I ran a half marathon in June of 2016 in Yellowstone with my sister-in-law and husband. It was one of the WORST experiences of my life.
I didn’t realize the entire thing was a trail run and I did not train on a dirt trail once during my training. I fell twice during the event and I got a horrible stomach ache at mile 10 from all the “goo” I had been eating.
So, why am I doing another half marathon you ask?? Here are 4 reasons behind my motivation:
1- Training for a half marathon will help tame my depression and anxiety.
“There is now evidence to support the antidepressant effects of exercise… as an adjunctive treatment for postpartum depression” (Source: this article).
Adjunctive means that it is an additional treatment that helps to increase performance when combined with other treatments. For myself, this means that along with my medication, therapy, and support group attendance, exercise helps to increase the efficiency of these other things I am currently participating in.
When you exercise, it releases endorphins. Endorphins are your “feel good” hormones. When you have more of these hormones in your body, you feel a sense of hope.
Having hope when you suffer from anxiety and depression is HUGE. Feeling hopeless is one of the major symptoms of PPD/PPA. Because of this, you lack the motivation to do anything and don’t feel good about yourself.
Isn’t it great that exercise can actually help to bring that hope back? If you only have one reason to exercise, let it be that one.
2- Training for a half marathon will give me consistency.
More important than exercise itself, is exercising consistently. In this article on Postpartum Progress, it states:
“I could exercise without needing it to be formal or structured. I didn’t need two hours on gym equipment with a personal trainer. I could exercise without finding a babysitter and driving to a gym. I only needed one thing: a consistent exercise schedule.”
By having a training schedule for the AF half marathon, it will help me maintain the consistency of working out.
Just remember, you don’t have to exercise hard and for long amounts of time every day. I love the article I previously mentioned because she talks about how she would walk every day for 60 minutes. Even this level of exercise will have antidepressant affects. The key is that she did it consistently.
Let’s be honest, starting to work out again after baby is hard. Make a schedule for yourself so it won’t be quite as difficult. Even if it is just to walk every day, a schedule will help you stick with exercising.
3- Training for a half marathon will give me control and a sense of accomplishment.
In the beginning, on thing that was really hard for me with PPD/PPA was that I felt like my life was spinning out of control and I couldn’t do anything about it. This would leave me in a daze. I also didn’t feel any sense of accomplishment because I didn’t have grades I was receiving or I wasn’t getting a lot of things done every day. When you have a baby, you have to learn to adjust what you see as accomplishment.
By training for a half marathon, it gives me something I can control. I can control my physical fitness and the goal that I set and meet for myself.
By training for a half marathon, it gives me something I can gain accomplishment from. It will be something I can do for me. It will give me a reason to love myself again, which is also something I have struggled with due to PPD/PPA.
4- Training for a half marathon will give me a second chance.
Let’s be honest, I need a do-over from my last experience running a half-marathon.
I want to do this and be able to say it was a better experience. I also feel like I am in better shape now and feel more like “me” again. I think this feeling has come from taking time to fix the root of the cause, PPD/PPA, and not just ignore it anymore. I have so much more energy now and I know it’s because I have hope again.
Find something you love to do that can help you be consistently active, you don’t necessarily need to run a half marathon.
But, if you do want to run a half marathon, I have a great training schedule I would be happy to share. Drop a comment or send me an email and I will get it to you.
Much love, Kaitlyn