Becky Locking is training Melbourne comedienne and new mum Claire Hooper.
What does Claire’s training for the marathon look like?
With only three weeks until race day, Claire is aiming to just enjoy the experience and get the race finished. We want the whole experience to be enjoyable and not to become a chore because ultimately we want this training program and experience to be enjoyable so Claire will continue with her running and fitness training once the event is over.
When developing the program we took into account Claire’s background and after having Penelope just months ago, we’re aiming to increase her muscular endurance and cardio capacity in order to complete the running race in three weeks. When scheduling runs throughout the week we have made each run a set time limit. This way no matter how slow or fast she runs she will still be out being active for a set time rather than focusing on a set distance.
We have made each Sunday her longest run. This was organised because as a busy working mum this was the best day for her to take time to do her run, knowing Penelope is with her dad. Following the Sunday run Claire then has a light Monday run and a long run on the Tuesday.
When Claire has her training session, we will be focusing on strengthening the muscles and surrounding joints used when running plus some tougher cardio work to push Claire outside her comfort zone.
Has it changed week to week?
Each week the training program increases in duration to prepare Claire for race day when mentally she is preparing to just go out there and jog non-stop for the 21.1km. The run may not be world record pace, but Claire is determined to just put one foot in front of the other and get to that finish line jogging the entire way.
What does Claire’s meal plan look like?
Claire doesn’t have a meal plan because with her busy lifestyle and the short duration it can be hard to find something that she will enjoy and stick to. Sometimes when creating a meal plan it becomes rigid and unenjoyable – so we have created a long list of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options that she can choose from.
Each meal Claire will be eating lean protein and good forms of complex carbohydrates. She will be eating lean protein to help her recover and repair her muscles, and eating complex carbohydrates to ensure she has the energy to get through her training program and maintain her busy lifestyle.
What should new mums like Claire aim for, or avoid, when trying to get fit?
New mums should avoid doing too much too soon. Too often new mums feel pressured to get back to being fit and healthy, often thinking they must hit the gym twice a day to do so. Instead, like Claire has done, keep active by being a new mum. Opt for floor-work routines that aim to strengthen the body gently, or active/brisk walks with your newborn in the pram. See how many different places you can walk too!
New mums should also check with their doctor before commencing exercise to get the all clear first. As a new mum your joints are much looser because of the hormone relaxant that occurs during pregnancy. This needs to be taken into consideration when beginning exercise again.
This is why when developing Claire’s program we aren’t expecting her to sprint this 21.1km in world record speed. If she did, she could do some big damage to her hips, knees and ankles because of the high impact speed running would cause. Strength training will increase strength in the joints and surrounding muscles but again needs to be done gradually.
What is your advice for new mums trying to fit in regular exercise?
New mums need to take time for themselves for not only their physical health, but more importantly their mental and emotional health. Look for a health and fitness centre that runs an Active Playgroup. At the gym where I work out of there is an Active Playgroup where new mums come along with their newborns or toddlers and work out with their babies nearby or with the crèche attendant, depending on what the mother chooses. However, it is not always easy or feasible to go to a gym or to find someone to look after a newborn, so one of the best things to do is find activities you can do to keep active with them around; power walking with the pram is one of the best forms of exercise for new mums.