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.
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?