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How Not to Train for a Half Marathon

*Especially if it’s your first one in a very long time.

I’m running a half marathon tomorrow. Not only will this be my first (non-pregnant) race since November 2012 (yikes!), but it will also be the longest distance I’ve run in a year. Considering the previous statement, you would think that I’d have spent a long time diligently training; slowly building up my base to ensure that I am completely prepared for this exciting reentry into the world of racing.

I had every intention of doing this. Or rather, I intended to build up as slowly as a person can over the course of 10 weeks after 6 weeks of limited activity while recovering from a c-section. In hindsight, my April half marathon goal may have been a tad ambitious – not because 10 weeks isn’t enough time to train for a half but…when you’re starting from zero and find yourself with significantly less free time and slightly different priorities well… let’s just say my intentions never actually made their way into the action stage.

Remember when I posted this plan and said that I would use it as a guide for my training? Well, I took the “guide” part pretty literally. I did okay for a little while and then a cold, a heel injury, the return to work and a stomach flu all sort of derailed my plans. So you know, I may have skipped a run (or 10) and just sort of hobbled my way through training as best as I could.

In the spirit of full disclosure and transparency, I present to you my actual Postpartum Half Marathon Training Plan.

Don’t try this at home, kids. Results not guaranteed.

postpartum half marathon plan

There were a bunch of walks and some limited strength training in here too, but you get the idea. In sum: this is not the way you should train for a half (clearly). And you can see where I realized I better get myself in gear and step it up. Would I recommend cramming your long runs into the last two weeks of training before a big race? Nope. But hey, I’m still standing. And since I didn’t die on my 11 mile run last weekend and was actually able to maintain a fairly steady pace the entire time, I’m obviously super prepared for the race tomorrow. Let’s just hope a little race day adrenaline and the addition of a cute little cheerleader on the sidelines is enough to get me through those final miles.

Amelia standing

Assuming I survive*, I promise to be back soon to update you with all the gory details.

*Despite how the above post might sound, I’m actually really excited about the race tomorrow. Okay, so I’m also incredibly stressed. What was I thinking, signing up for a Saturday race 2 hours away from my house after only my second full week back in the office (a week that has been incredibly draining, I might add)?! But mostly excited. I can’t say I have no goals for the race, because obviously I would like to finish, and I’d love if I could somehow do it between 2:00 and 2:10. But I’m not stressing about the pace at all. The plan is to go out there, take it easy, and rediscover the joy (and pain!) of racing again. In some ways I feel like I am starting from scratch – I knew how to race before I got pregnant, knew to dial it back a bit in races during pregnancy, but I’m not so sure how to race now…in this awkward, out of shape postpartum state. If nothing else, it should be an interesting experience. And a good baseline to see where all that time off and a few weeks of minimal training has gotten me.

20 Responses to How Not to Train for a Half Marathon

  1. O man…she is CUTE!!!!! Best priority shift ever :)

    Wishing you the very, very best with your race!
    MILF Runner´s last post ..Blood and gore and drugs… (AKA part one of my hip replacement) *warning: some images not suitable for squeamish people…but they’re in the second half

  2. Amelia is standing already?! That’s awesome.

    Good luck at your race.
    Lee´s last post ..Double the Festivals

    • Haha no…not really. She loves to “stand” (i.e. bear weight on her legs) but is still super wobbly so I have to support her. But – she has a strong grip, so I just hooked her on to see what happened and she was so excited! She can only last like that for around 30 seconds though.

  3. first…your little girl is so adorable!!!!!

    second…i totally agree! work after maternity leave is so much harder. i’ve been back for a year and i still have a hard time planning out enough time to run.

    i be that you will finish in under 2. you’re too competitive to let everyone run by you :)

    • Haha okay that might be true. Just trying to convince myself that I will be happy no matter what my time is. If I say it enough times I might start to believe it. 😉

  4. If it makes you feel better I ran my first half back with bruised ribs and I was only running like 10 miles a week (if that). I took it slow and had fun — and it turned out better than expected! Plus, it made my recent races look pretty awesome in comparison. Lol. So, have fun and just enjoy the miles :) I hope E and A will be there — there’s nothing better than seeing your baby “watch” you finishing a race! Even if they have no idea what’s going on.

    PS – How is A already standing??
    Michelle´s last post ..Last Firsts

    • Well since I’ve also been sort of following the “run less in an entire week than you’re training to run in just one day” plan, that’s actually pretty encouraging! And yes, E and A will be there…so excited to have them both waiting at the finish. :)

      I posted that picture because her excitement in it kills me…without really thinking about how misleading it is. Although she’s supporting herself, she’s not REALLY standing – I hooked her on to see what would happen (she loves “standing” while supported and has a super strong grip) but it only lasts about 30 seconds or so before she forgets what she’s doing and lets go. :)

  5. The fact that you are even able to attempt this tomorrow is extremely impressive! I almost signed up for a spring half and am completely laughing at myself for thinking it was even possible. Having a baby is hard work and you barely have time to shower some days(more than I care to admit) so anything that takes up as much time and energy as training for any race does is that much harder now. Best of luck tomorrow, Sawyer and I will be rooting for you!

  6. I can’t believe how big your little girl is getting!! Good luck tomorrow – Look forward to hearing all about it!
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun´s last post ..Easy Budget Friendly Saturday Date Nights

  7. good luck – you’ll be fine…muscle memory!!!!!
    kristy´s last post ..Online Coaching Sale!

  8. I bet you will surprise yourself and break 2 hours – have so much fun!! Aren’t you now glad that you didn’t sign up for Boston!?

  9. You will be absolutely wonderful-regardless of the outcome!!! Like you said, how can it not be a great experience with that adorable little babe as your cheerleader?!
    Go get em’!!!!

  10. I could have written this post myself! My half is in three weeks, and I’m lucky if I run three times a week. It’s usually twice. What’s worse is that I’m signed up to be a pacer…thankfully as of right now I’m a floater so I can adjust my pace but if someone gets hurt and I actually have to formally lead a pace group I have to do it with a smile on my face and minimal bitching. What was I thinking?
    Lori´s last post ..Balls.

  11. I totally forgot what you were talking about in this post once I saw the picture of your adorable baby!

  12. Oh wow I can relate! I am supposed to run a 10k in 2 weeks and with a 5 month old at home my ‘best run’ weeks have been 3 days for a total of 15k lol. How things have changed! Kudos to you on the half goal. Hope it was an awesome race!!

  13. Good luck! Hope it went well. I’m sure you will enjoy the race no matter what!
    EB @ Running on E´s last post ..Training Recap 4/7-4/13

  14. I think it’s awesome that you are running a half after having her and retiring to work….not to mention an injury! I can’t believe she is already pulling herself up, she is so cute :)
    Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen´s last post ..Summer travel, tortillas, & my longest run since the boys were born

  15. well, I know the results….so CONGRATS!!! You’re on your way back to the old you. Hopefully you felt good during the race.

  16. I’m also into funrun but after having a baby with colic, its impossible for me to work out. Cuddling with my baby however makes me feel better.

    How old is she?
    fergie´s last post ..Skinception Rosacea Relief Serum Review

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