Just a month before her 54th birthday in December, Teri Hatcher will be running her second marathon.
“The first one I ran by myself, so it’ll be really different,” Hatcher tells PEOPLE.
The reason why? She won’t be doing the 26.2-mile run alone: Hatcher and her daughter, Emerson Tenney, will be running side-by-side at the TCS New York City Marathon on Nov. 4 on behalf of the charity Save the Children. (To find out more about the organization and donate, click here.)
“We have a really close great relationship, but I think that she would say, and I agree with this, that this is different than just going on a trip or spending time together,” says Hatcher. “Something about the ups and downs of training for such a physical feat as a marathon — that sort of vulnerability, the adversity that you have to get through and pushing through walls together — and having that experience as a team; it’s just a bonding thing that you can’t really replace or have from any other experience. And I think we both wanted that together.”
Twenty-year-old Tenney, who is studying at Brown University with a concentration in Literary Arts, is equally excited about the mother-daughter bonding experience.
“For me, it’s all about running it together. As incredible of a physical achievement as a marathon is, that has never been my main motivation,” Tenney shares.
“I want to run the NYC marathon because I want to run it with my mom. I’m grateful that as I get older, we can share so many experiences together, and I’m lucky that my mom is such a badass that she’s able to inspire me and push me to try things outside of my comfort zone,” says Tenney. “At the end of the day, I think we inspire each other and that’s what the marathon is all about for me — celebrating mother-daughter relationships and the strength those relationships can give us to overcome obstacles.”
To prepare for the marathon, the pair have been working under the guidance of TrainingMate founder Luke Milton, who has them on a strength training and running program.
“It basically involves a couple of shorter, medium-length runs a week and one longer run and then some strength training on other days,” says L.A.-based Hatcher.
Although this will be Hatcher’s second time running a long-distance race, she admits that running isn’t her favorite physical activity.
“I don’t think either of us love running,” she says of herself and Tenney. “I keep thinking there’s going to be a day when I actually truly love it, but the truth is, I’m not sure that I’ve ever loved any workout. … But what I do love is afterwards. I love the endorphin feeling; I love knowing that I’ve reached an accomplishment,” says Hatcher, adding that she prefers cycling.
She also recognizes the positive impact physical activity has on mental health.
“I absolutely think exercise — whether it’s running or interval training — is really paramount to good mental health,” says the actress.
In addition to leading an active lifestyle, Hatcher also maintains a healthy diet.
“Food-wise, I think the easiest thing is really just — and it’s not that genius — but it’s: eat real food. Eat your whole foods. The farther you stay away from processed anything, I think it’s better and you don’t have to make it much more complicated than that,” she shares.
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Having had a successful decades-long career in Hollywood, the Desperate Housewives alum — she starred as Susan Mayer from 2004 to 2012 — understands the pressures that can come with being in front of the camera.
But over time, and now being in her 50s, she’s learned to focus less on the exteriors and instead prioritize strength.
“I guess the fortunate thing about aging is that you get an opportunity to be less critical of some exterior package and more focused on who you are as a human being,” she says. “When you’re over 50 — and I think this should be the way it is no matter what age you are — I think it’s actually easier when you’re older to be less lured into feeling like you have to define yourself by how you look in a bikini.”