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Train Like a Mother founders Dimity McDowell (left) and Sarah Bowen Shea.

Image: Eryn Kessler

Calling all busy moms! If your sneakers got a little lonely this winter, take a chance on a new training program specifically designed for your lifestyle.

The all-digital Train Like a Mother Club uses social media, videos, and podcasts to make race training ultra-accessible for new moms, with around-the-clock support to accommodate a parent’s hectic schedule. The much-anticipated program was launched in January by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, best known as Runner's World contributors and co-authors of three successful and inspirational books about endurance running and motherhood: Run Like a Mother (2010), Train Like a Mother (2012), and Tales from Another Mother Runner (2015).

The program offers nine distinct training plans that range from “5K Finish It” to “Marathon Own It,” with prices from $35–$63. Each week is broken down into two workout programs: one that you must do, and another that you do if you can spare the time. After all, as McDowell says, “No week is ever what you planned it to be.”

The short online videos are easy to follow, and the post-run exercises can be done in the comfort of your living room. (While all runners should be wary of injury, new mothers have diminished core strength and stability, making targeted strengthening exercises imperative to avoid injury.)

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Image: Eryn Kessler

McDowell and Bowen Shea first entertained the idea of a digital training program years ago, when Boulder-based McDowell asked her Portland-based friend (Bowen Shea) to help her virtually train for a marathon soon after the birth of her second child. McDowell suffered from postpartum depression after her first baby. “I knew I didn’t want to go back to that place,” she says. “It’s a rough place to be.” 

The specter of postpartum depression affects up to 15 percent of women, but is rarely addressed. McDowell observes that having a goal like an endurance race can be a game-changer. A running club offers loads of endorphins, a high calorie burn, a sense of independence, and an empowering sense of community

“It balances my mind and pulls me out of the negative, lethargic space,” McDowell explains. “It feels so great to achieve something when you’re coming out of a dark place, and you feel like a rock star after every run.”

The takeaway: Train Like a Mother is a community of women who know where you’re coming from and have your back from start to finish (line!). So, truss up your laces and hit the ground running—the first wave of training for the first 5K Challenge starts on February 29th! Sign up at Train Like a Mother’s website.

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