I think that distant sound you hear is that of all the runner moms I know laughing at the title of this post. Heh.
Anyway, I’m not going to pretend this hasn’t been on my mind since, like, October. But now I feel like it’s finally the right time to give it some serious thought!
Soon, hot pink running shirts. Soon …
Anyway, I read a lot of running blogs, mom blogs, and running-mom blogs. (My favorite running-mom blogs right now are Daily Garnish and This Runner’s Trials, btw — both SAHMs with new babies. I’m learning a lot!) One thing I’ve discovered in following other women’s journeys is that it’s really tempting to set big goals for post-baby — and I know that for me, it’s because I haven’t been able to run in so long and I miss being able to set and achieve goals in general. But those big goals set before the baby arrives may not wind up being realistic or even desirable goals once motherhood is a reality and not just a vague distant future.
Before I got pregnant, I wanted to start training for a half marathon, so my first idea was hey! I’ll do the Richmond half marathon in November and it’ll be amazing! — but Leah quickly dissuaded me of my optimistic belief that it would be super easy to jump into distance running and race training. And yeah — I think it would be possible, theoretically, for me to train for a November half-marathon. Suppose I started training in July, right? but as I’ve given it more thought, it’s actually not something that I want to do.
When I started running more seriously in 2010, I immediately jumped into training for new and longer distances. I loved every minute of training, but one thing I did not love was my speed. I was (and am) a slow runner; a 10-minute mile is about my average speed on a good day. So as I gave postpartum running some more thought, I realized that my new life will dovetail nicely with my desire to improve my pace. After all, it’ll be much easier for me to do shorter speed workouts with a small baby than to get out the door for an hour-plus long run, at least at first, and we all know it’s not a good idea to jump into speed training and increasing distance at the same time.
I’m hoping there won’t be too much icing going on.
I don’t have a specific number goal beyond “get faster”, but ideally I’d like to drop at least a minute off my comfortable, easy pace. I don’t know how long that will take, though, so I’m not going to insist that I achieve this by any certain date. Still, I have some ideas about how I want to go about this.
First, Steve and I are going to buy a treadmill! With my transition to becoming a stay-at-home mom, I have to give up my beloved gym membership. (My work paid for most of it.) The sad thing is that we have to keep it in the garage, but my idea is that whenever I get the go-ahead from my doctor to start exercising again, I can start getting some quick
wogs runs in on the treadmill either when the baby is napping or Steve is home to entertain him. Without a gym membership, having a treadmill became something really important to me, as I don’t want to be dependent on a) the baby being big enough to put in the jogging stroller, b) having to always run with a jogging stroller, and c) the weather. This way I can get my runs in without as many excuses to get in my way. My initial plan is to aim for four runs a week, and once I get comfortable running again to have two easy runs and two speed workouts each week. Ideally. We’ll see!
And speaking of a jogging stroller — thanks to the generosity of my Aunt Jan-Yi and her family, we have one! It’s upstairs in the nursery waiting to be put together. We decided on a Schwinn (the highest rated jogging stroller that wasn’t a $400 BOB) and I am really looking forward to trying it out. I doubt I will use it much until the fall, both because of the summer heat and the fact that the baby will probably be most comfortable running with me when he’s a bit older. But I look forward to getting a lot of use out of this! (And building up my upper body strength in the process.)
I have all these idyllic daydreams about baby and me running all around downtown Charlottesville on pleasant fall afternoons. We’ll see whether they come to fruition or not.
Now, in terms of more concrete goals — I work much better and stay much more motivated when I have something to work toward, and I think a vague “get faster” will be more nebulous for me than I prefer. So my first goal will be to first train for the 2012 Women’s Four Miler*, which will be Labor Day weekend. I figure this is a pretty feasible; if I start out with a couch-to-5k-ish training plan about six weeks or so post-baby (June 1 at the latest), I should have enough time to get up to four miles by race day. Hopefully I can get up to four miles earlier than that so I can focus on improving my speed for the race; in all my years running this race I have never trained for it beyond just finishing the distance for fun, so I’m hoping to be able to actually do well this year. We’ll see!
After that, I don’t think I want to up my distances at all until I start (at last!) training for the Charlottesville ten miler in the fall. But those are plans for Mommy Amy to develop, so we will leave my running plans here for now.
I’m really excited about getting back into running — hopefully I won’t be too discouraged at first by my unfamiliar postpartum body, but that I’ll instead be encouraged by the progress I make throughout the summer. I’m hoping these are realistic goals, too. Wish me luck!
*This is a huge annual race in the Charlottesville area, and it benefits the UVA Breast Care Center. This is obviously a cause I feel strongly about, but I did not run the 2011 race because of my concern that it veers a little too closely toward making breast cancer seem like an empowering sorority of “survivors” (lots of pink, etc.). I have a lot of thoughts and mixed emotions about running it this year, but I can tentatively say I am … if not looking forward to it, at least looking forward to reclaiming the race experience from my grief and the grasp of cancer.