4 months ago it was hard to believe that this journey would ever come to an end. In some ways, I’m not sure a postpartum journey ever does but I do know that my goal and journey to run Boston postpartum has come to an end.
In case you missed it, you can read my full recap of the 2017 Boston Marathon here.
This journey was a fun one and something that I will remember for a long long time. That doesn’t mean it didn’t come with hardships or struggles but it did make me very proud of myself and my body that it was able to build back after the birth of our sweet Easton.
If you’ve been following my journey then you’ve probably read most of these posts but you can find more about my entire postpartum journey below:
Now that this particular journey is over I thought it’d be fun to do a post and look back at it and summarize some of the best and hardest parts.
I came up with the original plan loosely based off of Hal Higdon’s advance marathon training plan but quickly ended up adjusting it more to adapt to running postpartum. The first several weeks I stuck to the plan pretty much exactly but as the weeks progressed and Easton got bigger, stroller running had to become more of a focus instead of the time I had originally spent on the treadmill.
In ran a total of 349 miles during this training cycle. My lowest mileage week was 33 and my highest was 48. It was the lowest mileage training cycle I’ve had but I was amazed still how prepared I felt when it came tor race day.
I ran 6 days a week for 12 weeks with one rest day every week. I typically took it on Friday but sometimes I moved it around if our schedule changed (only when we were on vacation in Florida).
I’d say coming back postpartum the biggest struggle for me was finding my endurance again. There were several weeks when I would dread my long run because I knew they would be the most challenging for me. I found that I had to take my long runs much slower than other runs to make sure that I had enough steam left in the end.
I had some great long runs and some really terrible ones, but I know these made me stronger in the end come marathon day. While long runs have been a struggle in the past for me it was more mental, in this cycle I truly had to build back strength from pregnancy and delivery. I was able to maintain a base during pregnancy but didn’t go further than 11 miles so I had some work to do when it came to endurance.
Since I talked about my biggest struggle, it only makes sense to talk about the best part. Overall I’d say the best part about my postpartum running journey was learning to adapt and how much stronger childbirth (and being a Mom) made me.
My running had to often change if I didn’t sleep as much, Easton was having a bad day, or when he simply didn’t want to sit by the treadmill anymore. The entire second half of my training cycle, aside from long runs, was done with the running stroller. Even my workouts were done pushing my stroller. In the end this made me much stronger, but it wasn’t always easy and definietly made runs harder at times. However; I learned to adapt and I got to enjoy so many miles with the best little running buddy!
How Training Changed
If I think back on how my marathon training was in the cycles prior to getting pregnant there were some major differences:
- less miles postpartum
- more focus on quality of quantity
- focus on strength work
- ease into training much more
Obviously when I began training my body was getting stronger but still had quite a ways to go. The first several weeks I had to be very gentle with my body and I had to ease into the marathon training miles much easier. I tried to focus on the quality of each run instead of adding in a bunch of unnecessary miles. I had to focus more on core work and strength work especially in those early weeks, and just overall took my miles down this cycle to help avoid injury.
In the beginning I had set workouts, but as my training had to change and adapt I went to a more effort based training. This was especially important since I was running with the stroller. The great thing about this is that it set me up perfectly for running Boston without my miles splits. I learned a lot about how my body felt at different paces.
It also took a lot of pressure off for workouts and I went solely off the effort my body was able to give that day. This required me to be more in tune with my body and listen to it much more.
Running a marathon 4 months postpartum was such a learning experience for me but it also was a great challenge in learning to go easy on my body and let it adapt to the training. I get a lot of questions from other soon-to-be Mom’s about if they can run a race postpartum. There isn’t a simple and easy answer to that – it is dependent on many things but for the most part assuming no crazy complications or injuries with the right training it can be done.
Remember – you are stronger than you give yourself credit for! The hardest part in many ways was adjusting to the lack of sleep! It can change constantly so learning to adapt and giving yourself grace can go a long way in postpartum running!