Kara Goucher

Elite runner Kara Goucher poses for a photo

I’ve often said that running and motherhood go hand-in-hand. I am a better mother because I get to continue to chase my running dreams, and I’m a better runner because my son offers me such perspective on running. Running and motherhood influence each other, and each one can teach you so much about the other role.

Here are the most significant lessons I've learned about motherhood through my running:

1. There are milestones

There are events that happen in your child’s life that are milestone moments, and just as in running, there will be many more achievements and goals for them to chase.

It’s important to appreciate and be in the now for these experiences and accomplishments. Feel them and celebrate, and then get ready for more.

2. You can only control what you can control

For a race, you train and prepare in every way possible, but on race day you have to relinquish control. You can’t control the weather, how you feel that day, or how other runners race. On race day, you have to do your best with what you are given. Parenting is the same in that you can do your best to be ready for anything (have extra wipes, pack lots of snacks, toys, etc), but you also have to be prepared to go with the flow. Focus on what you can do to be as prepared as possible, and be ready to adjust when necessary.

3. What's right for someone else may not be right for you—and that's okay

In running there are many philosophies on how to train, race, what to eat, what to wear—the list goes on and on. The same goes for viewpoints on how to best parent children. Very strong opinions exist on how what kids should eat, how long they should sleep, and proper parenting styles.

The most important thing to remember is that there is no right way, but there is the way that works best for you. There are many "right ways," so worry less about what other people think and focus on what's working for you.

4. Both are lifelong investments—and I wouldn't have it any other way

Running has been a journey that I have been on for nearly 26 years, and I know I’ll be at it for much longer than 26 more. Becoming a mother was the most significant event in my life, and I will always be Colt’s mom. He continues to grow and need me in new and different ways, and I look forward to a lifetime of growing with him.

We’ll hydrate to this: Kara’s content is presented by nuun exclusively for Fleet Feet Sports.