Babies, Moms, and Running

By November 27, 2014Featured, News

Most of my audience is probably only interested in the ‘Running’ part of this post’s title, so I’ll get that out of the way and then let you carry on with your day.

I am back training, at a level that I would call actual training. We did lots of searching for “why” the latest injury (a stress fracture in my right distal fibula) occurred. Nothing concrete has come of that. There is always that period of searching for answers, but maybe sometimes there isn’t an answer, or at least not an answer that we can come to with the limited resources I have at my disposal (many people are surprised with how unscientific our approach to training is. Maybe that will be my downfall, but it is what it is). It feels good to be back and I’m looking forward to an eventful 2015. I did not have my carding (Government Funding) renewed, which is disappointing (maybe more on that another time). And good luck to everyone running Nationals XC this weekend in Vancouver. I will not be racing. If I had two more good weeks of training under me and I wasn’t worried about messing up my ankle I might give it a go. But, I will be spectating instead. There should be some great races so if you’re in Vancouver head out to Jericho Beach Park on Saturday.

You can follow some of my training runs on Movescount and Strava Will likely be hard to make sense of a lot of the workouts. But, when I wear my Suunto Ambit 2R watch that data will show up on those links.

Next topic of interest; my wife had a baby girl on November 1! Sasha is amazing and makes for an exciting new adventure in life. It has been great thus far, despite lacking a bit of sleep here and there. Priorities are shifting a little bit, but in a good way.


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Last topic; Moms. Certainly watching my wife give birth to our baby girl gave me a whole new appreciation for all moms out there (‘Thanks Mom’!). But, I wanted to talk specifically about moms who run, even more specifically moms who run really fast. Recently there has been a lot of media attention around elite female marathon runners who are also moms. Specifically around the NYC marathon; Kara Goucher, Deena Kastor, and Clara Peterson received a lot of well deserved attention around their training and racing during and after pregnancy. Krista Duchene may be a familiar name to Canadian marathon fans; she is a mom of 3 and has done her best running since having her children. One of my teammates here in Vancouver, Sabrina Wilkie has started a blog about her current experience of training while pregnant, which you can check out here:

My wife has done pregnancy and health research in some shape or form for the past 10 years and she also has many friends who run and train a lot. She would get questions from these friends regarding what they could/should safely do for training during pregnancy. Though not her expertise, she did some research and found there was a real dearth of studies on the subject. So, with the help of her colleagues at the University of Ottawa and consultation with several of her elite female friends a study of elite female distance runners was born. With my background in statistics and epidemiology, I’ve also been involved in the conception of the study. Our main objectives are to find out what women did for training before, during, and after pregnancy. Our survey is up at the link below and we would greatly appreciate readers passing this on to anyone they know who may meet our inclusion criteria (also below). A second objective is looking at some of the social factors around pregnancy for elite female distance runners, including other peoples perceptions of their activity during pregnancy and issues around sponsorships/contracts. We tackled the later topics through phone interviews with a highly elite group of women. Results of those interviews will be presented at academic conferences sometime in the new year.

To take part in the study you must have been pregnant and given birth within the past 5 years and run faster than one of the following standards:

1,500m: 4:29.42
3,000m steeplechase: 10:48.89
5,000m: 16:38.13
10,000m: 35:06.22
half-marathon: 1:17:08
marathon: 2:46:00



  • luc says:

    MarathonTalk in the last episode had an interview with Prof. Shennan on running during pregnancy

    • DylanW says:

      Funny, I was listening to the exact podcast while on the AlterG treadmill the other day. They are targeting a somewhat different population, ours is a very narrow group of highly elite. Recommendations should be different for someone who runs a couple times per week leading up to pregnancy vs someone training daily 100km/week plus. Still great research by Prof. Shennan & co. Look forward to their findings.

  • dilly says:

    Why only the last 5 years? My wife ran well under all those standards (except marathon), but it’s been a bit over 5 years….any reason why?

    • DylanW says:

      It has to do with recall bias. That will be one of the biggest limitations of the study. So, a cut off had to be determined. I know we could gain far more participants if we made that time window longer. But then the criticism of the accuracy of the data would increase too.