The gift of motherhood can surely change routines and goals for any runner or athlete, and although it is not easy, it can still be done. The body goes through multiple changes pre, during and post pregnancy. Last month we congratulated Spring Team Athlete Amanda Basham with the birth of her second daughter, who is 16 months younger than her older sibling. As Amanda embarks on this journey with a growing family, her direction with running, training and racing might look different, but is still very present in her life.
After experiencing a foot injury from racing the Boston Marathon, a friend suggested trails to Amanda due to the softer surface. She quickly asked herself why she had been running on roads for so long, and has stuck to the trails ever since. Her mindset during this time was to train perfectly - run a ton of miles, eat well, sleep 10-12 hours a night plus naps when needed, and complete all planned workouts daily.
Amanda first became pregnant in 2020 and had her first daughter in January 2021. She went into this first pregnancy as fit as she had ever been and thought for sure that running would still be easy. It turned out that running was very hard! Amanda remembers that she “still managed to run for most of that pregnancy but it was very different than I was used to. I couldn’t go fast or far. My feet were swollen and achy and it was hard to breathe living at 7,600 feet.” Her biggest obstacles during this time was constant fatigue, which caused her to sleep a lot, and a huge craving for daily pastries. The decline in mileage was a hard adjustment for Amanda as she had never experienced this type of hindrance on her running before.
About halfway through the pregnancy Amanda’s mindset shifted from concentrating on a specific workout to daily goals, which were to stay healthy and get enough sleep. At that point, it was more important to move everyday however possible. Some days that meant running 3-5 miles while other days consisted of stretching and additional shuteye. Amanda took her running during pregnancy day by day, which made it less overwhelming and helped her to realize that it was normal and ok that she wasn’t able to perform the same tasks and exercises pre-pregnancy.
After her first baby was born, things went really well for Amanda. “Staying fit throughout my pregnancy helped me get back to training and racing pretty quickly. Again, I took it day by day and just did what my body felt like doing.” Since Amanda didn’t recover as instantly from her runs as before, and still felt overly tired, her volume and intensity were not as huge, but the joy of racing was still high. She had a new appreciation for what her body could do and enjoyed every minute of it.
Amanda agrees that every pregnancy is different, and her second experience was much more tiring than the first. This time there was a toddler to care for as well, which made certain activities such as napping more difficult to fit in. Despite the additional challenges, Amanda was still able to run until just two days before giving birth! Most runs weren’t too pleasant, but she had experienced this before and knew it wouldn’t take much to stay fit. On the upside, Amanda was able to add in lots of playtime and hikes with her toddler to her daily routine.
As a professional runner Amanda balances her training and motherhood with flexibility by being able to change her plans on the fly, run at times that work for the whole family, and doesn’t expect training to go perfectly. “I do the best I can with what I have and that’s all I can do. I think it’s made me a better runner to have to be able to adapt to different situations constantly.” Amanda’s advice to other mother runners or runners who are currently pregnant or planning to start a family, is to think about the goal of running while expecting and remember that it is temporary. Know that it can be really hard to run, especially when you are in your third trimester, and consider adjusting your mindset to health instead of performance. Lastly, Amanda advises mothers-to-be to not compare their experience to others. Every pregnancy is different and you may be able to do more or less than someone else.
Amanda is back at training and racing again after baby two has been born and we are pumped to see her at some upcoming mountain adventures such as the Mammoth Trail Fest. We can’t wait to see what this incredible mom does next!
Written by Spring Team Manager Isabella Janovick
Cover Image by Philipp Reiter