My Thoughts on Postpartum Marathon Training
Good morning and happy Tuesday to all you lovely humans! I hope your week has been off to a fabulous start and you have a great upcoming couple days ahead.
Now that I am nine weeks (?!) into Marathon Training, I wanted to share what I’ve learned so far and how my body is adapting to the ever-increasing mileage.
So, let’s do a little backstory first. I ran a half marathon three years ago and finished with a time of 1:50. Looking back, I probably trained a little too hard. I finished the half marathon feeling good, but eventually a lack of proper training knowledge and shoes eventually led me to shin splints. I battled that injury + IT band problems for a while and never really seemed to bounce back into my favorite, high miles until right before I got pregnant with my son.
Right before my pregnancy, I was running four miles, three times a week and running around 6-8 miles on the weekend. I had finally felt like my injuries were at bay and my miles were increasing. Then, I found out I was pregnant and my distance goals faded as I focused on having a healthy, active pregnancy.
Once I had Benaiah, I jumped back into running six weeks postpartum. Honestly, I thought I would be training harder, faster, and longer a lot more quickly than it happened. I tried increasing speed to fast and strained a hip flexor. Once I realized I was doing the same thing that gave me shin splits (i.e. running through pain just because I want to run) I took some time off to let it heal completely before jumping back into training.
Slowly, I began building mileage through the months and really let my body run at it’s comfortable and happy place. I am pretty competitive (especially when it comes to myself) and it was REALLY hard for me to let my body run 9 min/ miles or slower. For me, who is used to running 7 min/mi and some 6 min/mile splits, 9 minute miles felt SO SLOW. But, I knew (this time) thanks to research and trail and error, that building a rock solid base before trying to increase mileage and speed would be crucial to my postpartum comeback.
And it really is true. I am now running anywhere from 3-7 mile runs mid-week and 10-13 mile runs on the weekend. I am injury free (so far) thanks to a TON of injury prevention work and behind the scenes strength training.
If I had to boil it all down to a couple of points, what I’ve learned, so far, through this postpartum marathon training cycle is:
- Don’t be afraid to go SLOW – with pace and building time. As I mentioned above, it is really hard for me to do almost anything slow. I like to run fast, be busy all day long, eat fast, etc. However, building pace and distance efficiently and safely takes time and it’s OKAY. Sure, I probably could have dove into marathon training right after baby, but, more than likely, I would have gotten hurt and frustrated with runs that felt hard and painful. As the saying goes, ‘Good things come to those who wait.’
- Comparison is always the thief of joy. There is ALWAYS going to be stronger, faster, and leaner than me (or you.) There is always going to be another mom who ran a marathon right after she had her baby or someone who clocks 5 minute miles with ease. But, when I feel that sense of comparison in my spirit, I need to remember that that is not my story and that is okay. I am Bethany, God has made me with different talents, skills, and abilities than anyone, and that < is awesome.
- Hold goals and runs loosely. As a planner, I love to map out my runs weeks in advance, plan out my day to a T and prepare my meals in advance. BUT, hello as a mom that hardly ever works. And you know what, it is OKAY. I’ve been learning that not every run will go as planned, I may be stuck with the treadmill for weeks and it is alright. Because first, I am a mom and then I am a runner.
- Never underestimate myself and trust the process. I remember thinking, as I looked on my training plan “Can I really do this?” “12 miles seems like a loonnng ways…” But, you know what? When I take each run, each day at a time, and trust the marathon training process, eventually 12 mile runs or 10 mile runs or 6 miles tempo workouts, feel like a breeze. Not because I am special, but because if anyone has a goal and they do the work, anyone can do it.
I hope you guys have a fabulous day!
Questions of the Day
- Do you have any current running goals?
- What is your favorite workout currently?
- Any fun Tuesday plans today?!