Great Strides

Trail Run­ning Mom

Canadian Running - - DEPARTMENTS - By Jen­nifer Faraone Jen­nifer Faraone is a coach, au­thor and mother of two who loves shar­ing her pas­sion for the trails through rac­ing, coach­ing and host­ing trail run­ning clin­ics and re­treats. Her lat­est book is The Ath­letic Mom-To-Be: Train­ing Your Way In

Be True to Your­self

It can be easy to com­pare your post­par­tum come­back to an­other woman’s. This is un­re­al­is­tic, as ev­ery woman’s ath­letic back­ground and preg­nancy ex­pe­ri­ence is dif­fer­ent and re­turn to fit­ness will be unique. “I hes­i­tated to say I ran 120-mile race be­fore my son’s first birth­day be­cause I didn’t want any­one to feel like they should be able to do the same,” ex­plains Linda Bar­ton, an ex­pe­ri­enced trail run­ner. “I felt con­fi­dent in that goal be­cause of my years of ul­tra­run­ning.” Rather than com­par­ing your­self to oth­ers, take the time to ref lect on your own per­sonal readi­ness and cir­cum­stances.

Be Pa­tient

The body goes through some pretty sig­nif­i­cant changes – even trauma – dur­ing preg­nancy and child­birth and re­quires a con­sid­er­able amount of time to heal. As tempt­ing as it might be to start train­ing right away, be pa­tient. Tak­ing small, grad­ual steps to­wards re­gain­ing your fit­ness will pay off in the long term. Bar­ton walked for eight weeks be­fore at­tempt­ing her first jog, which lasted just eight min­utes. “Be­cause of my cae­sar­ian, I wanted to make sure that my ab­dom­i­nal mus­cles could han­dle the phys­i­cal stress,” ex­plains Bar­ton. “I was more afraid of in­jur­ing my­self than los­ing my fit­ness.”

Hit the Trails

A gen­tle hike can be a great way to el­e­vate your heart rate ini­tially. As you start to feel stronger, con­sider tackling a more chal­leng­ing hike with your baby in a back car­rier. Your body will ap­pre­ci­ate the softer ter­rain of the trails, com­pared to the hard pave­ment of the road. Keep in mind that your time away from the trails may have left you feel­ing a bit rusty tech­ni­cally. “It took time to get my trail legs back to where I felt com­fort­able run­ning over roots and nav­i­gat­ing tricky de­scents,” ex­plains Bar­ton.

Boost Your Breast­feed­ing

Breast­feed­ing and ex­er­cise can be tricky. Some women find that as their train­ing vol­ume rises, their milk sup­ply de­creases or their ap­petite in­creases. It’s not the ex­er­cise per se that causes is­sues with breast­feed­ing, but rather it’s of­ten the out­comes of your train­ing such as de­hy­dra­tion, rapid and ex­ces­sive weight loss and ex­haus­tion. In­creas­ing hy­dra­tion and calo­rie in­take can mit­i­gate many of these out­comes. Bar­ton ex­pe­ri­enced a sharp de­cline in her milk sup­ply following a week­end of in­tense train­ing; she later con­sulted with a nu­tri­tion­ist to help pre­vent a fu­ture oc­cur­rence.

Find Your New Norm

Bal­anc­ing the role as a new mom while try­ing to re-es­tab­lish a fit­ness rou­tine can be chal­leng­ing given the sleep­less nights and com­pet­ing de­mands. Rather than try­ing to hang onto your pre-preg­nancy train­ing reg­i­men, find a new rou­tine that may be more suit­able. The fo­cus may shift from quan­tity to qual­ity and train­ing may of­ten take place on a tread­mill or with a baby jog­ger. Although your train­ing may now look dif­fer­ent, know that ev­ery bit counts and that you are get­ting stronger. Fi­nally, take com­fort know­ing that you are set­ting the stage for the fam­ily that you want to be­come. “It’s im­por­tant to us that [my son] grows up know­ing that we are an ac­tive fam­ily who hangs out at races all day,” ex­plains Bar­ton. “This is our norm.”

LEFT Linda Bar­ton Robbins, her Hus­band Gary and their son Reed at the fin­ish of the Squamish 50. Linda ran the Fat dog 120 miler only a few weeks ear­lier and breast fed Reed at aid sta­tions.

BOT­TOM Mom’s not the only one who needs fuel at the aid sta­tion

BE­LOW Shan­non Ryan is greeted by her fam­ily at the fin­ish of the Squamish 50

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