I was googling inspiring running quotes a couple of days ago (as you do, right?) and one of them made me want to get up and just go – head out the door, up the road to the park, then just run. No GPS, no pace, no nothing – just go and feel the ground beneath my feet and the air in my lungs.
For me, like so many others, running is the answer. Out on the road it is just you, the pavement, and your will.
– John Bingham
Then I shifted in my seat a little and was quickly reminded that it takes me about five full minutes to get up from a seated position these days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m staying active and trying to have as fit a pregnancy as possible, but at 38 weeks and a few days, there’s no more running for me until I’m a mama of two. I’m not going to lie, I’ve interviewed so many mother runners for Fit Mama Friday, many of whom have said, “Oh, I went for a run the morning of the day I gave birth!” I stopped running at 36 weeks in my first pregnancy and I always had it in the back of my mind that this time around, I would be like those fit mamas and run run run right up until labor. Very clearly, though, that will not be the case with me and I’ve made my peace with that. (Kind of).
So since I’m not getting out and running right now, I’m making myself feel better by focusing on my postpartum return to running. I remember distinctly the first time I went running after giving birth to Roman. It was about 6 or 7 weeks postpartum and while I figured it would be slow and a little uncomfortable, I also thought that not being pregnant and a lot lighter would make it feel so much more comfortable than my last few pregnant runs.
It was miserable.
I was miserable.
It was hard; everything about it felt a little ‘off’; I was slow; my pelvic floor had not recovered, so each step made me pee a little. And here’s the thing about running while pregnant – people glance at you and see a pregnant woman kicking ass. Here’s the thing about postpartum running – people glance at you and see an out-of-shape woman who may never have run a day in her life. At least, that’s how I felt. I wanted to carry a sign reading, “I just gave birth!!” What I will say is that every time I went out after that first awful run was better, more fun, easier and faster. Starting from scratch has a huge benefit that you are constantly making improvements in the beginning – it’s incredibly motivating.
The way I prefer to approach goals is to set the biggest, most ambitious goal first, then work slowly backwards from there.
So… the big goal?
A Spring 2016 Marathon. I know, it’s way in the future. But that’s my end goal: It will be a year postpartum and I’m hoping to either meet or better my 3:59 marathon PR. I’m leaning towards the Vermont City Marathon, held in Burlington VT in May. It’s a small race – 3,600 entrants – and what seems like a good course map: A significant hill at mile 15, but the last 4.5 miles are downhill or flat.
The medium goal?
I’m all signed up for Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon, on October 10 this year!
I already know Melissa from The Valentine RD and Michele from NYC Running Mama are running it and Nellie from Brooklyn Active Mama will be there cheering (she’s running the Staten Island Half Marathon the following day) – is anyone else going to be there? Let’s organize a big blogger brunch afterwards! Or something fun! Where I can have an alcoholic beverage!! 🙂 This will be my first ever Rock ‘n’ Roll race, too, so I’m excited for that experience – I’ve heard nothing but super-positive things about the series.
The small goal?
No other races planned, but here’s my basic timeline for getting into half marathon shape by October (6 months postpartum), then continuing on to my big marathon goal.
First 6 weeks: Snuggling, walking, possibly some at-home yoga practice – totally dependent on recovery.
6 – 12 weeks postpartum: Starting running again, using the walk break method. Back to yoga (postpartum classes), restart strength training with light weights, for endurance.
12 weeks to mid-July: Focus on building strength with heavier weights in strength training, switch to regular yoga, increase long run distance/time incrementally.
Mid-July: Begin a 12 week half marathon training program, continuing with strength training and yoga.
October 2015 – January 2016: Gradually increase weekly long run distance up to about 15 miles, staying in half marathon shape.
Mid-January 2016: Start a 16 week marathon training plan. Woo Hoo!! 🙂
You’ll notice my timeline is pretty loosey-goosey, with the exception of the specific training plans for the half and the full. That’s definitely on purpose – if there’s something I learned from the first time around postpartum running, it’s that you just don’t know how you’ll feel, you can’t anticipate the demands on your time that being a mama entails (and of course, I have NO idea what it’s like to be a mama of two – woah!), so it’s better to be flexible from the beginning.
Mamas, did you have a plan for getting back to your workout routine after giving birth?
MotherRunners – any advice for me for the second time of getting back to running?