I've never, ever, EVER set a mileage goal for myself... until now.
1000 Pregnancy miles is an easy goal for many, and a huge goal for others... For me? It just continues to unfold in a natural progression. If I wanted it from the beginning, I know I could already be there... But I've just been taking this "running pregnant" thing one week... or even one day at a time and I've tried to listen to my body rather than my Garmin.
My Mileage Background
I've been running competitively for 20 years, and for at least half of that there weren't the tools (map my run, garmin/GPS watches, iPhones) to log your mileage and track your mileage day by day. Unless you drove the route or took a wheel out, you mostly guessed based on time and usually we rounded to at least the nearest quarter mile before writing mileage into the paper log found in the January Runners World Magazine. Until 2008, I never recorded my mileage anywhere.
The majority of my training has been done in minutes over mileage. I've had target pace ranges to hit, so there was still a general idea of mileage expectations... but no one ever talked about it. I literally didn't keep track of that at all. I finished runs that were just a tenth shy of a whole number and it didn't matter. If it was a 60 minute run, I ran 60 minutes. That's it.
Other than a very brief stint under a college who pushed me to 97 Miles in preseason (it would have been 100 if there wasn't a mandated cancelled practice due to heat and a death of a local collegiate football player), I've been a low mileage runner.
-I ran 17:00 5k off of an average of 35-45 Miles Per Week with one scheduled weekly off day
-I ran 3:05 (pre-baby) off of a high of 61 Miles per week with a day off every two weeks
-I ran 3:05 (post-baby, post-surgery) with a high of 65 MPW
-I've only done 6 documented consecutive weeks above 50 MPW in my running career. I barely ever see above 50.
There's no doubt mileage is important, especially in marathon training... but not at the expense of health.
While training under a very demanding college coach, I fractured my T-12, the 12th thoracic vertebra, my back. In the process of healing this injury, I found out that I have an abnormality in my spine which makes it tricky to ward off imbalances. I'm very frequently injured on the right side of my body, and as a result I keep the mileage low. I focus on Quality over Quantity.... and it's worked.
So why am I focused on Mileage now?
Truthfully, I'm just trying to pass the time! When I first found out I was pregnant, I had no idea I would still be running at 35 weeks pregnant. I remember being pregnant with Raea and how miserable I was at 35 weeks. My goal was to create a habit of running or walking at least a mile 5 days a week or until my doctor said I had to stop. For some reason I thought I'd be stopped by now! (and kinda hoped I would be!).
Pregnancy miles in a strava graph: High of 50.0, Low of 0, Total of 927 Miles, Average of 27.2
The mileage of my first trimester was probably completely equivalent to what I would have done had I not been pregnant.
0-12 weeks: 319.8 Miles Average: 26.5
Looking at the graph, you can see that I had some down time. Although the timing was excellent for morning sickness, and holidays... It had nothing to do with that. In early October, I ran the Hartford Marathon in 3:05:08, I qualified for Boston 2018, and my husband and I began discussing our plans to grow our family (and timing it so I could run Boston! haha!) I took 3 days off from the marathon (something I would normally take a week or two off from) and jumped right into Cross Country. I kept the mileage really low and fast because I had all the base I needed, I just had to flush the marathon legs out and build speed as quickly as possible. I had my sights set on a sub 22 minute effort at XC club nationals (6k). My team was also in a three way tie for first in the XC series, and my points were going to make a big difference (we finished in a close second). I ran Mayors Cup in 19:08, then the New England Championship in 22:23 (6k), then I ran a Thanksgiving Day race, knowing there was a possibility I was pregnant, in 18:09 (I hoped to run sub 18, but with the 150ft of elevation gain and the beginning stages of pregnancy already occurring, I'll take it! Not a bad pregnancy 5k PR! ;)). Just days after I raced I got a positive test on the exact day my Father in Law passed away... very tricky emotions there... I still wish I got to the hospital in time to tell him... but I think he knows now... Anyway, my team was heading to XC Club Nationals in Florida, and I was heading down with them. Due to the family death I needed to move my flight. I spent the week leading up to the wake and funeral rearranging and seeing if it was possible to do both. In hindsight I wish I hadn't gone, but I'm a person who sticks to my word, and I also knew I was pregnant and wasn't sure I'd ever get a chance to go to XC Nationals again.... I flew the night of the funeral, landed in Jacksonville at 11:00pm, drove to Tallahassee (3 hours) and got there at 2am, then got up to get ready for the race a few hours later. I left Tallahassee at 3am the morning after the race (which was pretty much the same day since I basically didn't sleep) and then drove 3 hours back to Jacksonville, and flew home. I was under the weather when I got to FL, and ran well considering the circumstance (23:11), but I was MUCH WORSE when I got home. I still went to work right when I returned because I had taken so many days for the funeral etc. and now I needed to start saving my days for Maternity Leave. But as planned, I went right into my 2 weeks off, the weeks I would have taken off post marathon. My body needed it and would have needed it regardless of pregnancy. The next part of my first trimester I spent slowly building the mileage back up while I still felt "good" (sick... unable to eat... but... tolerable). I would have taken my time in this build regardless of pregnancy... but it was always in the back of my mind!
