Athletes & Celebrities

How Marathoner and Mom Michele Gonzalez Does It All

The repeat marathoner and working mom shares her tips and motivation ahead of the Boston Marathon.

Michele Gonzalez Running New York Marathon
Photo Courtesy of Michele Gonzalez

It's no surprise that Michele Gonzalez, also known as NYC Running Mama, has amassed nearly 65,000 followers on her Instagram account. The working mom of two and Iraq War veteran began distance running during her time in the Army, but since then, she's become a marathoner. She's also definitive proof that if you want to make progress, you can make the time to do it.

We caught up with Gonzalez at the NYC Oakley Flagship Store to talk training, motivation, and tips for runners at all skill levels ahead of the Boston Marathon.

M&F Hers: How long have you been running and what made you start?
M. G.: In the beginning, I always ran to stay in shape for other sports, so running was always secondary. Before I graduated from West Point, I wanted to be in the best shape that I could before joining the Army after graduation. From there, I progressed to long-distance running.

And how long did it take for you to go from a novice runner to training to competition?
Before my first marathon, I didn’t train properly or do any long runs over 14-16 miles. Before my second, which was years later, I was part of a running team on the base where I was stationed and we’d run daily. It was the first time I was ever given guidance on training and speed work, so when I ran the New York Marathon, my time dropped significantly. After that, I took a break and had my two sons. Then, I didn’t see progress until about two years ago. Now, I’m slowly chipping away and taking a few minutes off my time each marathon

SEE ALSO: How to Run Stronger and Longer

How do you balance training with raising kids and working full-time?
I’ve always been an early riser, and I still get up early. Most days I get up at 4 a.m., and so does my husband. By 6:45 or 7 a.m., I’m out of the house. So for me, early mornings give me time to train.

What is your weekly training like?
My weekly mileage varies from the 30s to mid-60s, depending on what part of the cycle I'm in. Immediately after a marathon, my weekly mileage is in the 30s. Once I start building up to a goal race, my weekly mileage begins to build as well. I run about 5-6 days in a typical week, including one long run between 10 and 22 miles, depending on where I'm at in the training cycle. I also do one or two speed workouts between 6 and 12 miles, then the rest are "easy" or "recovery" days.

How do you stay on track nutrition-wise with such a busy schedule?
As far as nutrition, I don’t necessarily restrict anything, but I try to prep my meals. If I get hungry at work and didn’t bring anything to eat, it’s either go hungry or hit the vending machine, so I try to bring my lunch and snacks to work every day.

Check out the next page to find out more about Gonzalez's gear, injury prevention, and tips for runners at any level.

SEE ALSO: Four Exercises Every Runner Should Do