Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How to Run a Half Marathooooon

Okay disclaimer...I am not an expert. Far far from. However, I have had multiple friends asking me how I trained for my last half-marathon (okay, it was my FIRST half marathon, first RACE since....pubesence.)  I decided to run a half-marathon a couple months after the birth of Elijah, because I wanted to lose the baby weight because I was starting to feel like this

And, at a week post-baby, I had a Target clerk ask me when I was due.

That'll do it.
Instant motivation.

Running the marathon was seriously one of the best feelings. Super empowering. I think 2010 was a very empowering year for me, and after having a baby I felt incredibly strong, incredibly empowered...if I can carry this massive baby and have him, and provide food for him and care for him, ...I mean a marathon starts to sound schmeasy-peasy. 

And in comparison to childbirth....it was

                         My only disclaimer--besides the fact that I'm not an expert just writing from my own experience--is that running may not be the quickest, most efficient or effective way to "shed baby weight". I have a friend who found another way to healthfully work out and lose some baby weight(and no she wasn't Heidi Klum, she was a normal human being with hips)...and her work out schedule was totally different from mine. (Hers was intensive in fat-burning exercises alternating with muscle-building)I will add hers to the end of this post in case you're interested

How I Ran a Half Marathon Post-Baby

BabyStepNumber1) Taking baby steps. About three weeks post-baby, I decided to go for a run. I do have a history of running (which helps) but it had been awhile. So, I figured, 'Oh, I'll just go for a mile'....pause...remembering Target clerk... 'maybe a two-mile jog'. Wrong. I ran three steps and was heaved over feeling like I was dying. What the heck. I came home (I made it to the end of my cul-de-sac) ready to turn in my Asics. Nope, running's not my thing.

Which leads to

BabyStepNumber2) Motivation. I know it's sad--but I continued to remember that Target clerk's comment. Cue slow motion voice and close up of Target clerk's mouth: 'wheeeen arrrre youuuu duuuuuuueeee'.  A couple days after my trek to the third house on my block, I decided to try again. And again. This continued to be my motivation. Now that I've lost about 50lbs, my motivation is to be a role model for Elijah. (in general my goal is to set standards HIGH for Elijah's future wife. Unattainably high.;) )

BSN3) A Race. So, I knew I probably wasn't going to stay committed to a work-out "plan". I always fall short of those things. So, I knew if I wanted to be committed to running a long distance, I had to sign up for a race (which are usually non-refundable) and just go for it. So, I ran on my own, in the mornings before Justin went to work, for about three months after baby. I didn't run everyday, I didn't even run every other day, but I tried to run every week. (Again--like I said--this isn't the most effective way to lose weight (at least the way I did it). It did however up my metabolism by the end of the ordeal.) So at three months post-baby, I signed me and my husband up for month 5 post-baby and it was done and done.

BSN4) A Route. We happen to live near one of the best running trails in Austin (Brushy Creek Trail, it's 13 mi long) so route was pretty convenient. I am not one of those people who will ever just pick up and DRIVE somewhere to go work out, I am just not that committed. So marking out a five-mile course in your neighborhood, regardless of trail or not is key. After that--I literally would run as far as I could in one direction, then be forced to run back home the same amount. 

BSN5) A Reward. After I signed up for the race, I knew I had to start running a lot more. I started trying to run every day (knowing I wouldn't make every day) and I made it a routine to go run at night when Justin got home, leave him with the baby, then when I got home Justin would let me have 'me' time during which I would watch the Bachelor (the season with Ally). Every time I would dread going to run, I would remember I don't get to see which faker she ditches this week if I don't go running.

BSN6) The 'Plan'. So two-months before my race, I knew it was crunch time and I had to make it to 13.1 miles. My only goal with this race was to run the entire time. I didn't care about my time, I just wanted to run the whole thing without walking. So I knew I had 8 weeks to learn how to run 13 miles. I called my sister-in-law (who has run a full marathon) and she told me if I can run 7 miles without stopping, I can run the 13.1. I was skeptical, but committed to that plan. So:

Week 1: I ran three miles twice
Week 2: I ran three miles twice
Week 3: I ran four miles once or twice
Week 4: I ran four miles once or twice
Week 5: I ran six miles once and two miles once
Week 6: I ran five miles once and eight miles once 
Week 7: I ran nine miles once and two miles once
Week 8: I ran three miles once.
Race Day.

I showed up Race Day (in Houston, October)and ate two pancakes, streteched for 45 minutes, and ran the entire thing without a glitch! I'm serious, it was God's grace to me. I felt no humps, no hard parts, and no temptations to walk. I give credit (of course to God) but also the the fact that I started slow, and worked up to it. ANd I never even had to run 13 miles before race day. My time was 2hrs 14 min, but I wonder if I could have been faster had I run harder.

So now I'm 'training' for the Austin half in February. I am not training as much, or as consistently. Plus, I have the running stroller I have to train with now (which is...like pain-central the first few times). I will let you know how it goes!

(this is how I feel running with a baby)

Friend's Post-Baby Routine
** Per my friend, she worked out 5 days a week starting at 3 months. No excuses, never missing a day. 
** Her routine was lifting for 25 min straight, then cardio for the last 25 min (running, or stair-stepper set on 15). This is basically every day mind you. 
**Strict diet: Lots of protein for breakfast (big breakfast), vegetables and meat for lunch and dinner, and No carbs past 5pm. (This is the reason why this workout would never work for me.((But again, she has a six-pack and looks like Heidi Klum))
**She did this for a year, and continues to do this to stay in shape. 
Way to go her. 
Not for me. 



  1. This is awesome Antonio! I am so proud of you, and I love your step by step plan!

  2. Man- you are good. I am so impressed and intrigued...and inspired, actually. I might read this every morning to get me out and about. That was so sweet of Justin-such good support. Could do without the screaming pregger lady in scrubs-think you just put me back another 1.25yr with that image in my head...but nonetheless- I feel like running!
    Wish we were nearby to do it together...if the target lady leaves your head you should just envision couch mishelek... :)