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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Four months: fitness now

Almost four months since baby, but over a year since real workouts! By May of last year, I was already slowing and struggling, so it has been a minute since I've been in real shape. In a week and a half the babes will be four months, but I have time now, so I am taking stock of my fitness at the (almost) four month mark!

I'm not totally back yet. But I think I might be almost back. Not to peak fitness, but to baseline fitness. Surprisingly, my endurance has lagged a little in the comeback (usually that's my strong suit). I've struggled on long runs. Workouts, however, have mostly gone well, and I have hit my paces. They're not the paces I was hitting last year, but they are paces I would have been very proud of, say, four years ago.

I pulled up my Final Surge record to take a look at some workouts from last year. I was in great shape last April and ran my marathon PR, but just prior to that buildup, I was really struggling. I compared my current times to the time right between "terrible marathon, anemic, sick and slow" and "Improving, PRs, running fast".

This kid better get used to being sweaty.
Last week, I did an aerobic mid-week long run of ten miles at 7:13 pace. Looking at an aerobic run from 2/22/19, I ran a nearly 9-mile aerobic run at 7:11. So I am getting close. It's hard to compare workouts, because we are doing short stuff right now and were in a marathon buildup last year, but my k's in February of last year were around the 6:20 range. They were supposed to be at 10k pace. That's what I'm hitting right now for 5-10k pace intervals, but I suspect that's more like my 5k pace than my 10k pace for sure!

My long runs are NOWHERE NEAR the hard marathon workouts of last year. In January I ran an 18+ miler with the last few miles at 7-flat, 7:37 average pace and later a 15 mile workout averaging 7:27. I haven't gotten to 15 miles yet post-baby, and a fast run with a hard finish is quite beyond me right now. My farthest so far is a bit over 14 miles, and it was 7:36 pace, but without the benefit of a built-in workout - most miles were around the same pace. Not the same!

Interestingly, I am feeling a little stronger in regards to injuries. I've been injury-free since coming back from baby, even though any comeback is risky. It could be that some problem spots have healed up with my long time off from the sport, or it could be that I am running lower mileage (but only slightly - I've been in the 50s, near 60 mpw). Another interesting component here is that I am doing much less other fitness activity. I don't have as much time for a lot of the hip work I used to do, and fitting in even short home workouts is harder now. The gym is closed, which means no heavy weight lifting, no cross-training on machines, and less karate. We are taking a weekly karate class via Facebook Live, but the classes are much less intense than in-person classes. Maybe I was just doing too much? I like to think of all those little things as being preventative of injury, but perhaps I was stressing connective tissues etc. too much.

Obviously, I am hugely lucky to be able to run as much as I have in the past few months, and I'd be remiss not to acknowledge that without David's willingness to keep the baby in the mornings - and often also for the rest of the day! - I couldn't get these miles in. I have run 633 miles since the baby was born! Definitely couldn't do it without him!


  1. Your comeback has been impressive!! So glad that you have been able to fit the miles in. That is something that I really struggled with between pumping and work/commuting/etc. I would have had to get up at 4:30am to pump and then run and I just couldn't do that... plus Paul did not sleep through the night until he was 1, thanks to endless ear infections. I'm glad you've been able to make it work as I know how much you love running. You also have more motivation than I do as you are willing to get up before work to run if need be. Our schedule of leaving the house at 6:50 when we were going into the office just made it so hard for me to fit exercise in. But oh well. I tell myself this is a season of life and when we are done with family planning, I can get back to running.

  2. Hooray. It's great that you have stayed injury free. I definitely think that the extra lifting and Karate could have been extra load that was making you more injury prone. It's been exciting to watch you come back over the last few months.