The Abbott World Marathon Major races (WMM) – Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City – represent the pinnacle of achievement in the world of running, drawing elite athletes and dedicated runners from all around the globe in pursuit of their 6-star finisher medal. Team Injinji Athlete, Lindsey LaVeck, has already raced in half of these iconic courses, and isn’t stopping anytime soon! With unwavering determination, Lindsey is on a relentless journey to conquer all six Majors. In this interview, she shares how she’s navigated the challenges that marathon training presents amidst the demands of motherhood. Discover her best tips for racing internationally and what she has planned for 2024!
How do you balance marathon training as a parent of three young children? Do you have any advice for pregnant runners wishing to begin marathon training?
I don't even use the word "balance" anymore because it makes it seem like everything is weighted equally. "Balance" looks different every single day. I have allowed myself to lean into that. Not everything gets done in the timeframe I want or looks the way I want it to, and that's okay. We can't give 100% in all categories at all times. The best advice I have is to give yourself some grace and ensure you're taking care of yourself in the process of life and marathon training. Momming is hard enough. Adding in marathon training? Show yourself compassion and make sure you're getting the proper rest! Pregnancy is the time to stay as healthy as can be. Always talk to your doctors to follow the medical guidelines set for you. Don't just follow what someone else is doing!
*On a side note, I would not advise pregnant runners to begin marathon training. If they were already conditioned and ready to run a marathon when they became pregnant, that's a different story.
How has your training evolved since the start of your six-star finisher journey, to where it is now?
My training has changed in many ways since my original BQ (Boston Qualifier). Boston was my first Marathon Major. I went to Boston in 2019 with the best physical fitness I had ever had. And the week before the race, I found out I was five weeks pregnant with twins. I ended up running Boston at an easy pace. It really set the tone for all the other Majors. Although I've continued to train and try to PR, I now run at an easy pace the first time I complete a Major. It is SO much fun to really take your time and enjoy all the course has to offer! My training before was only ever focused on trying to get faster. Now, I place just as much emphasis on the journey and the experiences I have at the races.
What inspired you to begin this journey? What helps you stay motivated now?
I was inspired to attempt all Six Majors by other marathon runners I know. I saw so many people in the Instagram running community traveling to complete such amazing races. I knew I wanted to connect with others, travel, and run these famous courses! The same exact things motivate me now. I have tons of fun figuring out who's also running the races and how we can connect while traveling!
Which WMM race has been your favorite thus far, and why? Can you share a favorite memory from that race?
My favorite is Boston. For many reasons! Boston is Boston for a reason. The hype, the atmosphere, the energy goes unmatched. I have two favorite memories - running the course the first time with my best friend while I was pregnant, and then getting my postpartum PR this past year after my third baby!
Do you have any pre-race rituals or routines that help you stay grounded before a major race?
I listen to the same pep talk on audio every single time. It is really the only aspect that has remained unchanged in the past six years!
Racing an international marathon can mean a change in routine the week before the race! What was your experience like racing in the Berlin Marathon? What was different about racing Berlin compared to other races in the U.S.?
YES. The time change is not to be taken lightly! I'd recommend giving yourself ample time ahead of the race to adjust. My sleep schedule was nuts! In hindsight, would've gone extra days in advance. The biggest difference in racing Berlin is how difficult it was to navigate to the start. I felt very prepared to find the start at Boston and NYC and how to ensure I was ready for each step. In Berlin, the language barrier was truly present, and the translation of their website was not accurate for the starting line. For Berlin specifically, just go to the Brandenburg Gate for the start!!
How do you approach recovery after a major race? Do you follow any specific recovery routines that you’d like to share?
I take two weeks off of running completely. I slowly incorporate walking, yoga, and low-impact exercise. Then I reverse taper. Nothing too exciting or surprising! I genuinely enjoy my time away from running once I've finished a training cycle. I might be the odd man out on that one!
What advice would you give to someone running their first international marathon?
Take several days in advance to get there and adjust to the time change. If you have dietary restrictions or preferences, try to locate restaurants in advance. Always pack your race outfit and shoes in your carry-on bag! Make sure you bring an outlet adapter, or you won't be charging your watch. Also, take way more photos than you normally do. It is hard to remember when you get caught up in the moment. You’ll be glad to have them to look back on!
What does the next year look like for you in terms of race schedules?
What are you most looking forward to upon completion of this goal?
I'm excited to see which goal I'll start chasing next!! There's always something new and exciting in the world of marathon running. I can't wait to see what that will be!