I am 9 weeks postpartum.
I would like to be running farther.
The second truth is pretty much always there regardless of what phase of motherhood I’m in. Right now I’m in a rebuilding period. Base building can be mentally hard. First, it requires a lot of easy paced running. Letting go of the emotional attachment to what your watch is telling can be really difficult. Particularly if your data is public, say on Strava, it can be upsetting for some people to let their slower paces be seen. Here’s the thing though. ALMOST ALL OF US RUN OUR SLOW RUNS TOO FAST. Take some pride in your ability to slow down. The second piece is where I struggle. My build is a rebuild. It’s not new mileage to me. It’s new mileage to where I’m at. My legs have gone farther and I want them to GO FARTHER RIGHT NOW! I’ve mentioned I’m not always the most patient.
So here’s where I’m at. A postpartum rebuild is more similar to coming back from injury than it is building to a new distance for the first time. You have to be very aware of your body and listen to any signs that you’re overdoing things. I’m currently training for a 24 hour race. In timed races you just run as much as you can in that amount of time. The person who goes the furthest wins. People have asked me what my goal is for this race. It’s in April, and Walter will be 4 months old; so really anywhere between 2 and 100 miles will be great. Seriously though, I’m not going in with mileage goals an expectations. I’ll run it to the best of my ability and use it as a baseline for my races later in the year.
I’m not writing out a formal schedule the way that I normally would for a race. Instead I’m running much more intuitively. I have some mileage goals for the week, a minimum number of days I’d like to run, and a set amount of strength work I plan to fit in. If something feels off, I stop. I take a rest day. That way I can put my rest days wherever I need them. So yes, there’s still some scheduling involved, but it’s less formalized.
I’m also putting in a lot more two a days than I ever have. It allows me to get in more miles while allowing for a little rest between longer impact runs, as well as it making our nursing schedule easier. There are days where I really want to run, but my body isn’t having it. So I can hike on the treadmill at an incline (less impact) and do some core work instead. My husband and I talk a lot about where everything fits best so that I can fit in what I need, but minimize the impact on our family time.
Training looks different for everyone depending on where they are at in their relationship with running. I like a lot of structure in my personal plan, so this has been an interesting shift. I’ve been really pleased with how much I’ve been able to get in though, especially allowing for so much wiggle room. I’m looking forward to when I can plan more formally, but right now I’m enjoying this freedom.
***I would also like to acknowledge that I am incredibly fortunate to be able to be running as much as I am right now. Every mom has a different postpartum journey, this happens to be mine.