I’m running a half marathon! Crazy to think that I’ll be running for more than a half hour at one time. But, I wanted to talk to you all about Half Marathon Training with IBD. I think there are a few things that we need to take into consideration with our diseases. However, running, and exercise in general, are not out of the question when you get diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.
First, I am not a doctor. So be sure to check in with them and keep them informed with what you are doing. Second, if you are in the middle of an active flare, you may want to reconsider running a half marathon or increasing your exercise. You need to reduce the stress on your body in these instances and exercise increases stress on the body. I have talked about exercise and IBD on the blog. Go check it out!
Why I chose to run a Half Marathon…
To be honest, it was kind of spur of the moment. When I visited San Francisco for the first time back in 2019, the Golden Gate Half Marathon was going on while my husband and I were exploring Fisherman’s Wharf. I thought it was really cool seeing all the participants running over the iconic bridge. So now that I live out here, I had a random urge to take on this challenge. Running a half marathon was a bucket list item I’ve had and have just been too nervous to take it on. But, I am only getting older and I am in a good place with my Crohn’s right now, so I signed up for that same race I saw back in 2019!
More importantly, I also signed up to take part in the Team Challenge through the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation so that I can race in orange. I wasn’t able to do the scheduled race, but you can join and run any race you desire. It’s a great opportunity to raise money for research and cures! And I’ll be able to rock some gear during my race. You can check out my fundraising page and help me reach my goal before race day!
Another reason I chose to run this was because I feel pudgy. I’ve gained a considerable amount of weight over the last year…really the last 6 months. This weight has come on even though I am eating relatively healthy and working out consistently. I’ve made some changes in my medical life (removing my IUD) and overall lifestyle that could have brought this on too. I haven’t been consistent with whether I want to intermittent fast, I’ve done juice cleanses longer than a day, I’ve introduced some fish back into my life, and kept starting and stopping different supplements. I’m sure this all added to it too, but nonetheless this is a way for me to keep consistent for the next 3 months and maybe I’ll shed a few pounds!
Now that I am committed to running this race. I have had to figure out Half Marathon training with IBD. I’ve never run longer than 5 miles in my life so this will be a mental challenge as well. I wanted to find a plan that gave me enough time to get used to the increase in running while also taking into consideration the added stress this will be on my body. Luckily, I am not flaring. My body is in a pretty good place and I work out about 5 times a week anyway. So, I just am making small adjustments to my current routine and changing up my food choices slightly. I also wanted to give myself some wiggle room with training in the summer with vacations and long weekends happening.
Training Considerations and Changes I’ve Made
- I found a 12 week training plan that I feel is best to keep my Crohn’s happy. I started training 14 weeks out to give myself a little leeway if something comes up. This plan is great that it you only run 3 times a week (4 times maybe twice) while incorporating strength training, cross training, and yoga. The yoga will be the most important workout of the week! The stretching and reduction of stress on my body will really help!
- I started introducing foods that will help fuel me for extended amounts of time. I typically don’t eat gluten, but carbohydrates are a great source of fuel for running. There are many different ways to get carbohydrates that don’t involve gluten but I wanted to expand my horizons in terms of different types of carbs I could intake. When I am flaring, gluten is a no go for me. But so far, the small amounts I have introduced are just fine. I rather have more options if possible so I’ll keep a close eye on whether it begins to affect me or not. I don’t plan on going crazy with the gluten, but once in a while it’s a nice treat. And I’ve missed bagels 🙂 .
- I’ve become more deliberate with my eating choices and hydration. I’m trying to make healthy eating choices and being sure I drink enough water so that I can get my workouts in without feeling like crap. Where I used to have a few glasses of wine on a Friday night I’m opting for fewer, or none at all. No one wants to wake up Saturday morning for their long run and feel off because of a few drinks! Same with food too. Where I would indulge in dessert or maybe a fried food dish every once in a while, I need to be smart if I need to get a workout in the next day. Running with a full belly of greasy french fries is no fun. Even though it didn’t bother me when I ate it.
- Support system is key! If you ever chose to run a half marathon, or marathon, or do a triathlon. I HIGHLY encourage you to join the Team Challenge. They provide you with an awesome support group and training assistance. There is a facebook group that we are all a part of and can cheer each other on while getting tips for race day. So in addition to my support from home, I have this new IBD family of runners and cyclists that know exactly what I am going through! It’s a great way to meet more people in our community and people who live near each other can meet up and train together!
- I’m listening to my body more. Like I said, I am not flaring. But the added stress of longer runs and workout intervals has the potential to piss off my Crohn’s disease. If there is a day my body is telling me I need more rest, I honor that. It’s not the end of the world if a workout gets missed. At the end of the day, my IBD health is more important. Finding the balance between being fit and staying in remission is a challenge that I am excited to take on. Just because we have IBD doesn’t mean we can’t do incredible things!
Take on the Challenge!
I have only been training for a few weeks now, but I am glad I committed to this! I needed something to look forward too, especially after this year we’ve had. It is going to be incredible to see what I am capable of over the next 3 months. This will be just as much a physical challenge as a mental one!
I highly encourage you to consider running a half marathon, or joining another race with the Team Challenge. It is an awesome community thus far and a way for you to connect with others who have IBD. And, it’s a great way to learn about your body and see the amazing things it can do, even though we have autoimmune disease. I can’t wait until race day to complete this challenge!!