Since establishing the big quitting point and picking up sneaks again, running feels different. There’s a lot more to balance and account for when you’re training for an endurance event with a new baby — enough more, that I got to Googling, and didn’t find what I was looking for. SO, for searching purposes only: Fueling for Training to Run a Half Marathon While Breastfeeding.
That done, we can use the less formal euphemism for that last bit — ahem, “Cross Training.”
Because that’s kind of how it behaves when you factor it in to arranging your running schedule. It needs fueling and rest on its own— more on that coming. First, you have to get one foot in front of the other. Here’s what’s worked for me so far:
Be Flexible. When you wake up the morning of a planned long run, with fresh snow slicked with freezing rain, renegotiate. Before, I would have just spent the extra ten minutes it took to find gloves and gone out in it anyway. Now, with a kiddo and a four-story house, I can’t afford to be hobbled by a “fell on the ice” injury, so even though long runs especially are easier out than in, I brought it inside.
Be Strict: And then right out of the other side of my mouth — make your run the very first thing you get to the second you have a chance. The first nap of the day, the sneaks go on, whether I’d rather nap with her or not. If I’ve gotten my run done, I feel like I’ve accomplished something and can better manage the rest of the day, whether my To Do list considers it productive or not. Likewise, if you’ve got a second pair of hands — do your run the first moment you can. Dawdling over coffee and running later can sound tempting, but it doesn’t get mileage on the log. Run first, dawdle and nap later.
Be Ready: My shoes live ON the treadmill. When I fold laundry, sports bras and socks get piled there too. Your window to train might be fleeting — don’t waste it trying to find gear and suit up.
Try Not to Compare: Did I notice that my 10k PR time passed just about the time I’d logged 5 miles, and that I used to get up and run this far to the beach and back before work and now it’s a “long run”? Yeah. But I also noticed that this is the furthest I’ve run in about a year, the longest I’ve ever made it on a treadmill, and that I had a kid 8 weeks ago. Eh, I think it’s okay.
Make the Training Schedule Work For You: I figure as long as I get the week’s mileage in, I can do it in the order I need to. I’ve found with the extra demands of “Cross Training” and less-than-quality sleep, I need my rest days before longer mileage. This week I took them before my five and seven, instead of where the calendar pegged them. It’s pretty easy to feel physically zapped without even thinking about expending extra energy, so stocking up beforehand is way more important now.
Fuel: Before I started running today, I’d already spent about 250 calories “Cross Training.” The tricky part here is that if it was spent in the gym, you’d mentally register that, and probably fuel accordingly. But if you spend it sitting on the couch in your jammies, it’s easy — really easy — to forget to account for the deficit. This calculator doojobber says that my calorie needs are about 2,500 a day, with running and “Cross Training.” Not nothing.
Since I’m vegan, it’s hard to run if you feel full, and I’m trying to get a lot of protein from non-soy sources, here’s where I’ve been getting a lot of that calorie load from. Nuts, avocados, nut butters, and healthy fat toppings like olive oil are pretty much AYCE. I need them for both “sports” and I figure they’ll be easier to lift out later when I don’t need as much, than if I was getting the calories from more habit forming sugary/carby sources. Add to that, high protein/high fat means it’s leaves you slower, good if you don’t get to refuel right away. PLUS, it helps the rampant “runger” exacerbated by “Cross Training.”
Also on the list: soy yogurt, whole oat cereal, molasses, all kinds of veggies (especially spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, bright peppers) sweet potatoes, hummus, and fruit with dark, dark chocolate for desserts, and I feel like I’m getting quality and balance without too much volume.
This morning before I ran, I had oatmeal made with almond milk, a banana, and a big spoonful of almond butter. It lasted through seven miles, and all the way until lunch — ‘chickn salad’ with veggie protein strips, celery, apples, avocado, mixed nuts, and poppy seed dressing with a few crackers. I didn’t need a snack all afternoon.
I suppose the tl;dr version that I was searching for in the first place is: focus on calorie density, good fats and proteins, complex carbs, and whatever you do, keep-
HYDRATING: If you’re sweating and “Cross Training” water is flying out of your body — even in the dead of winter, I’m feeling it.
So, in my absolutely non-expert (way, way long) conclusion: Eat well, run first, hydrate always.