"We run when we're scared, we run when we're ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time." Christopher McDougall (Born to Run)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Getting Back in the Saddle Post-Pregnancy

Last night I went running for the first time in months and it felt absolutely amazing.  My daughter Madison was born just under seven weeks ago on October 12.   I continued running for the few months of my pregnancy but stopped running in the fifth month.  Instead, I used the elliptical machine and continued with long hikes for the duration of my pregnancy.  I also continued doing an abbreviated weight lifting routine during my entire pregnancy (mainly biceps, triceps, and quads).   However, in the first four weeks after Madison was born, I barely got any exercise other than short neighborhood walks.     And as we all know, pregnancy destroys your ab muscles so I have a lot of work to do to regain my core strength.

As a person who has exercised regularly since I was in grade school, it was a strange feeling to have to start from scratch with a workout routine.  After Madison was born I first started with short walks around the neighborhood, then I gradually took longer and longer walks.  Next, I started hiking again and this past weekend I went on a 2 hour hike while also carrying Madison in the carrier (she is about 11-12 pounds now).  Last night I finally went on my first run!!!  I tend to really watch the clock when running on a treadmill so I chose to run outside.  I stuck to neighborhood streets and stayed close to my house in the event I got a half mile away and felt like death.  To my surprise, running felt a lot better than I expected.  I just ran two miles to start.  My hips ached, my knees were a little sore, and my pace was excruciatingly slow compared to a year ago, but my breathing was not that labored and when I finished the run I felt like I could have kept going.  
The Goal and the Plan:
When I got pregnant I immediately set a running goal for after the arrival of Madison.  My goal was, and still remains, to run the half marathon in the Oakland Running Festival on March 24, 2013.  I put together a 16 week training plan to ensure I meet my target.  Below is a summary of the current plan:

                  Long Run 
Week 1:     4 miles  
Week 2:     4 miles
Week 3:     5 miles
Week 4:     5 miles
Week 5:     6 miles
Week 6:     6 miles
Week 7:     7 miles
Week 8:     7 miles
Week 9:     8 miles
Week 10:   8 miles
Week 11:  10 miles
Week 12:   8  miles
Week 13:  12 miles
Week 14:  No Long Run - Ski Trip to Utah
Week 15:  10 miles
Week 16:   8 miles
Week 17:   Half Marathon!!