After taking a hiatus from blogging during basically my entire pregnancy, I finally feel like blogging again. It was weird, but almost immediately after seeing the word positive on that pregnancy test I stopped feeling like blogging. Then the tiredness hit and blogging was basically done. I’m back to training and consistently running, so it seems like a good time to get back to it. Notice I didn’t say I’m not tired, but that is a given.
Since having the little man 12 weeks ago I have slowly started running again after doing a lot of walking first. I read a lot about pelvic floor health and how important it is during pregnancy and after if you want to return to running healthy, injury free and not peeing your pants. I’d like to say I did all the pelvic floor exercises they recommended, but then I’d be lying. Why I hate them so I’ll never know.
What I did follow though was listening to my body when I was pregnant. I didn’t push the miles. Some days I ran and some days I didn’t. After week 33 there wasn’t anymore running, just walking, hiking and some ellipticalling (yes, it should be a word.) After birth I again listened to my body and started slow. My first post-partum run at 4.5 weeks was less than a mile and was only because the baby wanted to eat NOW and we were not home from a walk yet. But, it felt good so a few days later I went again this time making it 2.25 miles. I never pushed too hard. If my pelvis or lower abs were sore (which they were in the beginning) then I gave myself rest days in between run days.
As for this marathon training cycle I have tried to safe guard it as much as possible. I gave myself 11 weeks to ease back in and run without following a training plan. I started walking at 8 days post-partum when it was nice enough to get outside. Remember it is Wisconsin where I live. Even though the kid was born in April it snowed (flurried) several days after he was born.
After walking for four weeks, trying to always be conscience to engage my core throughout every walk, I started adding in one run a week, then two, then three and so on. Despite having abs that were weaker than I could have ever imagined, I avoided ab work because of having mild diastasis recti (ab seperation) and ab work can make it worse. Instead I did some pelvic floor work and non-crunch ab work. This 12 week no crunch ab workout plan includes planks which some sources I read said to avoid, but I did them anyway. I did not do the plan everyday, but tried to a few days a week.
For the four weeks before I started officially training I consistently ran 3-4 days a week adding mileage slowly and continuing to walk 10-20 miles a week. I’ve done some HIIT workouts, SOME pelvic floor work, and have been going to yoga once a week for the past month. Yoga has really helped with my abs and pelvic floor muscles as I feel how often they are engaged. I’ve been alternating between a Yoga Sculpt class with weights and a more typical yoga class.
With all of this in mind I feel I am ready to start training again. It is so important to listen to your own body and do what is best for you. I’ve read blogs about people racing at 8 weeks and heard from women who weren’t interested in racing until their baby was 9 months or older. Listen to yourself. My first “race” was at 11 weeks and was not a big distance. Check out my Firecracker 4 mile race report for more details.
My training plan will be completely different then in the past. Often past training plans had my mileage around 40-50 miles per week by mid-cycle. One training cycle I peaked at running 70 miles in a week. While I’m still proud of that number, my life is different now. My number one goal is to get to the start line of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon healthy and injury free and feeling excited about the race, not burnt out or resentful.
To keep balance in my life the plan includes only four days of running a week, one day of cross training a week, and one 20 mile run in the training cycle. In the past I’ve always ran 5-6 days a week and often completed three 20 mile runs during my training. Not only do I not think my body is ready for that, but I don’t want to either.
With getting back into a routine of running I’ve really noticed how hard it is to push yourself when you are tired. Sometimes the hardest muscle to work isn’t even a muscle-it’s your brain. I don’t want to be attempting tempo runs, track workouts with specific splits, or crazy amounts of long runs right now. I don’t have the mental energy to hit those paces or the desire. I don’t want that stress in my life right now. Just leaving for a run can be stressful enough.
Some days when I look at my little man it is almost impossible for me to leave for a run. I just want to hold him or stare at him. I want to enjoy being a new mommy and not feel like running is taking anything away from these once in a lifetime moments. I also know I do need time away to recharge and be a good mom. When he sleeps is usually when I run. I don’t feel so guilty then or like I might miss something. Only a few weeks in and already mom guilt!
This plan is longer than some I’ve followed to give myself extra time to ease into training. You can see the marathon training plan I’m following made by Hal Higdon. It would be a great plan for a first time marathoner or someone, who like me, wants to ease into training and keep a balance between life and running. I cut off the first 6 weeks to fit my timeline and did those next first few weeks as unofficial training. The training plan certainly won’t get you a PR or make you feel like the marathon itself was easy, but it should prepare you for the race. Of course, I’m not an expert so take my thoughts as only suggestions based on my experience.
I’m hoping to post each week like I did for the Wisconsin Marathon. I like to document my training to refer back to and to hold myself accountable. Lastly, losing the baby weight is important to me. Posting each week will help me stay on track with all these goals.
So much of how I feel is based on how I feel about myself. This might be stupid, but it is my reality. So many people said breastfeeding is the way to lose weight after baby, however I have not really found that to be true. I’ve never lost weight at a slower pace than in the past 10 weeks which is frustrating, but ok since losing weight is not the reason I chose this option for my baby.
Previously I have been lucky so far in life and usually could easily lose 1-2 pounds a week if needed by adjusting my calories based on intake and exercise. I’ve tried increasing calories to make sure I’m eating enough with breastfeeding, taking the middle ground, and cutting calories and none of it seems to make a difference. My diet has been pretty healthy considering I’ve had to cut out dairy for the little guy. No pizza, ice cream or sometimes I swear anything and you’d think I’d lose the pounds a little faster. I’m losing the weight, but VERY SLOWLY. I still have 10 pounds to go after all my effort, but I remain determined. Of course meeting my baby’s needs always comes first.
After a long-winded introduction here is what week 1 of my training looked like.
Week #1 Training-
Monday-5 mile run (last weeks long run got moved)
Tuesday-off, 5 mile walk
Wednesday-3 mile run, 3 mile walk, yoga sculpt class
Thursday-3 mile run
Saturday-6 mile run, 2.5 mile walk
Sunday-3 mile run with jogger (Our 1st!)
Running with a jogging stroller is no joke! This is going to take some getting used to, but will give me freedom to run when the husband is gone. I only plan to use the jogger for shorter runs as my abs are still weak, and I want to make sure I run with proper form for longer runs until I get stronger.
Most sources say to wait until your infant is 6 months or older to use the jogging stroller on a run. After talking with P’s pediatrician and seeing he’s been holding his head up for a month and a half, I feel it is safe. He is also in his infant seat and we bought a quality jogging stroller (Bob Revolution Flex-Amazon has best price by like $100). The kid’s head doesn’t even move. Do what you feel is best for your child!
Week #1 Training Miles-20 miles
Stay tuned for I’m sure many ups and downs as I continue to adjust to being a new mother runner!