Alysia Montaño, Olympic Runner
Q: How has being a mom inspired you to push harder and go further in your running career?
Being a mom just inspires me to really show my kids that life is worth living in your truest, free-est sense. For me, it means never letting anyone else be the dictator of how I believe in myself. It goes beyond pushing harder and going further; it is just about staying true to YOU and finding JOY in that. As mothers, we are always expected to DO MORE. We have historically been over-worked and underpaid for our efforts.
For me, being a mom inspires me to fight for my ability to live my life happy and true. In that same sense, being a mom reminds me to enjoy every minute I can run and that I deserve to feel this happy and free. Running has given me an avenue to discover more about the world and myself and how I show up for my community. It helps me stay grounded and remember the reason I toe the line in the first place, enjoy the process, and helps me fight for the finish line in different aspects of my life. To me, running and motherhood go together. They both give me an opportunity to experience life with all my senses and I am better with both.
Q: How do you balance running, training, and racing with being a mom? What tips do you have?
I focus on the good feelings I get when I am at my best. I focus on what my priorities are for that week; for me, movement is a non-negotiable and so is being there for my family. I set up my calendar in a way that I can see the workout days, easy run days, individual kid dates, big project deadlines, my big goal dates, race dates, travel, ideal vacation time, big kid moments, and husband dates.
Tips: If you get overwhelmed, think of what part makes you most overwhelmed. For me, creating a big picture view helps me not get overwhelmed. I also find space to breathe when I can see what is doable while keeping me emotionally available for the things I enjoy and for my family.
Another tip that is hard, is learning to say “NO” to requests that really overwhelm you. Is it last minute? Is it the nature of the beast? Ask yourself: Will it affect my family or my well-being?
I used to feel like if I didn’t say “YES” to every single request from well-meaning folks, I was letting them down; that I needed to figure out how to make myself available. But in the end, I was really letting myself down and often left feeling overwhelmed, depleted, and unable to show up the way I wanted to for myself, my running, and my family. It’s ok to say no, and I want my kids to know that.
“No” isn’t bad. It means you care for yourself and really the other parties too, because you wouldn’t be able to show up as your best.