I normally spend my time pining after the next race, obsessing over the next training plan. I go from one race to the next whether its a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon focus. I love planning out my race schedule and aligning my training plans to go with them. Sometimes that training focus is on building a base; many times my training focus has been on simply working the plan–tempos, speedwork, hills, LSDs. Being pregnant doesn’t really lend itself to having a “traditional” training focus. I won’t be focusing on speed or logging big mile weeks. And I won’t be training for any particular race (though there are a few on the schedule).Running pregnant means my training focus is on staying fit, maintaining some miles so that I don’t lose them all, and running so that I hopefully have some level of endurance to help me through childbirth in September. My new training focus while running pregnant is still on pace but in a new way. It’s still on distance but with new goals. It’s also on cross-training which I should have been doing all along but for some reason being pregnant has motivated me to cross-train more (spin, cycling, yoga, strength, pilates) which has all sorts of added benefits. And my new training focus has more to do with my mental outcome on each run rather than my time or pace.
Finding a New Pace for Run Happiness
At the end of each run I simply want to feel good. I want to feel as though I’ve exercised and both challenged and conditioned my muscles. I want to feel like I’ve pushed as hard and as far as I comfortably should. This isn’t always the case running pregnant. Earlier on, I was frustrated when I all I wanted was to run faster, under 8 minute miles, and I simply couldn’t. In my head, I knew that it wasn’t necessary anyway, but my running heart wanted speed. I’ve figured out how to set new, realistic pace goals so that I can still have a pace to run and feel the satisfaction of hitting a pace. My current pace goal, for as long as I can maintain it, is to run under 9 minute miles. This applies only to runs in the 3-4 mile range. My distance goal is to run something in the 6-8 mile range once a week for as long as I can maintain it and these runs will inevitably be slower. By setting a pace goal that I know I can do and that is safe (i.e., I could hold a conversation) I’m running with a lot of satisfaction. And by setting a distance goal that I know I can do for still quite some time, even though I will get slower, I am able to tease my mind on the possibilities of longer distance and prep myself with some endurance.
One Week at a Time
The other big difference in this new training focus is that instead of mapping out a 12 week training plan like I’m used to, I’m literally operating almost one week at a time. Sometimes just a few days at a time. The base goal is 3 runs a week, 1 spin class a week and 1-2 strength sessions which can include my at-home “circuit training” or a yoga video or a pilates class. In total there are usually 5 days of working out at some level and only one of those (spin class) is an hour. Everything else is around 30-45 minutes. A few factors have prevented me from planning further out. This winter it has been the weather. As everyone has experienced, crazy cold temperatures, snow and ice, winter rain–this nasty weather has forced a lot of changes to what would have otherwise been outdoor runs. Work, life and sometimes just being “pregnant tired” have caused me to skip or shorten work-outs all together. But one week at a time seems to be the right training plan agenda right now.
This post was finished February 23; finally nearing the end of the first trimester!