I didn’t head into pregnancy in peak physical condition. I spent the last 9 months before pregnancy as a strictly casual runner.
What, exactly, is the casual runner? The casual runner enjoys running, but doesn’t train. Running is done for entertainment purposes – relaxation, socialization, or competition. Each runner’s casual pace varies, based on their fitness, frequency of casual runs, or just how fast they feel like running.
Dating back to the beginning of 2011, I hesitated to commit to any races or make any long-term training plans. Because I was totally going to be pregnant immediately (duh) and didn’t want to commit to something I might not be able to honor.
Partway through the year, I realized that it doesn’t make much sense to base one’s plans on something that is clearly uncertain. But instead of hitting the road or signing up for a fall race, I threw my energy into finishing my MBA as quickly as possible, making actual training impossible.
My 2011 casual pace? Somewhere in the vicinity of 7:30 miles for a 5K race (for a 23:15 finish) or 9:00 miles for a long run (or roughly 2:00 for a half marathon).
My last race of 2011 was the Kade Meyer Celebration Run on September 24. I was, in fact, three weeks pregnant (although completely unaware, since that’s not how it works.) I turned in a very predictable performance of 23:16 for 5K (results here) which serves as a perfect benchmark.
But how will I get there from here? I’m not expecting too much – only to be as fast as I was last year when I wasn’t really running. Is that too much to ask?
With the burdens and responsibilities of a soon-to-be working mom, I don’t know that my schedule will allow for dedicated training. The problem with casual running, though, is that it’s difficult-if-not-impossible to get any faster without putting in the work.
I’d love to hear stories of working women who have gotten back into shape in the first year of baby’s life. How’d you do it?