Molly Huddle on motivation, life balance, and the running community, interview

2017 NYCM Week: Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K and USATF 5K Championships., photo provided by Molly Huddle
2017 NYCM Week: Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K and USATF 5K Championships., photo provided by Molly Huddle /

When Molly Huddle laces up her sneakers, her running career continues to move forward. While she has won the NYC Half Marathon before, this year’s race is a little different. She is now balancing being an athlete and a mom. While there are always new goals on the horizon, she appreciates that there are nuances to having a fulfilled life. In a recent conversation, she shared some thoughts on her motivation, life balance, and the welcoming nature of the running community.

While Molly is a U.S. Olympian and has achieved greatness in the running community, she understands that motivation is vital. For her, she said that new goals motivate her the most. Over the past 15 years, she has moved up in distance, which has presented new lessons and challenges.

Molly said, “the marathon feels like a whole different sport, honestly. I’m still learning new stuff, and as long as I’m still learning something, I’m really motivated and interested in it.” Molly appreciates that running has so many different distances and specialties that she always feels like she has something to learn.

While there is always something on the horizon, Molly understands that the little break or food indulgence is part of the journey. Given her training, she said, “I try not to weed out indulgences. I do let myself have a doughnut, which is my favorite.”

Overall, Molly tries to have healthy foods on hand, especially as a mom. Overall, she tries to have food choices when it feels like her hands are full and needs something easy. Having options that are easy to eat are helpful.

In addition to that balance eating perspective, Molly thinks that sometimes “hydration is often overlooked.” She generally has water with her, but it can be hard to drink too much on endurance training days. But, given that she is breastfeeding, her hydration needs are more. She carries a big water bottle with her everyone.

As many moms appreciate, finding that balance between work and motherhood can sometimes be hard to maintain. For a professional athlete, the demands can require a little more planning. For Molly, as a breastfeeding moment she needs to balance training, caloric intake, hydration, and life. Making her comeback and juggling it all proves that women can find a way to make things work.

Although Molly admitted that it seems she primarily does three things, eating, feeding her daughter or running. It is a statement that many moms can appreciate.

Molly Huddle American women's distance runner
2017 NYCM Week: Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K and USATF 5K Championships., photo provided by Molly Huddle /

Still, Molly would not necessarily have it any other way. She said, “I think it’s important to show your kids what it looks like to follow your passion and to be an inspired and motivated person. You know they’re watching you. I remember watching my dad run. He ran road races, and I was like that’s cool. I want to try that. And, I watched him do it and I watched him train every day and that’s how I learned consistency and doing something every day makes you better at it. So, your kids are paying attention to you. You know, maybe it’s hard to teach them some things, but other things they’re picking up just by being around.”

It might not be said often, but kids absorb more than what people realize. Whether it is a love of a sport, a sense of motivation, or just a perspective on life, those little things matter.

Molly Huddle might be known as one of the women who spearheaded the creation of the runner girl emoji, it is more than just an image on a keyboard. She has become a representative for women in sport.

She believes that there have been changes over the years. Molly said, “it wasn’t until the 80s that all the distance events were added to the Olympics schedule for women, but we still have a way to go. Women still don’t make equal pay.”

While other sports have been vocal and made changes in pay scales, Molly believes that it is important to show how women athletes are valuable role models for other girls. “Sports are a microcosm of the greater society. It is important to hold up female athletes and show that they can be strong and really influential women in the field.”

For some people, taking that first step might be hard. Although there are some people out there who might not consider themselves a runner or do not know where to start. Molly shared this advice.

“I think people are afraid to label themselves runner until they’ve done something big, like a marathon, and that’s totally not true. We want to be more of a welcoming environment than that. Don’t feel like any minimum amount is what you have to hit to be a runner or a minimum number of days. Try to fit that movement into your life and like you’ll be amazed at how much it grows.”

For anyone looking to get some more movement in their life, the simple concept of it just takes one step to start might ring true. The other saying about not going for perfection rather progress might be the approach to get people to appreciate some of the ideas that Molly Huddle embodies. Balance, family, and running might be the recipe for a fulfilled life.