|9 months ago Rachel Seaman gave birth to daughter Isabella. Her return to competition in December 2013 has already produced Canadian records in the 5000-metre racewalk and 10000-metre racewalk.
Dec. 2013 – 10000m racewalk, 44:25.80 (previous mark 44:30.01 by Alison Baker in 1993)
Jan. 2014 – 5000m racewalk, 21:37.32 (previous mark 21:52.95 by Pascale Grand in 1990)
Athletics Canada (AC) – Were you able to train throughout your pregnancy? What did those final months look like and what did you do post baby to help with recovery and getting back into it?
|2012 Olympic Games
Rachel Seaman (RS) – I was lucky enough to be able train right until the end of my pregnancy doing some sort of exercise almost everyday. I had to stop racewalking about a month and a half before I was due because of some discomfort but I ran 10km’s the morning I was induced so I was pretty active. I took the year to just enjoy the experience of being pregnant and no pressure of training. I just did what I felt like for exercise and decided on a daily basis based on how I felt. My belly didn’t get as big as most women, I measured much smaller than where I should have been so exercising for me until the end wasn’t a problem or uncomfortable.
Post baby I took a month completely off from any exercise other than going for casual walks. I wanted to give my body full recovery so that I didn’t injure myself when I came back. Once I started back I really took my time. Doing something every other day and running with walking breaks. Throughout the next few months I took it pretty easy always having at least one day off per week. I mixed it up with running, racewalking, the ElliptiGO and just did whatever I felt like that day. I gave birth at the end of April and had a goal of starting back to full training by September and I was able to do that smoothly.
AC – How do you balance parenthood and being a full-time elite athlete?
RS – Balancing motherhood and training full time has been much easier than I was anticipating. Being a mom has given me better perspective on life and athletics. I’m not stressing things that I used to, like lack of sleep or rest. I just roll with it now since I have no choice and it’s made me a lot stronger mentally. My daughter is a great distraction from over thinking training and racing. She has impacted my athletic career in the best way possible, she has really revitalized my determination.
AC – Were you vying for a big performance coming back to the racing scene? Breaking two Canadian records (pending ratification) in the outdoor 5000m and 10000m so early in the season?
RS – I definitely wanted to have a strong comeback year. Having a year off of serious training and racing did wonders for me mentally. I realized a lot of things that I could improve on in my training. I have been very focused and determined to work hard to reach my full potential because I don’t think I did all I could previously. I thought I had a chance to break the records at some point this year, but didn’t think I would so early in the season. It makes me very excited for the rest of the season.
|2011 World Championship
AC – What are your goals for the rest of the season?
RS – My goals for the rest of the season are trying to keep up my record streak. I already own the 20km RW record but I’d like to smash that. My biggest focus is on the 20km and everything else is a bonus. I’ll be competing in Switzerland in March and would like to walk a fast time there but the big goal is the IAAF World Racewalk Cup in China in May. I’d like to see how I can fare against the top girls and try and get my best placing there. I’ve already competed in 3 World Cups so hopefully my past experiences will help.
AC – Does your training change (how) when training for on track vs. outdoor road races?
RS – We basically train with the sole focus on the 20km and we have found that the strength from that training has always allowed me to walk fast at the shorter distances. We don’t usually train very much on the track or do many shorter speed workouts but we have thrown in a few this season for fun and to get a bit of speed for some of the shorter races. We have been trying to mix things up in training and see how it works out. It’s a good year to experiment a bit since it’s not a World Championship or Olympic year.