The very start of the second trimester was the hardest for me. I was tired often, working a lot, and... snow. F'ing snow. Like... Seasonal Effective Disorder in full effect. Whyyyyyy would I want to run out there when I'm just going to get fat and out of shape anyway? I had no guidance, no goals, and no clue what was going on with my body. Matt got a new job making him MIA for many days and nights at a time. Raea started Daycare... which meant she was sick often... and so I was sick often. It was just messy and you can see it from the graph. I'd have a good week, and then be so proud of that week that when fatigue set in during the next week I'd say "well, I guess this is it"... I'd take a few days off and then I'd feel good again. Up-down, up-down, up-down.... I sucked.
Weeks 13-27 428.9 miles Average: 28.5
Weirdly, the trimester I expected to feel the worst in, I actually feel the best. I'm used to my body being... robust at this point. I'm used to the fatigue, the hunger, the tiredness... I'm feeling more confident that the baby is healthy, the weather is nicer, I've figured out my own personal "dos" and "don'ts"....what works for me, and what doesn't. So I started the 26.2 weekly mile goal. When I looked at the second trimester graph, I realized I was ebbing and flowing so much that I was better off to just relinquish any expectation of running above 30 miles per week... and I began focusing on being more consistent. When I figured out the "time on feet" I'm running equivalent to a 37-40 mile week... which is pretty damn good considering my high mileage in a marathon training cycle is only 60!
Weeks 28-34 -179.4 miles Average 25.6
Total as of the end of 34 Weeks: 927 Miles, Average: 27.2
In a weird way, I've been completely consistent! It just wasn't until the last trimester that I figured the whole thing out. I thought I'd be done with 26.2 weekly miles at this point and I'd just be shooting for a half marathon or something, but then the 1000 pregnancy miles came into view... and after doing the math, I could probably hit 1,000 by week 38 (my baby is measuring on the large side, so I need a buffer... just in case!) and so I continue! I want to find reasons to stop running or to take extra days off... but with just shy of 70 miles to go and 4.5 (theoretical) weeks left of pregnancy, I have found new purpose in my pregnant running! At the end of the day, all I care about is a healthy baby! Instead of sitting around waiting for a baby to come, I'll just keep running in whatever capacity my body allows me to! I had a little injury scare recently which made me question my decision to ever put a mileage goal out to the world... Numbers can make listening to your body so much more difficult, but I did a good job (with insta-help!) navigating my emotions and communicating with my body, and I feel confident I can still hit 1k before the baby comes!
But if I don't?
As long as I don't get hurt during this whole process, and I deliver a healthy baby... I'll be as happy as can be! As soon as this baby is here my focus will be on him (or her... I'm so convinced it's a boy! but am going to be so happy to just meet this baby, I really don't care about the gender!) and as I get used to being a mom of two, my focus will shift a tad back to training and I'll have my eyes on the sub3 Boston 2018!
Welcome to my blog! I blogged my entire pregnancy in 2017 and I had high hopes for where I could take my running after baby number 2, but my body had other plans. At some point I got too discouraged to write and recently realized that it is essential for my personal growth and development to keep putting feelings into coherent(ish) thoughts. I still hope to run sub 2:45 in the marathon one day, but for now I’m trying to focus on the process and I’m learning to enjoy it. You can come along for the ride, apologies in advance for grammatical incorrectness!