Mother runner and running coach Tia Stone, 35, is in taper mode as she eyes the Pocono Marathon in Stroudsburg, PA in another couple of weeks. The Searcy, AR mom of four calls this her “big ‘A’ race.” Up first, however, is a local 10K this Saturday. “I race often—maybe too much!”
Best recent run: I had a really intense 1K workout recently where I had to talk myself through each set (and there were 12 sets). It was challenging physically and mentally, but I was able hit the splits I wanted and I finished feeling strong.
Running while pregnant: The best advice I could give to any pregnant runner is to not compare yourself to other moms! Every pregnancy is different. What works for one mom might not work for you, and what worked for you with your first pregnancy might not work for your second. I had very good intentions of staying active and fit during all of my pregnancies but things didn’t always go as planned. I experienced a lot of morning sickness when I was pregnant with my girls and could barely keep my food down. I had zero energy and exercise wasn’t really an option. I was in survival mode! I was able to run more during my pregnancies with my boys, especially my last one since I was trying to stay fit for the Boston Marathon. In my case, my fourth pregnancy was actually my best in terms of fitness.
Southern Running: My favorite race in Arkansas is the Capital City Classic 10K in Little Rock. It’s always the first Saturday in April and the weather is usually the perfect temperature—low 40s in case you were wondering. The course is flat and fast in a natural, country setting. I run it every year and this year my daughter ran it for the first time.
Relating to other runners: I became a certified running coach last fall but waited until January of this year to start coaching. I really love seeing growth in my runners and helping them achieve their goals. I like using my own personal experiences as a runner as I guide them in their training.
Favorite indulgence after a hard race: Let’s just say I will never pass up a large chocolate milkshake after a race…
Foam roller or good ol’ stretching? Massage! I am really spoiled because in the last year a local spa offered to sponsor me so now I have a good massage about three days a week.
Running mantra: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. The song based on the verse often crosses my mind during the last 10K of a marathon!
What I thought about during today’s run: I really hope it’s not this hot during my marathon!
Runner (famous or otherwise) I look up to: My dad introduced me running. As a kid I would go to races and cheer for him and when I got a little older he would occasionally take me running. He pushed me in high school and believed in me even when I didn’t. He would cheer so loud for my sister and I when we were racing on Saturdays that he would often lose his voice. This was a problem because he was a minister and was supposed to preach on Sunday mornings!
Race strategy: I like to have my racing plan in place before a race. It helps me to break the race down into sections (depending on race distance). Then I focus on that particular section and not the race as a whole. Toward the end of every race I start counting down the remaining distance by imagining how many laps I have left around a track. I know I can do x number of laps and then I’ll be done.
Toughest injury, and how I dealt with it: Finding out I had a sacral stress fracture the week before the Boston Marathon (2011) was the most difficult injury I’ve had to deal with to date. I was very discouraged and depressed but my faith, my husband, and my kids kept me anchored. I had a new baby at the time and this injury put a hold on my running world which looking back I needed. The time off was hard but it gave me a better perspective on life and my priorities. During the long come-back period I learned how to listen to my body and I worked hard to become a better runner than I was before the injury.
My running, in three words: Patience, Persistence, Progress