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Mar 8, 2023

“So, you want to run a full marathon?” – Thoughts from Coach Tia

Tia Pettygrue is from Carson, California, and has resided in Tampa, Florida for over 30 years.

She has been married for 32 years and will have run her  11th Marathon, (the first one in over 5 years), on March 5, 2023.  She has run 158 half-marathons!

WOW! Now that deserves a round of applause!

Let’s learn a few things about Coach Tia before the BGR! Live Interview Event on March 22, 2023, at 9:00 p.m. EST!

There’s a quote on her website that reads:

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” ~ Katherine Switzer  Tell us what is behind the selection of that quote. Why did you select that quote?

Tia: I included it because of how inspiring it is to watch a marathon. So many people think you have to look like “this or that” to run, and when you watch a marathon, you see that every kind of person is out there. And whether they’re running a 5-minute mile or a 20-minute mile, they’re all completing 26.2 miles and THAT is awesome!  It shows the power of the human spirit to set a goal and accomplish it.

There’s a section on your website: entitled “More About Tia”.  What would you say to a woman, like you, who has 5Ks under her belt and even a marathon, but has put back on some weight, and/or is currently experiencing life issues (arthritis, knee pain, etc.)?  What would you tell her from a coach’s perspective in regard to keeping her routine?

Tia: This has definitely been me over the years.  I’ve struggled with my weight since my late 30s. #TheStruggleIsReal! From a Coach’s perspective, I would first say, don’t let it stop you from setting goals and moving forward.  Make sure you see a doctor so there are no underlying issues, but as long as you’re cleared to run, focus on your running form, strength training, and hip mobility.  And with the weight, what I’ve seen more often than not is that women especially don’t eat enough and know when to eat, we don’t eat enough protein, so make sure your body is getting enough nutrients.

On the last page of your website, you have a blurb that says: Let’s talk to see if we’re a good fit for each other. How do you tell if an interested potential client is a good fit?

Tia: For a marathon, it truly is a time commitment, so I need to make sure they are not only willing to commit to this, but they will have support to do so.  Most marathons have a 7-hour time limit, so I want to find out if they’re current Half PR will fit in that time frame.  If not, I encourage them to better their half distance, as no one wants to run their first marathon worrying about not being able to finish it.  Also every once in a while, I’ll have someone that has some medical or other issues that are more than I’m qualified to deal with, and I’m okay with saying we’re not a good fit.

You’re going to discuss training for a full marathon on the BGR! Live event on March 22nd. Can you offer some tips on how to show yourself self-care AFTER the marathon?  What are some things one should do to recover?

Tia:  I’m a big fan of pre – and post–massages.  Getting a massage a couple of days after a marathon is a great idea.  I also believe in what I call a “reset period”, taking some time off from any structured workouts.  There’s nothing wrong with taking 1 – 2 weeks off from running after a marathon experience.  It doesn’t mean you don’t do anything but just nothing structured, but just what feels good.  For some, they jump right back in a few days, and some are happy to just not run for a week or two.  Foam rolling is key for the first week as well.  It won’t feel good but those quads will appreciate it.  It is normal to experience some post-marathon blues, so after a few days, start setting your next goal!


Do you have any secrets on how to balance your family life and stay consistent with your workout/training goals?

Tia: I’ve coached people with the busiest of lives, from attorneys working 18 hours a day, to single parents with 5 children and more. One of the things I initially ask about is family support. This is crucial for marathon training.  When I’m coaching BGR-U training, one of the classes I teach focuses on this subject.  One of the best solutions will always be to get up earlier to get the run in before “life” starts.  This way, it is complete and at the end of the day, you are with your family and you’ve completed your workout so you have a sense of accomplishment.  Also, if you are asking for family support for your training, make sure you are supporting your family as well.  Give your partner and/or children THEIR time.

When you are running, don’t stress about not being with your family, and when you’re with your family, don’t spend your time thinking about your running.  If unforeseen circumstances get in the way of your run and you just can’t get it in, don’t beat yourself up about it.  Focus on the next day.  Preparation is key.  Just like meal prep is key to helping with weight loss, you have to prep your time and life.  Like meal prep, if you do it right, it doesn’t take a lot of time or energy.

If you’re looking for a trainer for your first or next marathon, check out Coach Tia! She will definitely have you more than prepared and ready!

Yaayyy Coach Tia!  Thank you for being an inspiration and sharing your tips with us.

Mark your calendar to check out Tia’s Facebook chat on the BGR page about preparing for a full marathon. Coach Tia will go live on March 22, 2023, at 9:00 p.m. EST.

By: Eden Barbee-Mabry / (@gardenonthegram – IG/ @EdenJBe – Twitter)
Eden Barbee-Mabry is an Education Support Analyst with the State of Georgia. Eden is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and was led to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia after graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1988. Eden joined Black Girls Run! in the Spring of 2016 and graduated from the Walk B4 You Run program in June of 2016 and is currently Run Lead for the Fairburn, Georgia group. Eden is a purse lover and strives to inspire every woman because her belief is that although the circumstances may be different, every woman can extract strength from another woman’s story.