How I Ran My First Half Marathon Eight Months After Having a Baby

This isn’t necessarily a “how to” because I don’t think I’m qualified to write a post-baby half marathon plan. One of the first things I learned about exercising after having a baby? Everyone’s journey is different.

Some bodies take longer to recover. Some schedules are impossible to predict. Some lives are just too busy.

This is simply what worked for me. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t stress. Everyone is different. Just keep moving forward.

So in case you’re wondering how I ran a half marathon eight months after having a baby, here’s how I did it:

1. I gave myself time. 

I wanted to run the Women’s Half as my first half marathon. I really did. But giving birth in June only gave me five months until the Women’s Half in November. I just didn’t know if I could do it.

Rather than making myself crazy trying, I set a more realistic goal with my half marathon in February. I’m glad I did that. Katie, on the other hand, ran her first half marathon just six months after having her baby. Everyone is different. Give yourself the time you  need.

2. I set a realistic training schedule.

I knew running every day of the week wouldn’t work for me. I work full-time. My husband works even crazier hours than I do. I have a baby. Finding time to run isn’t easy. I started with the Couch to 5k plan pushing the jogging stroller. Those first few miles were the toughest. But they were worth it.

Then I found Jeff Galloway’s half marathon training plan and started loosely following it. I have to leave for work at 7:30am so I started meeting Katie at 5:30 or 5:45am on Monday and Wednesday mornings to run. You may or may not remember that we didn’t start running together until Halloween of last year. It wasn’t pretty.

We kept that schedule – running two to three miles on Monday and Wednesday mornings – until the half marathon. On Saturdays, we started mixing in the long runs on the Galloway plan and slowly built up our mileage.

We didn’t follow the plan perfectly – but closely enough. Our time may not be impressive to many runners out there, but you know what? We finished. We achieved our goal.

3. I built in other races.

The half marathon wasn’t my first race after having a baby. I also ran a 5k, a relay and a 10k.

I think having those experiences helped me prepare for race day. I highly recommend working other races into your training plan!

4. I stayed flexible.

I missed runs. It happens.

There were nights the Mini Athlete had us up late. Rather than sleeping through work, I slept through my run.

There were times my husband had to leave early for work. I skipped my run.

But overall, I knew I had the training I needed. I felt my endurance building.

And somehow…it worked.

Have you trained for a race after having a baby? What worked for you?

 

15 Comments

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15 Responses to How I Ran My First Half Marathon Eight Months After Having a Baby

  1. Running races after having babies is what gets me in shape! I have two kiddos and ran a marathon 5 months after having each of them. They were my slowest times BY FAR (like 30 minutes slower) but more importantly than keeping me fit, they kept me sane. I needed those runs every afternoon! I worked full time with the first baby and am a stay at home mom now. It’s so tough to find the time to run–thank goodness for sweet, willing husbands! I love that you wrote about this. It’s so much work to make it happen–bravo!

  2. you ROCK!
    and my ‘babies’ are 23 & 16 so it’s been awhile since I had to train for anything with them….though my now 23 yr old used to get dragged to gym at 5 a.m. for me to train when he was baby/toddler!

  3. I can’t wait to start training post baby, I miss running. I’ve set my goals and hope with my and my hubby’s schedule I can get runs in.

  4. Sarah

    I am 2 months post-baby and I am trying really hard to figure out a running schedule. I miss it like crazy, but I also work full time and that leaves limited time to hang out with the munchkin. It’s too cold/dark right now to take her with me in the jogging stroller… so I find myself feeling guilty for taking time to run by myself. Thank you for reminding me that it is ok to take my time getting back into it. Hopefully as she gets a little older and the weather gets warmer, I can find a realistic balance between my family and my training.

  5. I’m training for my first 10k ever right now. Hailey is almost 5 months old, and even though I’m not at 10k distance yet, it’s feeling good. You’re wonderful motivation! :)

  6. You are so amazing! Well done :)

  7. This is a great post! I will definitely be signing up for races post baby (whenever that is!). Thanks for the tips :)

  8. Carlise

    Great post! Congrats – what a wonderful accomplishment, especially so soon after having a baby (and Katie, too!). It was so great to finally meet you in person! Hope to see you out there again soon. :)

  9. Callie, you are awesome & I’m so happy your first half marathon went so well!
    I really wish you’d stop saying things like “Our time may not be impressive to many runners out there” though! Don’t downplay what you’re doing – time is not the only way to determine a successful race. Did you know that I never had a baby and your time is exactly one minute behind mine? I am extremely proud of my 2:34 PR. I don’t care if there are other runners who finish an hour ahead of me because I love to run.
    I hope you don’t think that I’m being critical of you with this comment. I just want you to realize how incredible and inspirational your running journey is! You don’t need to play it down!

    • You’re right. I need to stop being so hard on myself. Thanks for the reminder! It’s hard when two girls I went to the race with finished almost an hour ahead of me – and even my dad finished almost a half hour before me! But I have to remember not to downplay what I’ve done. It’s still a major accomplishment. And you’re right – time is not the only way to determine a successful race!

  10. Great story! Im going through the SAME thing so gave me encouragement. My little guy is 4month old & I’m training for the San Diego Half which is in 4-5 weeks. He will be 5months. I ran2 halfs before I was preggo, the last one in fact turns out I was pregnant, however before I found out. I knew it would be difficult, but never imagined my body wouldnt agree with me THIS much since I never had problems before.

  11. Good for you!
    I just ran my first half marathon this past weekend and I have a 5 month old, so I’m right there with ya!

    I actually found you by researching my next training plan.

    Congrats on your half!

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