I’m running my first postpartum long-distance race on Saturday – the Hot Chocolate 15K in Minneapolis. I haven’t talked about my training on the blog much, because well, there hasn’t been a ton to talk about. Pre-baby, I did 95% of the workouts on my training plan. Post-baby, I’ve done maybe 60%.
Which may or may not turn out to be a really bad idea. My weekly long run was the one I did consistently – I only missed one, and that was the weekend we were moving. I ended up adjusting the remaining long runs slightly, to account for that (so that my distance didn’t jump up too much in one week). The training plan I’m following (Hal Higdon’s Novice 15K) had my longest run before the race being 8 miles, and I felt comfortable doing only 7.5.
Since I haven’t talked about my training, and my training has been interesting since moving to rural Minnesota, here are what my 3 longest long runs looked like:
3 Weeks Pre-Race
6 Miles, 1:09:22, 11:34 per mile
I know my way around Nevis enough to be confident that I wouldn’t get lost (and the town isn’t that big) so I parked at the Catholic church and took off running. I decided to not look at my Garmin until my playlist ended (around 30 minutes). At that point, I had covered 2.7 miles. So I did a few more loops, aiming to hit at least 5.5 miles – and well, 5 miles would be fine too. Well, I underestimated how long the loop would be so I ended up doing a full 6 miles.
2 Weeks Pre-Race
6.5 Miles, 1:15:28, 11:37 per mile
Park Rapids, MN
I pretty much saw all there was to see (some of it twice!) in Nevis, so for this long run, I headed to the neighboring town of Park Rapids and ran while my mother-in-law got her hair done. This was the first time I had mapped out a route on MapMyRun ahead of time, and then looked it up on my phone to follow it. It actually worked really well, and I would do it again, though I do recommend not making your route such a crazy loop! I didn’t get to enjoy my surroundings as much with this run, since I was constantly looking at my phone trying to figure out where I needed to turn. I also ended up getting a stomachache toward the end, so I cut my run short by 1/2 mile.
7.5 miles, 1:20:21, 10:48 per mile
It was nasty outside this day – 30 degrees, cloudy and windy with gusts up to 25 mph. I was not in a mood to go running, especially in the wind, but it was my LAST long run before the race so I couldn’t wimp out! I drove up to Bemidji where my sister-in-law lives, so she could watch Emma while I ran – a win-win! (Travis is still studying for the California PE test, which is this coming Monday! Soooo ready for that to be done with.) I had Carolyn drive me 7.5 miles from her house, so that I could run with the wind, instead of against it. I’ve done this before and it’s a great way to get your run in even when the weather is crappy. And hey, the wind helped my pace – I ran the second mile in 10:12!!
This last run really boosted my confidence level. Up until then, my runs had felt lethargic and slow. Like my legs just wouldn’t wake up. But this run, I felt light, fast and excited about running. The last 2 miles were tough because they were around the south side of the lake where the wind was strong, there was snow on the trail and my legs were getting tired, but I finished the whole thing!
Overall, I’ve enjoyed training for this race, but it’ll be my last for a while. I honestly only have the motivation/energy for working out about 3 times a week right now, and when I’m training for a race, I feel like the only thing I should spend my workouts doing is running – which leads to burnout and injury.
I also did not dedicate enough time to the things that are necessary training components outside of running, like stretching, getting enough sleep, fueling correctly, drinking enough water, etc. Part of that, though, is being in the middle of moving. For a while, I wasn’t sure where my foam roller was – once I found that, I started using it fairly regularly. All of my running fuel is packed up, so I haven’t been fueling during my runs at all (and really, I don’t feel like 7.5 miles really requires that – but I will fuel during the race because I could’ve used a little pick-me-up during my last run!).
I also think that I should’ve done more strength training and cross training in building up to this race – if not during the training plan, at least before beginning training. I think my muscles atrophied a lot during pregnancy and as all runners know, it’s possible to develop the muscles you need for running by running – but you usually end up being out of balance and more easily injured. My knee joints have been the thing bothering me the most, and I’m sure tight IT bands are somewhat to blame (it has gotten better since I got my foam roller out). But I also think that if my legs were stronger from non-running activities, and limber from more yoga, my knees would be happier.
So after this race, I’m looking forward to doing more yoga, walking and maybe a few exercise videos. I’ll probably still run once a week just to keep my fitness up, but I need some variety back!