Before becoming a mom, I trained for 1-2 marathons per year. I did multiple shorter distance running races per year. Once I became a mom almost 7 years ago, it got more complicated to train for marathons. Now training for a marathon was a family decision.
My First Marathon 13 Months Postpartum – New York City Marathon 2016
Because I was so used to running marathons every year before getting pregnant, I didn’t think too much of it when I put my name in for the 2016 New York Marathon lottery. I honestly didn’t think would I get in, but I did! Getting a spot in this coveted marathon meant that I had to take it and that meant I was training for a marathon when my baby wasn’t even a year old yet.
I assumed my training would not be the same as it had been when I hit my PR at California International Marathon right before getting pregnant with my first baby. What I didn’t realize was how different it would look.
How Marathon Training Was Different With My First Baby
- I trained a lot on the treadmill & with the stroller. We got a used treadmill on Craig’s List and I did a lot of runs on it while Siena napped.
- I got in the bare minimum mileage. I didn’t follow any type of advanced plan. I just tried to get in 3-4 runs/week. I did speed workouts once per week on the treadmill and met up with friends for long runs on Saturdays.
- I did more strength training. This is when I really got into Beachbody workouts and became a coach. I did a lot of 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme workouts that year!
In the end, the New York City Marathon sadly ended up being one of my most painful, difficult marathons and my slowest (read my NYC Marathon race recap here)! In retrospect, I went out too fast and really hit the wall early on. This is because I was comparing my paces from my PR marathon that I set right before having my baby to what I thought I could do now. I thought maybe my pace would only need to be 30-45 sec/mile slower when in reality I should have not focused on pace at all and just gone out nice and easy. I remember thinking “I will never run another marathon” during the race. Well… spoiler alert, I did run more marathons!
How Soon After Having a Baby Can I Run a Marathon?
The decision of when to run a marathon after having a baby is VERY specific to you and your running background. That decision would be based on many factors including:
- How much you ran before & during pregnancy.
- How your labor/delivery went.
- How your postpartum recovery is going.
- Your pelvic floor health.
- Considerations with breastfeeding (long runs take you away from the baby/pump for quite a long time. Some women can and are willing to work around this and others aren’t).
- Family support.
- If you WANT to run a marathon.
I highly recommend seeing a pelvic floor specialist after you give birth before getting back to higher mileage running.
Deciding to Run a Marathon After Having my Twins
When I had my twins, training for a marathon got even more complicated. Now I had 3 kids to juggle and my husband was not so excited about me leaving for multiple hours on Saturday mornings to run. When it was just Siena, the two of them would go on adventures together on Saturday mornings while I ran. But now, he was home with 3 kids under 3. It was tough to leave.
It wasn’t until 2020 that I felt ready to tackle 26.2 again and we all know how that ended up.
In 2021, I thought it was motivated to train for a full marathon again. But in the end, my heart just wasn’t in it. After going to Costa Rica for a full month, really investing into my coaching business to make a push for top 10 team, and really, really, really enjoying traveling & going to parties again, training for a marathon was now how I wanted to spend my time.
Ultimately it just wasn’t a priority. And training for a marathon MUST be a priority. I had signed up for CIM (which is held in December) in the spring during a moment of FOMO, and ultimately made the decision NOT to run the marathon. It felt like a relief when I made the decision and I knew it was the right one.
Making the decision to train for a half or full marathon is a big one. As a parent, that decision includes your entire family as well. We have limited resources, time, energy and when you sign up for a race, it means that you will be taking from other areas. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing – EVERYTHING we do in life takes from other areas – but it MUST be important enough to make that sacrifice.
My Goals for Revel Big Bear – Racing My First Marathon After Twins
This year, it felt right to train for a marathon. My twins are now 4 years old and my oldest is nearly 7!
But my kids’ ages actually don’t have a lot to do with it: it’s my mindset.
I am 11 weeks out from running the Revel Big Bear Marathon on November 13 and I’m loving training. It feels right to train for a marathon right now.
While it IS time consuming, and tiring and I’m gone for hours on Saturday morning, I am really enjoying it. My kids are at an age where my husband takes them to the park or can get stuff done around the house on Saturday morning while I’m running.
I’m finding myself obsessed with listening to running podcasts & consuming information on running in a way that I haven’t in years. And while yes, that BQ is still in the back of my mind – I’m truly focusing on the training week I’m in. My main goal for the race is to finish the strongest and fastest I can with what my training and the day gives me. (In the past, I measured my success in a marathon based on a time goal I set).
Thanks for reading more of my marathon story. I encourage you to listen to your heart when making the decision to run a marathon after having a baby or becoming a mom. If signing up for a race (whether it’s a 5k or a marathon!) is something that excites you and you feel like is right for your life phase, then DO IT! If it’s not calling you right now, then that’s ok too.
VIDEO: Are you ready to train for a marathon?
Watch this video for some things you may want to take into account if you are considering training for marathon, whether you just had a baby or not!
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