Nursing Mom’s Running Question Answered

I ditched you all yesterday and I’m sorry! Travis had the day off and it’s just so stinkin hard for me to blog when he is home.

The nice part about him being home (besides hanging out all day together!) is that I was able to go for my run in the morning versus my usual evening jaunt on the pavement.  I prefer to get my workouts in early so I don’t have them hanging over me all day long, but with Tyrion, evenings have just been working better.  Travis has been more than amazing helping me accomplish my daily runs. When he arrives home every night from work he changes, we chat real quick, and then he takes Little Man and I’m out the door. This seems to be working great so far! When it gets light out earlier and isn’t so stinkin cold I would love to get up about 5am and run before Travis leaves for work, but we will see how things go.

jogging

That was yesterdays run. It was my longest yet and I was so proud when I finished. Again, I was able to keep a steady pace and ran the whole time. So, so excited with my progress you guys!

Man oh man though, I was worn out the rest of the day! Upping my miles and keeping a stead pace has made me a cranky, sore mama! My neck was killing me last night. A heating pad and a good massage from my husband really helped. Relaxing my neck while running is so hard. I don’t realize I’m tensed up until pain starts shooting through my shoulders.

Okay, so from great to meh: I was feeling a little disappointed and down in the weight department again the last few days. I know, I know, old news right? Well, I am on a group on Face Book for those following the Trim Healthy Mama book and I asked them a question about my running and thought I would share some of the responses with you all! They really encouraged me, even if it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear.

breastfeeding

Below is what I asked and some of the best responses I got:

I have a question – I am training for my first half marathon and right now I’m running an average of about 15-18 miles a week (started 2 weeks ago). I am also breastfeeding my almost 8 month old. I haven’t budged in the weight department for almost a month now, and I still have 13 pound to get to pre-baby weight. Do you ladies have any advice? I know muscle weighs more than fat, but I really want to get to pre-baby weight. I’m just feeling discouraged. I’m eating lots, and with nursing and running I’m burning almost 1,000 calories a day, but maybe I should eat less? Should I eat more E meals and less S? Any recommendations?

– You will definitely want to get some healthy carbs in there to replenish your glycogen stores with that much endurance exercise going on.

– When I run… I have to eat LOTS more. So if you think you are eating 2,000 cals but are nursing and burning from exercise you really may only have 1,000 for your body to use for normal function. NOT ENOUGH!

– SOMETIMES increased running will actually stall out weight loss. I don’t want to discourage you because I’m a runner too (and love it) but you may need to focus on FEELING better and being healthier rather than weight loss until your half is over.

– My husband is a cyclist, and we were discussing the need for carbs yesterday at lunch. The book says to have E before exercise and S after, but it’s talking about shorter bursts of exercise, not an endurance event. DH said for about an hour after a long exercise session, your body is fighting to replenish those glycogen stores, so any carbs you give it are going straight to that. It’s even a good time for a healthy crossover (especially if you’re nursing, also!). I’m not certain on all the sciency bits, but if you’re not giving it the carbs it needs at the right times, that could theoretically stall your weight loss, also.

– You are probably not eating ENOUGH! Your body is most likely in an extreme “she’s starving me” mode. Your metabolism has most likely gone into dire store the fat and it will be highly efficient at doing just that. Eat CROSSOVERS several times a week. Do NOT switch to just E meals. A balance between the 3 should be your aim. Your body is “scared” and is clinging to every bit of fat you give it.

– when I started running to do little 5k runs last summer I stalled out in weight loss too, but I FELT terrific after about the 3rd or 4th week of running. I wasn’t doing THM back then but I was nursing my son. The only thing I could think was that my body wasn’t sure how to handle the caloric needs of nursing an older baby (he was like 8ish months old when I started running) AND running/roller derby. I alternated running days with my derby practice days. What I did notice though, aside from feeling better, was that my clothes fit different. Tighter in the calves thanks to skating and looser in the thighs, hips and waistline. It might be more how you feel and in inches vs. weight on the scale. And muscle does NOT weigh more than fat. A pound of muscle is the same weight as a pound of fat. They are both a pound. BUT muscle is much smaller per pound in volume than fat. Hence paying more attention to inches than the scale i hope that helps.

– Just be careful if you are reducing your calorie intake and exercising and nursing. You don’t want your supply to drop! I’m nursing an 11 month old and my weight is SLOWLY coming off, but I’m ok with it. Hopefully as soon as I quit nursing it will really start coming off because I won’t be eating like a mad woman anymore!

–  I would try eating more, definitely not less. It puts your body into starvation mode and your body will then hold on to everything. That may be what it’s doing now.

– Eat more. Running that much takes a lot of calories, and with you nursing… your body may not be able to let of of extra because it is afraid there won’t be enough… It is VERY common for marathon runners to not loose, and to even gain because of this.
I definitely agree with the above answers, eat more! I would say even crossovers. With the running and nursing, you are burning through a minimum of 1500 calories per day. Not to mention the calories you’re burning just being alive, awake, and a mom.

You need the healthy carbs to give you energy for the running and to help you make milk and you need the protein to help you build those lean muscles and you need the fats for healthy brain function and sustainability.

If eating more is hard, try adding some protein shakes to your diet. Be sure to add good fats to it like flax or coconut oil or almond butter (I add about 1 tbsp. of one of these when making an S shake). You can also add some sort of healthy carb to make the shake a crossover. I know there are recipes for oatmeal cookie shakes and others, adding some fruit will accomplish this too (even half a banana would probably be ok once in a while since you are burning through all those calories per day).

Hope this helps.

Just have to throw this disclaimer out there: these are in no way a doctors orders and just opinions of others who wanted to encourage and help me. Don’t take what was written as the gospel truth! ; )

It was really nice to hear the opinions of others that have been in my situation. Not eating enough? Me? I never thought I would be told that! But maybe it’s true? I will try adding more healthy carbs and also eating within 30 minutes of running like recommended. My husband also told me the same thing. (He ran a lot in high school)

Just though I would share with you all if there is an off chance some of you going through the same thing! I definitely felt encouraged afterwards! Ya for a fun community on Face Book!

Hey on a side note, today is the first day of Spring!!!! Did you check out Google today? Such a cute welcome to the new season!

I’m off to enjoy the spring like weather, it’s cold but gorgeous! Hopefully we will warm up enough to take Tyrion out on another afternoon walk. Have a great Thursday!