The best laid schemes of mice and men
Often go awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
for promised joy.
–To a Mouse, Robert Burns*
*I put this quote at the bottom of my post-baby comeback plan post back in August…go figure.
I had grand plans for training post-baby. According to my original plan, at this time I was going to start building my weekly mileage (from what I thought was going to be around 20 miles/week) in preparation for a spring marathon. I had planned on spending the entire month of November running, instead I spent it walking and riding a recumbent bike. It seems that my body had other ideas about how my post-partum recovery was going to go. And so I’ve had to adjust.
I’m at the point now where I am “allowed” to run, but that permission comes with a huge caveat: that I take it slow and easy. With that in mind I’ve created one of the most conservative training plans I’ve ever compiled. I have a tendency to go at things with intensity, right from the get go. I have a hard time holding back–even when I know it is the right thing to do. Which is why I’ve enlisted the help of my husband, who knows his stuff (he’s a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) to help me create a plan along with some guidelines to help me hold back.
Here are the “rules” I’ll be following:
10% Rule for increasing weekly mileage. I’ve decided to not increase my weekly mileage by more than 10%. I’m starting with five miles in the first week, so I’m working from the ground up. My fitness level is probably a little higher than that considering that I’ve been doing cardio 4-5 times a week but I want to be safe as I increase my mileage.
Slow: I’ve decided that if I run on the treadmill my runs are going to be at 6mph or a 10min/mile pace until I get to three months post-partum (December 29th). If I run outside I’ll go by perceived exertion and try to maintain and “easy” pace. (I don’t own a Garmin to tell me what my pace is.)
Check-In: I plan to log, in detail how I feel during, immediately after and the day after each run. I want to be as honest as I can so that I back off when my body tells me too. Mostly I’ll be trying to key in on any kind of “weak sensation” in the pelvic floor: a “sagging” feeling, a twinge, pinching ect.
Space Out Runs: For the first four weeks of the plan I’m only running three days a week. I’ve planned a non-running day between each run, sometimes two days. It isn’t until after I reach the three months post-partum mark that I’ve scheduled two running days back to back. I want to give my body plenty of time to recover from the stress of each run and I also need a day to assess how the run has impacted my body and how I’m really feeling.
Length: For the most part I’ve scheduled short runs starting with walk/run intervals and increasing to four miles. The first two “runs” were short, as they were a 1/4 mile walk/ run interval that totaled only one mile of running. I have a couple four mile runs that will test to see how my body holds up over “higher” mileage. If my body doesn’t do well after the first four miler on Dec. 16th then I will have to pull back and resume shorter distances.
I haven’t listed it on this calendar, but I will continue to cross train on the recumbent bike and with weights. I also plan to continue the pelvic floor exercises from my Hab It DVD–I’ve found that the exercises in this video have been strengthening small muscles in my core and glutes that I never knew were there!
As much as I want to throw myself headlong into training for a spring marathon I know that it is not the wisest thing for me to do. My body needs more recovery time and a more gradual approach to returning to running.
Have you ever had to hold back in your training? How did you keep yourself on track?