actually started to enjoy it once I pushed through the initial discomfort!

Why I run: So many reasons!  I love moving my body outdoors. Running is so accessible, and as a mom without a ton of extra time on my hands I love that I can be out the door and back within an hour.  Especially on stressful days, this is life-saving! Running was just about the only form of exercise I could keep up with consistently when my kids were small…those stroller runs were painful, but also critical for self-care. I love connecting with friends on the trail, and I also love having time and space with my thoughts. Running reminds me that my body is strong and capable and an integral part of my self.

What my runs look like: Right now our family has established a pretty good rhythm where my husband and I trade off solo exercise time because we both find that it’s so key to our mental and physical health. For many years I was only running with a stroller, but now that my kids have outgrown that stage I’ve rediscovered running as something sacred for myself. Typically I get out on my own around 4pm when my husband gets off work, or earlier in the day on the weekends. I’ve also started discovering the joy of the “bike chase” with my kids now that both of them are pedaling, and will often run alongside/behind them as they bike the trails around our neighborhood.

I am most proud of: I distinctly remember meeting up with a friend for our first run after having our second babies. There was something so profound and empowering about recognizing all of the work that our bodies had been doing to sustain those little people, and stepping into a new phase of being ok with gently returning to something we loved. We were slow, we took up the entire path, and we did it! I honestly think I was as proud of that run as I was of completing my first (and only!) full marathon (The Eugene Marathon in 2011).

My advice to a new runner: Don’t give up! Be gentle with yourself. Getting into running shape isn’t easy, and remember that you can be whatever kind of runner you want to be. Walk when you need to walk, push yourself to keep going up a hill when it feels good, and celebrate all that your body can do. Being a runner doesn’t need to look a certain way, allow yourself to find a rhythm that works for you and if it’s at all possible get out with a friend or training group. Conversation is a great distraction especially when you’re starting out!

Find Your Run

Getting into (or back into) running can be challenging. Check out these tips for finding your running groove.

Find a Running Group or Friend

When you are first starting out or are trying to get back in the groove, finding some running accountability partners can help you keep moving forward, literally. Finding a friend or a whole group of people who like to run will help you to keep running too.

She Runs This Town (SRTT), formerly Moms Run This Town (MRTT), is a FREE running club for women with chapters all over the country. Find your local chapter here or join the virtual chapter if you don’t have one in your area! It’s a great place to start looking for that BRF (Best Running Friend) and get some RUNspiration.

Another place to check is your local running store! They may offer programs (like Couch to 5K) or know of the local running groups in your area that you can join.

Nothing like running a local 10K race with 70 of your BRFs! TMM Team Member Jami is in the bottom right with the Burley.

Run as a Family

When my husband and I are both training for a race, its a lot of hours running in one week where one parent is running and the other is parenting. Every other weekend or more, we try to do family runs. Pushing Nora in the stroller and Kylie biking alongside with the pups tagging along sometimes. We get some good family time outside and we aren’t loosing quality family time due to running lots of combined running hours.

Just plan to go a little slower and enjoy the company (and don’t forget the snacks)! Our 5 year old has biked up to 12 miles with us on our long runs. And sometimes they complain, cry, or fight in the Burley the whole way too… such as life!

Sign up for a race!

There is no bigger motivator to just keep running than signing up for a race or committing to a training plan! Find a distance, location, or cause that you are interested in and sign up! Next, find a training plan, set a goal, and get moving.

Favorite Running Gear for Moms

It wouldn’t be a proper TMM post without our favorite gear picks! Although some things (like shoes) are going to be runner specific, we hope you enjoy some of our favorite running pieces!

Running shoes for moms

Running shoes are NOT a one size fits all purchase, and just because a friend recommends them, it doesn’t mean they will work for you. Your best option is to head to your local running store and be fitted for a shoe that works with your foot shape, running style, terrain, and biomechanics.

A true running store will likely put you through a few tests before you start testing shoes. They want to see your foot shape, how you walk or run, and maybe test a little strength. Then they will bring you a selection of shoes that meet the criteria. They will also likely stand behind their products. If you hate your shoe in a few weeks, take it back. An awesome running store will make sure you (and your feet) are happy for your runs, even if it means they eat the cost of your worn shoe.

If getting to a running store is a challenge, you can do a few self-assessments at home and order from number of online retailers, many of which the retailer or shoe brand has a good return policy, even if worn.

Brooks Running is just one of the brands that offers a “Shoe Finder” on their website. Answer the questions and at the end, they will give you a selection of shoes that would likely work for you. They also have a great 90 Day Run Happy Promise so you know you can try them without worry!

Running Warehouse is a good online retailer if you worried about returns, they have a “90 Day No Sweat” return policy-NEW or USED! Zappos has a “30-Day Runlimited Guarantee”.

With all that, our running team does have a few favorites:

Hydration & Nutrition

All runners need to stay hydrated, whether you are running 2 miles or 20 you need some types of hydration plan. Here are a few of our favorite water bottles and vests.

I have been loving my REI Swiftland Hydro Women’s Running Vest. Holds enough water and snacks for my longer runs and races. I hate carrying things in my hands, so this is a great way to have everything I need without feeling unbalanced. Rita likes the Nathan VaporAiress 7 L 2.0 Hydration Vest for her long runs.

If I’m pushing the stroller or doing workouts, the CamelBak Podium Chill is my go to. Around the house and in the car I love my Nathan Littleshot Bottle, fits in my cupholder and two different ways to drink.

