A Marathon of a Journey: How Marathons and IVF are Similar

Why I Am Running The Boston Marathon to Shine Light on Fertility
By: Katie O’Connor, Founder, Shine: A Light On Fertility
April 19-25 is National Infertility Awareness Week #YouAreNotAlone

I love to run, people who know me know I LOVE to run, especially marathons, it makes me ME! It gives me energy and strength and a sense of calm like meditation. While going through infertility treatments, I stopped running all together. I wasn’t allowed to train long distance, and at that point, I wanted to get pregnant so badly, I was ok with stepping away from running for the time. I walked a ton, I wish I had logged all my miles! I still felt like a part of me was missing. But I knew that once we got pregnant, and I had recovered, and got the green light to run again, I would that much more excited to lace up and hit the lakefront path!

In a lot of ways training for a marathon and preparing for IVF are similar!

When you are training for a marathon, you have to be dedicated to the training, adjust your lifestyle, eat the right things, all to get yourself mentally and physically ready for the big day (the race). For IVF, you also have to be dedicated, this time to the monitoring, prepare your body to be tested and tried, endure the shots, patches, and meds, all to get yourself mentally and physically ready for the big day (the retrieval and transfer surgery).

During my own infertility struggle I remember days where I was up before sunrise to head to the doctor for blood work, ultrasound and monitoring daily, much like there are mornings I am up early to go out on a 15 mile run.  There were days where I would have to give myself 3-4 shots during my treatment, much like there are days where I train for 2-3 hours in preparation for the marathon.  Preparing for IVF takes months, much like the marathon takes months to prepare for.

Both events test you more than you ever thought possible. They break you down, and show you just how strong you are. Just when you think you can’t push anymore, run one more step, or take one more shot, you have success.

Crossing the finish line of my first marathon was pure euphoria, similar to the feeling I had when I heard the words “you are pregnant”.You are on cloud nine. For a second the world stops, and also feels like it’s spinning around you all at the same time.

I could not be more excited to be lacing up on Monday April 20th 2015, for the Boston Marathon! It will mark the 10th anniversary of my first time experiencing the iconic race, and this time I am racing with purpose, I am running for my organization Shine: A Light On Fertility, and #runningtoraiseawareness!

Katie O’Connor is the founder of Shine: a Light on Fertility, a unique fertility support community. She is a wife, mom, only child, marathon runner, fitness instructor, and fertility advocate! 

April 19-25 is National Infertility Awareness Week #YouAreNotAlone


  1. I loved reading this. I too enjoy to run, I have never ran a marathon, but I did run a half marathon. After my 1st half marathon I started the IVF journey and stopped running as well. Due to feeling crappy and not being able to and due to the winter we had in MA. I recently started running again, very slowly because I have some time off till I start my next cycle. I have missed the time to myself and being able to get out there for even a little bit has helped. I too, look to hoping to get pregnant because I want that more than anything and I will be excited when I can take on another half marathon.
    Thank you Katie for this and for shining a light on infertility. I am thinking about you today as you run Boston2015!

    • Thank you Jolene!!! I appreciate you writing, and keep faith, you will get back on the road!!! Good luck with all your treatments, I will be thinking about you, and can’t wait to cheer you on at your next race!!


  2. In a real sense, it is! An IVF to get prepared for is absolutely a psychological setup that would ever add into a physical issue to overcome. The whole cycle is although long is defined as successful as the doctor’s last success in IVF for another patient. Pretty nice info; appreciate!!

  3. I am very pleased to read such a wonderful post. Now I am eager to learn more about this stuffs you mention. Please keep on doing a good job and I’ll be glad to read all your posts.

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