Skip to main content
Goal gettingPractical TipsRunning

How I managed to train for a 30km mountain run with a toddler

By January 14, 2021May 14th, 2021No Comments

In 2019, when Hakavai was a year old, I signed up for the Mountain Run at the Kathmandu Coast to Coast. A 30 kilometre course forging through rivers, over boulders, and up a mountain range.

No, it wasn’t the furthest I’ve run, or the hardest or the longest race I’ve done (probably the most scenic, though, if that sort of thing counts?).

For months, I’d fielded questions from presumably well-intentioned people about why I wasn’t doing the whole thing.

“It’s not that long, is it?”

“You’ve run heaps further than that before, right?”

“I thought you would have done another Ironman or something more challenging.”

But it was my first race after having a baby and I was SO proud of myself for committing to it, and for training for it. For running through the black mornings with a head-torch strapped on, trying to fit in a three-hour session before Hakavai woke up and Michael left for work. And for the ‘bitch-of-a-run’ when, with no other option, I’d put Hakavai in the pram and take him with me to do hill sprints (Hakavai + pram = heavy to push up an incline). And I was proud of myself for the days when, shock horror, I just didn’t want to go for a run but put on my shoes, and stepped out the front door and did it anyway.

I was even proud of myself for the days when, after a night of little sleep, I was kind to myself and cut my training sessions short.

It was hard, yes. Tiring at times, absolutely. But, it was also pleasurable, delightful. enjoyable.

So, how did I do it?

A) First of all, I had a goal.
Whether your goal is 5km, 10km or even a half marathon, a goal is a good thing. It makes what you’re trying to achieve tangible. Concrete. And if something is tangible and concrete (“be able to run 10km in 10 weeks”) you have a higher chance of achieving it than with an abstract goal (“run more”).

B) I had a plan.
A goal without a plan is a dream. A goal without a plan is a wish. A goal – OK, I’ll stop paraphrasing Instagram. But my training plan was a Very Good Thing. Having a clear program to follow meant that I didn’t have to focus on whether I could actually run thirty kilometres. All I had to do was look at the training program each week and schedule in my training sessions. And then, on a Tuesday morning, I’d look at my diary, see “Hill sprint training run” and go and do it. Once I did it, I promptly forgot about it.

C) A quick note on scheduling:
I organised my runs around my family. Michael works during the week, so Monday to Friday I’d either run with Hakavai in a pram, or go for a run early in the morning while my family was asleep (and before Michael went to work). On the weekends, Michael was home, so I’d do my longer runs (say a two hour run) then. And sometimes at night, I’d put Hakavai to bed, look at the messy dinner table, put on my joggers, get out the door for my training run.

D) An additional note on scheduling:
I’m organised, but I’m also a Mum. This means that I can meticulously organise my week down to the last minute and it can all go to sh*t a millisecond later. I had to prioritise. My family always came first, but running came second.

This meant that sometimes we had beans on toast for dinner. This meant that sometimes I forgot to wash my running gear and would pick it up off the floor dirty and wear it. This meant sometimes I’d forget to take nappies on a pram run. This meant that sometimes I did a speech in my running gear. This meant that if I had a 40 minute window while Hakavai was napping I HAD TO GO RIGHT NOW. I knew if I waited for everything to be “right” (laundry done, dinner cooked, lawn mowed, flowers picked, hair brushed, pram packed with a various assortment of nappies, wipes and home made snacks) then I would never get out the door and get it done.

E) I embraced a new Mum-life bonus:
I am wayyyy more efficient these days compared to my pre-Mum days. When I was training for Ironman I had to make sure I had the right energy gus (a weird kind of gel you eat for energy during exercise) for my bike session. I needed my favourite water bottle. I had to charge my watch. I had to charge my phone. I had to make sure I was wearing a matching outfit. These days, I’ll be lucky to have a clean pair of underwear on. My approach now is this: IF I HAVE A WINDOW OF 30 MINUTES I AM USING IT TO DO SOMETHING FOR MYSELF.

F) I was kind to myself.
Some nights I had a bad sleep. Some days I was exhausted just looking after a little human. Getting out the door for a run was a mystery to me. That’s OK. I didn’t beat myself up. I took the day off, and tried again the next.

G) I bought a jogging pram.
I’m not the best at fiddly little clips and I’m definitely not the best at packing down a giant pram into the size of a lady beetle. I went to the store and literally tried every single pram until I found one that a) I could pack down /pack up and b) that I could run with.

So, whether you’re a parent or not, I think the above can be distilled into some clear points.

If you have a goal, you’ve gotta:

  1. Have a plan
  2. Make it a priority, and;
  3. Be kind to yourself as you work to make it happen.

And if you ARE a mum and you have a running goal, my new program for Mum’s might be what you’re after.

It’s called RUN with Turia, and it launches in February, with three distances to choose between (5km, 10km and 21km).

You’ll get:
– a training program
– live group coaching calls with me and our dedicated coach,
– live sessions with guest experts and other Mum’s I love (like Yumi Stynes, Jamila Rizvi and Emmylou Maccarthy), women’s health physios, nutrition experts, and more.

Plus, I’ll share weekly tips on how to actually make your training sessions happen. Like, how do you manage to finish a run? What do you do when you feel like quitting? How do you navigate Mum guilt? And what do you think about on a run to make it easier?

I’m so pumped for it all to come together.

If you’re keen to run with me, pop your name on the waitlist here, and I’ll keep you in the loop!

Turia x