Training for a marathon as a new mother

How time flies. My son is almost one and I have been back into training for a The Gold Coast marathon in July for almost four months. I’m clocking up around 70km a week at the moment and it’s going well. I have to admit, it hasn’t been plain sailing all the way, and at times it has been quite tough. I have often wondered what on earth I am doing but I have stuck with it.

As a relatively new mum it’s a whole new experience just fitting in exercise let alone training for a 42km race. It is do-able but you have to just learn your limits and also be fair to your family and yourself. Were it not for the fact my husband is extremely patient and understanding in all of this I wouldn’t have decided to do it.

I told myself whilst pregnant I would like to do a marathon this year. I felt it would encourage me to get back into fitness. I don’t expect to do a hugely fast time and I am not putting any pressure on myself for me just being able to run one again is going to be an amazing achievement – and running the Gold Coast which is well organised and local is a definite plus.

I wanted to share some tips this week on things I have found in my training since having my baby that if you are in the same position and training for an event you might find useful. The most important thing I have found however is to enjoy it – after all the training especially for a marathon is intense and taking you away from your baby and family so it has to be something you enjoy to be worth doing in my opinion!

Tips to help you get the most out of training for a marathon as a new mother 

Mum and bub
I feel it is important to be enjoying your running as it is taking you away from your family time.

Get checked out and signed off to go

I started training again (as in not walking – I was walking after a few weeks) after 12 weeks of having my son. I didn’t push too hard and took it easy at the gym. I checked with my physio that I was ok to train and she advised it was ok but to take it easy where running was concerned for a bit longer….

I tried as long as I could to take it easy….but I must admit I did push myself back into it but wouldn’t advise anyone do that unless you know your body. Be sensible.

Prepare yourself: it’s hard work

I didn’t train during my pregnancy and a little while before as I didn’t have the best pregnancy – so it had been quite some time since I had trained and boy was it tough when I started training again. I didn’t start my marathon training until my son was roughly 8 months and before that I was struggling with my training. Once I started consistent training following a program from my trainer I found that muscle memory kicked in and whilst the first week or two were really hard my body bounced back gradually and it’s like I’m training for a marathon now not coming back from having a baby.

Don’t expect huge results over night

It does take time coming back to training after having had time off, so don’t beat yourself up if sometimes you are two steps forward one step backwards. It takes time.

Your body had just given birth to a little human being and that is quite traumatic on the body and takes time to get over. Like I said in my last post about remaining focused on training surround yourself with positive people it helps heaps. I figure that going through something like childbirth has to make me stronger right?

Keep a training log to see results

I wear my Tom Tom GPS watch at every training session both inside and outside and I can look back on how my training is going. My average km time has come down over a minute in the last couple of months so when I feel like training isn’t going well I review my training and can’t argue with the log can I? And it helps keep me on track.

There are lots of watches out there you can buy for reasonable prices or if you have a smartphone and don’t mind running with your phone then Map My Run or Strava are great apps to use instead which do the same thing. I’m not a fan of running using my phone strapped to my arm but I know a lot of people that do.

Try not to become fixated on weight

We are constantly bombarded with images of celebrities losing their baby weight in a very short time. Lara Bingle is the latest one I think in 3 weeks according to the gossip mags.

The thing I found the hardest coming back to training was losing the weight and pulling myself back into the Lycra. I was so self conscious with my baby belly and giant wobbly thighs the first time I went into the gym to train I almost didn’t go.

I soon got over it and realised that it wasn’t a big deal but that didn’t stop me from weighing myself a lot. I bought cheap workout clothes from Target telling myself I wouldn’t be in them long and I was going to achieve the weight loss I wanted to….and with the support of my family and friends I did but it didn’t happen overnight.

It took 9 months to grow my baby inside me and it took about the same time plus a month or two to get the weight back off again. Don’t feel pressured and don’t let it get you down. Once you start training and eating right the weight will come off gradually. That’s one of the advantages of a Marathon, there is a fair amount if training so I didn’t even have to really worry for too long.

Be prepared to be flexible

I have found training hard sometimes when my bub is sick or we have had a bad night and he has kept us up all night and then I am meant to then run two hours later, so I’ve learned now when that happens to compromise and not push myself to exhaustion. I sometimes take an unschedule rest day or train at a later time in the day and don’t get stressed about it.

The fact that I’m even managing the training with a baby under 1 is a miracle I think so sometimes it’s important to be flexible. I also found my Baby Jogger useful for training as when I didn’t manage to get to the gym and couldn’t train because there was no one to look after my son then out came the Baby Jogger and I ran with him and bonus – he often falls asleep!

Anyway hope these tips help and like I said the most important thing is to enjoy your training. If you arent then you might be pushing too hard or might want to speak with a qualified professional to help you work out some realistic goals or to even run with a friend to have some company 🙂

As always – Happy Running 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Training for a marathon as a new mother

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    1. Thanks Renee. Good luck for the half marathon. Hope your training is going well 🙂 yes it’s a great course and nice and flat! Let me know how you go and the best of luck. Not long now!

  1. How was it? Thanks for writing this. I am struggling with coming back to running after being away for about a year… and being pregnant (I couldn’t do any exercise). I am both struggling to lose weight and struggling to build my miles. It’s depressing on both fronts… but I keep on doing it. I am supposed to run a half in September (ugh) and today was my first 8+ mile run with a jogging stroller. I now run 5 minutes slower than I used to (that is with a stroller versus prime shape). Good to hear this is normal.

    1. Hi Sachie don’t give up. Its hard work but be consistent and you will see the results. I had good days and bad but literally one day it all came together and I realised how far I had come. The marathon was tough but I finished and I am so.pleased I did it and didn’t give up. Feel free to drop me a line through my contact form and I can give you some more ideas if you like. Zoe

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