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The Not-Training Training Plan

After a few warm days that teased of spring, winter has returned to Vermont. It’s freezing, the one million feet of snow still on the ground has turned into ice, and more snow is in the forecast for 4 out of the next 5 days. It’s that time of year when I start questioning the life decisions that somehow brought me to this frozen tundra of a state. Thankfully Evan, Amelia and I will soon be escaping the frigid temperatures for a much-needed warm getaway. My little snow baby isn’t going to know what to do with herself when she feels the sun for the first time. But more about that later.

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Instead, let’s talk about training! (it’s been awhile) Or rather, “not-training.” Over that past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed heading out for a short run whenever I felt like it. It’s been nice to ease my way back into this sport. As much as I missed the regularity of training plans and races in my life over this past year, I find that I’m really enjoying this in-between stage — the not pregnant, but not training phase. Just taking my comeback one slow step at a time.

However, there’s a little race that I signed up for in mid-April that’s fast approaching. As tired as I am of this winter weather, I can’t believe it’s already the end of February. Spring (and my return to work) is right around the corner. Which means it’s time to get my butt in gear.

The half marathon I’m planning to run will be a little over a year to the day that I found out I was pregnant with Amelia. I’m not training to race this half. In fact, I don’t even expect to get up to 13 miles before race day. Instead, I’m looking at it as a milestone. To signify the end of one cycle (pregnancy/recovery) and the beginning of the next. This half marathon will be the the start of my training. A goal to keep me motivated during this tough re-entrance into running and a baseline to see where I’m at before fall marathon training begins.

I’m so excited to bring this phase of life full circle. I loved running while pregnant, have really soaked up my recovery time and am looking forward to the future. There’s a fire burning deep in my heart that I haven’t felt in a long time. I want to get strong, I want to work hard. Any trace of burnout I’ve felt over the past couple of years has completely disappeared. I’m ready to get back out there again. I know it’ll take time, but the funny thing about it is that makes me more excited, not less. I want to be fast again — someday. But more than that, I’m looking forward to the work. To feel that familiar ache in my muscles after a long run, the gotta-puke-burning-lungs sensation during a hard workout, and the mental pain as I fight those demons that tell me I need to quit. In short, absence really has made my heart grow fonder. It’s been so long since I’ve pushed myself that I’m actually looking forward to the pain.

Now, of course that’s easy for me to say as I sit here on the couch with a baby sleeping on my chest. And despite my excitement to work hard again, I’m still not at the place where I’ll choose a run over time with Amelia…and I’m certainly not wishing I was out running long on a cold winter morning instead of in bed snuggling a baby. I am soaking up every single minute that I can with her. But I’m slowly getting glimmers of my old “runner” self back, and I love that too. When I do get the opportunity to run, I’ve tried to enjoy every single moment, even the sucky “why am I so tired after 4 miles??” ones.

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Anyway, that’s a lot of rambling to say: I’m excited about training and want to slowly build up my base, but I’m not considering myself to be “in training” yet. However, since I do have a half marathon coming up in the very near future, I need to make sure I’m actually able to run for over an hour and a half without dying. Enter the “Not-Training Training Plan.”

postpartum half marathon training plan

The sole goal here is to build up my base. To slowly work on my endurance and practice running long. My last double-digit run was over the summer when I was 20 weeks pregnant….almost 30 weeks ago. I would like to get my body back to the place where I can handle double-digit runs before I start actually training (i.e. working on speed, etc). But I want to be smart about it. I’ve been running for 3 weeks and have only gone on a handful of short, easy runs in that time. Chances are I’m being a little more conservative than I need to be. But my injury-prone body has been through some pretty dramatic changes over the past year. So I’d rather be safe than sorry.

The training plan I posted above is meant to serve as an outline only. Weeks 1-3 reflect my actual runs. The rest are runs I hope to complete. It should be noted that I don’t really plan to follow this schedule exactly as it is written — I already didn’t complete the run I had scheduled for yesterday. But I need a guideline to make sure I can actually handle the distance on race day. Like I said before, it’s probably more conservative than I need to be. I’m keeping my overall mileage low and building up as slowly as I can within the time frame. If I feel good one day/week, I’ll run more; if I don’t feel up to it, I’ll do less. This is all uncharted territory for me.

In the meantime, I need to figure out how to transfer this sleeping baby off my lap so I can run to the bathroom. My day is just chock-full of excitement! Hopefully I can squeeze a few miles in later too.


10 Responses to The Not-Training Training Plan

  1. Better to be cautious and careful! There is no rush, so why push yourself when it’s not necessary right now. I think your “training plan” looks great. It seems doable and will give you a good jumping off point for when you really want to train.

    When would you typically start marathon training? Are you going to do a 16 week plan?

    Amelia is so cute and happy in that picture! Love her dark eyes! :)
    Steph´s last post ..B&A Half Update #2

    • Depends on what race I decide to do! I still haven’t committed to a fall marathon yet, but I’d probably do a 16 week plan (not including all the base building before then). So the goal is to start serious training this summer.

  2. Ok, what you aid about it being a milestone to signify the end of one cycle and beginning of the next really choked me up! Dumb pregnancy hormones.

    Your plan sounds great, and Amelia looks perfect. Glad you are enjoying your time with her!

  3. Sounds like a great plan you have! You’ve got this! Amelia looks so adorable – what a beautiful baby!
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun´s last post ..Reebok ZQuick Review and Giveaway

  4. i think it’s SO SMART!! It looks like a good, realistic plan…and knowing you, you will surprise yourself :) Hope yall are staying warm!
    elizabeth´s last post ..5 Reasons to Run for a Charity

  5. This is such a great post. As a new momma myself I have been slowly increasing mileage and skipping planned runs over sleep on night’s the baby and I did not sleep well. reminding myself that sleep is also part of the training process : )
    Jenn@Mark My Miles!´s last post ..The sunshine in the rain.

  6. Remember there’s no shame in bailing on the race if you want to or don’t feel well-prepped. She is such a lovely baby!
    Xlmic´s last post ..A first time for everything.

  7. slow and steady wins the race :) or at least that is my motto with base building PP. i’ve always been conservative when it comes to training but now more so. getting injured just as you are starting to feel good would suck!

    my first HM is 3/30 and, like you, after that it is GAME ON! bring on the miles (and hopefully warmer weather).
    kristy´s last post ..how running has changed

  8. Looks like a solid plan, and if anyone knows what they’re doing, it’s you for sure. Good luck!!
    Jillian´s last post ..Potato costume?

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