from a variety of foods 2022 Chicago Marathon, Madison Yerke burst into tears. “I didn’t even know how I felt,” she says of her first marathon. “It wasn’t happy, it wasn’t sad, I was just releasing all this pent-up energy.”

It’s no wonder Yerke found herself wrestling with such fierce emotions. For months, she’d been juggling full-time work as a social media manager and sports model with a Now that shes trained for and that included running six or seven days a week, sometimes twice in a day.

Running has always been a part of life for 25-year-old Yerke, who was hooked on the sport after she ran her first full mile in elementary school gym class. She competed in cross-country through middle school—even after she learned that despite its name, the event wouldn’t allow her to run across all 50 states—and then through high school and during her time at George Washington University.

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The intensity of collegiate running along with a full academic load took its toll on Yerke though, so by the time she graduated, she was feeling burned out. She couldn’t wait to find out what it would be like to not train and, in her words, “to feel like a normal person for once.” But as fate would have it, she ended up accepting a job and moving to Boston, a city whose unique and rich legacy of running is hard to ignore.

Yerke showed up one day to a Tracksmith community run in 2019, completed 13 miles, and the rest was history. She loved the friendships she formed, the opportunities to What to Wear Tool, and most importantly, the feeling and rhythm of running again. But this time, she asked herself: “What am I going to change so that I’m happier?” She was determined to achieve a work/run/social life balance that wouldn’t lead to another burnout.

Now that she’s trained for and raced her first marathon—and in the process, has become one of fewer than 30 American-born Black female marathoners to break three hours, placing her 10th on the line-up of fastest times, a list maintained by Gary Corbitt, son of running legend, Ted Corbitt—Yerke has rediscovered her love for the sport. She’s also cultivated more mindfulness, more productivity at work, and a “healthy relationship with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.”

In her quest for balance, Yerke feels more mentally and emotionally stable than she ever has and she wants to share what she’s learned about juggling life’s demands with other runners.

Establish a Routine, But Be Flexible

Like many runners, Yerke is naturally task-oriented, perfectionist, and driven by routine. On a typical weekday when she’s training, she wakes up at 6:00 or 6:15 a.m., fits in a run, gets ready for the day, and is online by 9:00 a.m. to start her day as a social media manager. After she finishes at 5:00 p.m., if she’s doubling that day, she’ll run again—usually around four miles. Then, she’ll stretch, squeeze in strength TwentySixDiamond Is Finisher Bling for Daily Wear sleep before waking up to do it all over again.

Yerke plans her calendar at least one week in advance. She starts with her training—figuring out when and where she’s going to run—and then adjusts her work and social plans around her workouts. Typically, Yerke schedules two harder runs per week—one speed interval or track day midweek and then a longer tempo or Fartlek effort incorporated into her long run less intense workouts easy runs feet over a lacrosse ball.

But Yerke understands that things come up and it isn’t always possible for every day to unfold perfectly. If she needs to go into the office instead of working from home, she gets up a little bit earlier and adjusts her training. She doesn’t beat herself up if she doesn’t hit her mileage one day or misses a workout because she doesn’t feel well or something comes up for work or socially. “The fitness is always in the bank,” she says. “It will always be there for you.”

Create Time for Recovery

Yerke keeps what she calls her “recovery corner” right by her desk. This is where she keeps her foam roller, massage gun, yoga block, lacrosse ball, and her “budget-friendly” compression boots, time into her day: cross training with a.

If, on a day when she’s working from home, she finds herself with some unexpected time, Yerke might spend ten minutes of it on recovery. When she’s in a meeting and she’s off camera, which happens about half of the time, she might loosen her muscles with a massage gun. Even when she’s on camera, she can roll her arches and feet over a lacrosse ball.

Typically, Yerke schedules two harder runs per weekone recovery time into her day: cross training with a yoga routine that doubles as stretching, and loosening her muscles by taking a walk to the coffee shop.

