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Saturday, June 20, 2009

I am Breast Feeding and Training for a Half Marathon

I am 39 years old and have just had my fourth baby. She is now 7 months old and I am feeling the need to get out and get on my feet running again. For no other reason than my husband kindly entered me in the 2009 half marathon. I have run the 2006 and 2007 Auckland half marathon in 2hours 30mins (approx) and various 10km runs and one triathlons in between. I am still breast feeding but that is not the main nutrition for her as she is on solids and having a bottle but I would like to continue to breast feed for as long as she wants to. i.e. I don’t want to give it up for the sake of my fitness.

What I am asking is, can you suggest a training program and nutrition which is suited to the breast feeding and safety for my daughter i.e. supplements that are safe for her. To be honest my nutrition is not the best at the moment as I am eating just to feel full when I can. Breakfast is not happening as I am preparing lunch boxes and bottles but I know that if I had a guideline then I would feel better.
Gary responds:
You are asking the right man: I used to milk cows between university semesters. We are very much like cows when it comes to producing plenty of high quality milk. If poorly fed, the cows produce less and what is produced is of a lower quality. Stress the cows in any way and production declines. Farmers in New Zealand love their cows. Some even sing to them.

When preparing for the half marathon, that you do not fall into negative energy and nutrient balances while both training and breast feeding. While you may not stop producing milk, the quality will suffer and this is far from desirable for your baby regardless of how other sources of food.

Breakfast has to happen, otherwise you start the day on the back foot. There is no excuse for going without. Our busy family has always made school lunches the night before and we still do. Ingredients that make sandwiches go soggy, such as tomato, can be packed separately and the child can make up the sandwich during lunchtime. Children can make their own lunches (and breakfasts) from an early age, freeing you to oversee the work, instead of being an unpaid slave to all. Do they really need bottles? Water is best. All NZ schools and childcare centers have drink fountains.

Please have a look at my Super Smoothie recipe which you can modify to suit your needs. This will give all the nutrients you need to train hard and to keep the milk supply going. The basic Smoothie, including the whey protein, flax oil, raw egg and berries, are all safe for you and Baby. You can serve the basic Smoothie to your children as part of their breakfast and as an after school snack. What you serve your children you can also have - the only difference being that you have more.

Have a glass of Balance Recovery Stack within the hour before a training run and then another within the hour of finishing. A few scoops per day is perfectly safe for a breastfeeding athlete. This is all you need other than the Super Smoothie. Of course; ensure that your entire diet is rich in proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals sourced from a wide variety of fresh foods. Unless you have a more specific need, such as a past history of iron deficiency, this should be more than adequate.

If your budget allows, please purchase a Salter 9106 Body Composition Analyser
Scale. These are selling dirt cheap right now because I want my clients to have them. These scales will tell you your body composition in water, bone, fat and muscle. As you get fitter, fat may decline while lean and water should increase (You can send me your results and I will comment on them). Use the "Athlete Mode".

The best advice I can give about training is to follow the Training for a Marathon Guide. Start out slow, stick to the "Hard Day - Easy Day" rule and try to be as consistent as possible from one week to the next. There are now over 900 articles about health and fitness on this site. Please use the "key words" tab to the right of this article to explore areas of interest - "shin splints" for example.

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