Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Half marathon (pregnancy) training plan recap

This is it. The final countdown. Not to my first marathon (re)attempt, but to a half marathon instead. This is not my first running rodeo, but this is the first time I've completed an entire training program PREGNANT.

I started out (not knowing I was pregnant for first 2 weeks of program) using the Another Mother Runner "finish it" marathon plan. I followed this plan as prescribed up thru week 6, or gestation week 9. Up until this time, I was conflicted about what to do with my pregnancy and training. On the one hand, I felt great and thought I would be fine continuing with my full marathon training. On the other hand, I didn't want to jeopardize my health or that of the fetus.

A thoughtful email from Kia (Determined to be Fit) and a couple supportive, but questioning, emails from Tall Mom Mel helped me sort out my thoughts and feelings which were then further affirmed after reading a book, Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by James Clapp, that Kia recommended. And, fortunately, my doctor supported my decision.

Decision: Switch to the half marathon "finish it" program, eliminate high intensity efforts keeping my relative perceived effort at a moderate level, maintain miles, be extra vigilant about fueling & hydration, and most importantly, listen to my body during and after my runs. Try to keep expectations low regarding performance and likelihood of running the entire half marathon, accepting that I might need to walk-jog or walk my "race" if running just wasn't feeling good.

I surprisingly found that my long runs felt great, they were at a slower pace anyway, but I did get more fatigued by the effort and needed a more relaxed recovery period post long run.

I have held my breath at the beginning of each week wondering what my body would deliver, knowing that any run could be that one that told me to chill way out or even stop. It hasn't happened yet!

At gestation week 17, I started using the Gabrialla medium support belt. This helped me with my lower back weakness, which was a problem for me pre-pregnancy as well. As I grow, I'm sure I'll appreciate the belly support as well. After the Eugene Half, I'm going to give my lower back a break and just stick to shorter runs that are well under 60 minutes. I don't want to risk fatiguing my lower back to the point where I am immobilized. Instead, I'll run short & easy and work on doing some planks and other strength work.

So how did I do on this training round? I narrowed the running down to 3 days/week with the goal of supplementing with at least 2 days of cross-training (mostly biking) per week. I don't have the same nifty chart showing how well I did on the cross-training, though I can tell you I was not as consistent as I was with my running:

Somehow during the copy/paste, my columns got shifted so days/dates are off but the numbers in the end are all fine.  A few low weeks in there due to travel and being busy but overall pretty good given the first trimester SUCKS for energy and the second one is where you actually starting feeling like you are carrying some extra weight.
I'm proud of this even though I feel like it was a fluke. My last pregnancy - - I didn't run at all. It hurt to walk after about 6 months. Every person is so different, and clearly different pregnancies for the same person, can vary quite a bit. I think it's critical to remember that you can't compare yourself to others or your previous pregnancies in this situation, you have to just listen to your body and take it one day at a time. 

That's it folks: My pregnancy training in a nutshell. I didn't know if I could make it this far but I'm so freaking excited that I have. As long as this week goes well, I will be at that starting line on Sunday and will be able to run the whole (half) race! 

As for the full marathon that keeps eluding me...I'm hoping I can recover in time to run my first one in late fall 2014. More on that another day.

11 comments:

  1. Too early to request a CIM 2014 meetup? :D

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    1. Hmmm...I like the timing & elevation profile of that race! I had been thinking of Victoria BC in early October otherwise.

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  2. You did so well! See you Friday--this weekend is going to be terrific.

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  4. I think you have a great attitude about running/working out during pregnancy. You do what you can and don't get down on yourself. Every day and every run is probably going to be different. As long as you are doing something positive (even if that something turns into getting extra rest later!) you are all good! You know that you'll get right back on the horse when it is all over.

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  5. SO amazing! Great job, and I can't wait to hear how the half goes!

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  6. You've done an amazing job! So impressive and inspiring. I was a bedrester from 16 wks til delivery so I am in total awe.

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  7. I really have loved keeping up with your training while pregnant. while i'm not there, i hope to be one day, and this is reassuring that it is possible. really proud of you! hope this weekend goes well and yall have so much fun!

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  8. did you take any post work out muscle recoveries while pregnant? I'm in the same boat as you, did not work out at all during my first pregnancy (my dr scared me by saying i must keep my hr below 140 etc and that had me hesitant - even though I've been running since 2007... *sig*) The possibility of a baby #2 is in hte near future and i'm just planning ahead i've never taken post work out recovery mixes before but was wanting to start, but I dont want to start something if i would have to stop in a month or two! lol.... any suggestions?

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    1. Hi Robin - The only muscle recovery things I do are to take curcumin (turmeric) capsules as an anti-inflammatory, wear compression socks, ice, and I also drink one serving of Hammer Nutrition's Recoverite drink within 30 minutes of finishing a long effort (>90 min). None of those things have ingredients that were on my "do not take" list for pregnancy. I would say though that it would be a good idea to show anything you are taking to your doctor. Also, I try to just use some general rules for that stuff regardless of whether I'm pregnant or not: I always try to avoid synthetic sweeteners and any other synthetic ingredients. Ideally, I try to avoid foods with any ingredient list but when it comes to running, it's hard to avoid that stuff. So, I try to find products (like Hammer Nutrition) that have as few artificial colorings, preservatives, additives, etc as possible. As for exercise during pregnancy, I definitely recommend reading "Exercising THrough Your Pregnancy" by Dr. James Clapp.
      Best of luck with both your pregnancy and exercise! Listen to your body :)

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