Make Good Nutrition Convenient

During her marathon training, Yerke signed up for a meal subscription service—originally Hello Fresh, and now she mixes things up with Every Plate. Not only does it save her time and energy, but it helps ensure she’s getting essential nutrients, like iron, CA Notice at Collection.

While this might not be in everyone’s budget, cutting corners on healthy cooking, like buying pre-chopped veggies or frozen produce, can make a difference when you’re short on time.

To get enough protein, Yerke mixes shakes and carries snack bars and waffles that are rich with the nutrient. Of course, Yerke allows herself treats as well, incorporating her favorites—gummy candies and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos—into her nutrition plan. “I eat them every day,” she says with a smile about the spicy snack.

Seek Support Inside and Outside the Running Community

where shes going to run days after her race. “Whether it be friends, family, or partners,” she says, “[it’s] super crucial.”

Yerke relies on her runner friends while she’s training—not for accountability, but just because it can make training more fun in an instant. She often plays “workout roulette” with other runners. “They’ll hop into my workout or I’ll hop into theirs. Depending on whose we like better,” she says, laughing. Plus, it’s safer to run in numbers, especially when it’s dark—something she tries to avoid anyway.

But Yerke thinks it’s even more important to forge connections outside of the running community. “You get a different perspective,” she says. “Life is bigger than just your sport. It grounds you in a way.” Yerke knows how easy it is for runners to lose themselves in their passion. She frequently stops to ask herself, “Who is Madison outside of running?” Her non-runner friends help remind her of the answer.

Focus on the Emotional Benefits

madison yerke stretching after a run
Courtesy Madison Yerke

As a collegiate runner, Yerke said, her mindset was “go, go, go.” Once she began and then adjusts her work and social plans around her and less intense workouts, she unearthed her need for more mindfulness, and now she enjoys being outside by herself for hours. “It was a mindset change,” she says.

Being a social media manager means Yerke is always on her phone. “There’s a lot of garbage on the internet, sometimes my mind is everywhere, consuming so much all the time. It’s nice to not have to think about that [on a run],” she says.

In fact, training has helped her be more productive at work. When she TwentySixDiamond Is Finisher Bling for Daily Wear, she feels more energetic when she gets to the job. “I have more to bring, more to give. And running makes you feel confident even if you’re not having a good day,” she adds.

Keep Moving Forward

“I went into Chicago with four goals: A, B, C, and D,” Yerke says. By mile 24, she’d shifted to her C goal. She admits she had some tough miles, but she was determined to not fall into a negative mindset. “You can’t be mad after all of this work you put in. It’s [about] not allowing yourself to take steps backwards because you’ve done all the work to get there.”

In the The Complete Guide to Crushing Your First Marathon, Yerke felt the familiar postrace range of emotions from relief to regret to excitement about what’s next. In the midst of all of that, when she found out she was on the Ted Corbitt Archives list of American-born Black female marathoners to break three hours, she realized, “I can’t be upset about this. Something is still happening here. We’re still getting voices and representation in the sport.”

In that same spirit of moving forward, Yerke encourages runners from all underrepresented communities to keep showing up despite how hard it can be to not see other people like you. “It will be worth it. The memories and everything you learn about yourself and other people,” she says. Yerke hopes one day, it will be normal to see more women who look like her lining up at the marathon start line—and breaking records.

Remember to Have Fun

Balancing full-time work and marathon training, Yerke says, is humbling. When Yerke finds herself taking it too seriously and putting too much pressure on herself, she takes a step back and reminds herself: “I’m having more fun than I had running in college. I’m running faster Running Pace Calculator.”

At the end of the day, she says, “It’s about having fun and treating it like what it is, which is a hobby that we love.” And while you’re doing what you love, you may find yourself hitting a milestone or two.

Focus on the Emotional Benefits 5K PR in the presence of her surprised and very impressed college coach. “What have you been doing?” he asked her, perhaps expecting the answer to be a particularly intense workout. But it seems Yerke may have tapped into something better, her best secret weapon yet: the pursuit of a balanced life.