“Love the Run You’re With” Virtual Race Series

If you can’t be at the race you love, honey, Love the Run You’re With!

In the Dumpster Fire that is 2020 (there is no other NICE way to describe this year), so many runners were left all trained up with no race to run. Events fell to cancelations, postponements, or converted to virtual races with little warning, especially as the lockdown started.

Like many runners, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, but needing my runs and finish lines to keep me healthy both physically and mentally. Following a training plan for a finish line that no longer existed seemed an exercise in futility. I was not the only one to ask the question, “Great. My race is canceled. Now what?”

Enter my sanity savers, Another Mother Runner and the Train Like a Mother Club. I have made no secret of my love for this tribe and their training programs, having followed Sarah and Dimity since almost the beginning of their 10 year journey. When everything was shutting down, AMR stepped up with a Virtual Race Series called Love the Run You’re With.

It was truly a Godsend.

I have followed every plan in the Train Like a Mother Book, followed numerous TLAM Club plans, and even hired the “OG” Coach, Christine Hinton for a time. I have found success time and time again with these plans and coaches, and I owe a large chunk of that success to the supportive community of the Mother Runner Tribe. So deciding on Love the Run You’re With was already a no-brainer. It didn’t take a lot of arm-twisting to convince me to join up.

When I did, I was met with all the amazingness of the community and coaches, but also absolutely taken aback by the depth and breadth of this plan…or should I say, plans.

Most training plans have a single route and a single destination — they are a roadmap to training for a specific race on a specific date. Sometimes you have to take a detour with the plan, but you still end up in the same place when you are supposed to. Nothing wrong with this, but if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that we have no idea where we are going or how we are getting there. That’s the nice thing about Love the Run You’re With. You have 16 weeks to really go wherever you want and get there however you want!

This was 16 weeks, 3 plans at different levels, 4 race “weekends”, and so much flexibility along the way. Every level met any runner right where they were at any given moment. Started on the A Team with a Run/Walk, but want to step it up? Cool. Switch to the M Team and get a little more running. Started on the R Team to “race, but your dishwasher blows up and you have to deal with other things besides running? That…well, sucks, but it’s okay, because the M or A teams are there to support you, too. Start with a 5k, and stay there, or move up through the ranks of 10k, 10 Mile, and Half. 

While I maintain that consistency is the key to a successful running journey, I also know that so is a flexible attitude (especially this year, amiright?).

Love the Run You’re With met me where I was every week, every day. While I started on the R Team — the more aggressive plan with higher miles and speedwork — with the intention of “Racing” all 4 distances, L.I.F.E. got in the way big time. So I switched to the plans with less running and speed work until I got life’s engine fire under control. You could do a “race,” then either go back and repeat a few weeks to do that distance again, or move forward. It really was like a Choose Your Own Adventure book (remember those)!

Let’s talk swag. AMR does swag like no other group I know, which is one of the big reasons I keep coming back. Four interlocking medals, Four well-designed bibs (the kind you’d want on your wall), tubes of Nuun (my fave), Balega socks (feet hugs), and a pair of Goodr AMR custom sunglasses that are truly the coolest thing ever. 

What really made LTRYW is really what sets TLAM Club apart from any other group: the support, the camaraderie, the “safe space” to share your Mother Runner struggles in the online community, and the coaches endless willingness to answer question after question after question. 

2020 is a year where social distancing has us all feeling very much alone, and for moms who already feel isolated, it might bring a heart-crushing sadness. Knowing that there are others out there experiencing the ups and downs helps get us through it. We know we are not alone.

This program got me through 4 months of a global pandemic, and is truly one of the bright moments of this dark and challenging year. It gave me purpose and direction. It gave me the drive to push myself to see what I could do. In the end I came within 5 seconds of my all time 5k PR, 30 seconds of my 10k PR, a minute of my 10 Mile PR, and I didn’t even have a finish line! 

As we enter the “second wave” of race cancelations, I will be signing up for Version 2.0, which looks to be even more exciting and interesting as the original. While I have a race planned for January, and could easily keep myself occupied with that for a time, I’m not ready to drop out of this amazing group just yet. Another 16 weeks of #BAMR love? Yes, please!

Heather Jergensen

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