So, a mere 3 months post partum and we are back in training for marathon running, early next year.
Here are some tips on how to train for a marathon, post baby!
1.Run close to Home
When you have a baby to feed every 3 hours (I’m referring to breast fed babies) you need to plan your runs as close to home as possible. For me, I do short runs near home, and I do ONE long run away, on the weekend. It takes a bit of planning but it can be done.
2. Feed, Pump, Run
That’s my mantra. Fed the baby, pump to make sure all remaining milk is totally exhausted from the breasts (giving a 3 hour window), then run!
3. Run most of your KM comfortably
You only need to do speed work once a week really. You can also do one marathon-pace run, one race pace, each week. The rest of the time, run easy. A marathon is all about endurance, not speed. Speed comes from putting the KM’s in.
4. Always practice the 4 Building Blocks of Marathon Training
Base mileage. Build your weekly mileage over time, running three-to-five times per week.
The long run. Do a long run every 7–10 days so your body can adjust gradually to long distances.
Speed work. Practice intervals and tempo runs to increase your cardio capacity.
Rest and recovery. Adequate rest helps prevent injuries and mental burnout.
5. Add interval training & Tempo training
Intervals are a set of repetitions of a specific, short distance, run at a substantially faster pace than usual, with recovery jogs in between. For example, you might run 6 X 400m repeats at a hard pace (pace 5:00), with 30 seconds slow jogging or even walking. The beauty is you can even have one lap warm up, one lap cool down, and finish in one hour! For a new mum, this is just beautiful – get home fast to bubs!
Tempo runs are longer than an interval—generally in the range of 6-8KM, depending on where you are in your training—run at a challenging, but sustainable, pace. This kind of workout teaches your body, as well as your brain, to sustain challenging work over a longer period of time. I find this one the hardest!
Hydration is key, and more so when breast feeding! Drink constantly and carry water with you, for sure!
Live food is the best! I like chocolate milk and cookies. Also dried fruit. Your body can only store so much glycogen—its primary source of energy during the marathon. As this level gets depleted over the course of your marathon, your muscles will begin to tire and feel heavy. While no amount of fuel consumption during the race can entirely replace your depleted glycogen, consuming small amounts of carbohydrates can help prevent you from hitting the dreaded wall! Energy gels are the easiest to carry. For any run over 2 hours, aim to take in about 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour.
8. Find different running partners
Some for short and swift runs, some for long runs. It’s all about changing it up and keeping the training full on!
9. Listen to your body
If there’s something that doesn’t seem right, get helps straight away – seek a chiropractor or a specialists to help set you straight. Consider modifying your training plan. Take it easy and let things heal if they need to.
10. Cooldown properly
Don’t rush through post-run stretches, and take care not to overdo them either! The risk of stretching-related injury can be high for certain runners. Some do yoga but I find the stretches push me too far – my body just can’t handle those positions, so I stick to foam rolling and good ole fashioned stretching!