Nutrition

When it comes to staying energized on your run, it is a personal preference and what you like to eat or drink. Typically you need some type of nutrition about every 30-45 minutes. Some people can eat anything on the trail, others have pickier stomachs. Just remember, race day is NOT a time to try something new!

I decided to try a gel to prevent bonking while training for a half marathon. After slurping down the chocolate caffeine slurry, I quickly realized that it was not helping me run but giving me the runs. I sprinted to the porta potty (miraculous the only one in my path was nearby). While I managed to cross that finish line in the nick of time, I still had to rip off my underwear and leave them in the trash. I have never touched gels since!

TMM Team Member Becky

Here are some of our favorite things we think you should try if you haven’t!

And if you don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of running nutrition websites, a few of our runners like chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter protein balls, fig bars, dates, goldfish, and cereal while running just as well.

I make my own hydration drink with a squirt of lemon juice, a teaspoon of maple syrup, and a hearty pinch of salt. It’s flavorful and light tasting.

TMM Team Member Becky

Don’t forget to refuel post run too!

Chocolate milk is a great recovery drink due to its balance of carbs and protein. No chocolate milk on hand? My favorite recovery is Tailwind Nutrition’s Chocolate Rebuild Recovery Drink, just add water, shake and drink. Jen sometimes chooses coconut water post run due to its high level of electrolytes.

Running safety gear for moms

Noxgear Tracer 360 Vest is my favorite nighttime running accessory. It allows me to be seen and feel safe on those dark runs. I sometimes pair with a headlamp too for extra visibility.

Usually the only alone time I have available are the pre-dawn hours. Today that time was magical. My run began with a the slivery glow of the moon and ended with a pastel sunrise. I love this time of day, but it can also be dangerous. I always were a reflective vest and bring a light when I run before sunrise.

TMM Team Member Becky

Wherever and whenever you run, I recommend a Road ID… as my road biking mom always jokes “I just want whoever finds me lying in a ditch to know who to call.” But its so true! Anything can happen on a run, (or bike, hike, etc) Road IDs help save lives! If I am running solo, I almost always have mine in (yes… it should be 100% of the time, but I forget sometimes.) They also make jingle free Dog IDs (which we LOVE!) and Health IDs if you have any medical alerts.

Running Clothing for Moms

Tops

Summer tops: Aside from a collection of random racerback tanks I wear, I have been loving a few other tanks and shirts running this summer. The Henerala V Neck Tank from Title Nine is a great pick and wears from run to whatever’s next seamlessly. Plus, StinkStopper technology keeps you from smelling too bad. The REI Co-op Active Pursuits Tank Top is super soft and works great under my hydration vest. Lastly, the Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily T-Shirt is another super soft fabric with UPF 50+!

Team Member Jessica loves running in her Nuu-Muu Dress in the summer! (Bonus, it covers up any bladder leaks if you have that issue).

Bottoms

Jessica is loving these dreamy running shorts from Title Nine- the Pockito Shorts. The Pockito is perfectly long, has side pockets, super breathable, and has high waist that stays in place.  DREAMY.

Rita really likes the Long Roga Shorts from Oiselle. Short shorts don’t work for her since she sometimes gets some thigh rubbing, but the longer length Roga keeps the chafing away!

Underwear, Bras, and Socks

I am loving my new Brooks Dare Crossback Run Bra (the Run it All Bra at Title Nine)! So much that I now own two. Good support with molded, lightly padded cups… that DON’T come out in the washing machine… hallelujah!

After being pregnant and giving birth to children, there is a lot going on below the belt. Even with the help of a Pelvic Floor Therapist, you may still have a little leaking while you continue to work on it. Team Member Jessica loves these Hiphuggers by Speax for those bladder leaks.

I’ve been through PT for pelvic floor issues but am constantly struggling with leakage when I run. The Hiphuggers by Speax underwear has helped a ton! Breathes well and doesn’t feel too bulky but does a great job absorbing bladder leaks.

TMM Team Member Jessica

Want to learn more about Pelvic Floor PT and how you can stop leaking when you run? Check out our post here!

There are tons of sock choices out there too… here are some of the team’s favorites!

Running Accessories for Women

The Transition Wrap from Orange Mud is a must have if you often get in your car after your runs. It hooks over the headrest and protects your seat from all the sweat. It also doubles as a wrap in case you need to get changed at your car afterward. Unless its getting washed, this thing lives in my car.

Becky loves her PLT Backbeat FIT headphones for enjoying audiobooks and music while running.

Kula Cloth– When you are running long distances, especially trail, you never know when you might need to lean on a tree. The Kula cloth helps get you dry and back to running quickly. For adventures in #2, a portable Sh!t Kit might be worth tossing in your pack.

For cold weather running, I like the Nathan Reflective Gloves. Lightweight so my hands don’t get too hot and a super soft snot wipe.

Everyone will have their personal preference on technology, but I love my Garmin Fenix GPS Watch! If you are in the market for a new running watch (or any fitness electronics) head on over to DC Rainmaker. He does some awesome reviews and comparisons to help you make the best decision for your needs.

I often run with my dogs, so check out my Running with Dogs post for all my favorite dog gear!

Time to get running, Mama!

Running is a great way to build endurance, release stress, make connections, or not feel as guilty about eating that ice cream. Whatever the reason you run, just get out there and do it!

What are some of you favorite running things? What motivates you to get out the door?

My most cherished medal – handmade by my daughter for my first half-marathon!

Related Articles:

Tales of Our Running Mamas (and top gear picks)

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