Don’t worry – I’m not running yet; however, I am beginning to think about how I am going to get my body ready to return when the time comes. Postpartum running can be tricky and since your body has been through so much it’s extremely important I plan and get my body ready prior to actually hitting the pavement.
Pregnancy is an amazing experience but it also can be very taxing on your body. Especially after going through labor. It’s a process to get back to running and includes more than simply letting your body recover and hitting the pavement again.
Yesterday officially marked my 2 weeks postpartum and while I am no where close to running, I’ve began to create a game plan to help get myself ready when the time comes and help to minimize the risk of injury as I start back.
Here are my 5 Simple Steps I am using to prepare for Postpartum Running.
1. Core and Pelvic Floor Strength Work
It’s no secret that during pregnancy a woman’s core and pelvic floor can weaken. Your pelvic floor is helping to prepare you to deliver your baby by loosening, but after you deliver your pelvic floor will need some work before you are ready to get out and run again.
I will be using the Mom Bod Fitness ReCORE Program starting next week to help restrengthen both my core and pelvic floor. You may remember that I began using the FitSplint during the second trimester of my pregnancy. I really loved it and knew that I would use it for my postpartum recovery as well. It can be used to help hold your core tight while working to build up strength and even start running again.
The ReCORE Program is a 6 week core reconditioning program. It can be used directly after having a child or even if you are trying to build up your core a year later. The goal of the program is to improve inner core function, stability, strength, and coordination. I look forward to sharing with you all how the program goes and am excited to have something to start focusing on next week!
Rest and running seem counterproductive do they not? Well, when it comes to postpartum running it is absolutely imperative that you rest the appropriate amount of time. If you read my posts on Easton’s birth story (here and here) then you know that I had a episiotomy while in labor. This will make my return to running a little slower, but the good news is that everything seems to be healing up well!
Resting is important after having a baby. Your body has been throughs so much and it needs proper time to heal. While everyone will have a different recommendation for when it is OK to start back running, I think it’s important regardless to make sure you take enough time for YOU. Even if you are cleared and still don’t feel like your body is there, it’s okay to not start back right away.
3. Setting Goals
I love goals. They help motivate me to get out there and work hard towards whatever my goal may be. I shared in a previous post that I am currently planning on running the Boston Marathon in April. Yes, it’s a big goal and would not have been one I would have originally set if it weren’t for the fact that I didn’t run it in 2015 and I’ve worked towards this dream a long time. I realize it may still not happen, but having that goal keeps me motivated. If you are having trouble finding motivation, sign up for a race! It doesn’t have to be a marathon, but even a 5k, 10k or 1 miler would be a great motivator!
If you aren’t goal oriented – this may not work for you as well. Instead, find a way to keep you focused and motivated. Set a goal of simply getting outside and walking a few times a week. While running may be your end goal you can set small baby steps in order to get yourself there.
4. Create a Plan
I don’t have a marathon plan already picked out, but I do have a plan started to help me simply begin running again. Just like you do after an injury, it’s important to start back slowly and work your way into it. Your ligaments and body in general need some time to get accustomed to running again.
After taking the last 3-4 weeks of pregnancy off and the recovery time postpartum it’s important to not get ahead of ourselves. After any time off I come back to running by starting with running/walking. I slowly ease into it and stick to soft ground in the beginning. This is still my plan for coming back postpartum. I will create my plan and make sure to stick to it, not getting ahead of myself on the miles.
While it may seem like it takes longer to come back by taking it slow, it is the safe and best way to come back while staying injury free.
5. Don’t Set Specific Time Goals
Even though my goal is to run the Boston Marathon, I have absolutely no time goal going in. While later down the road it is definietly something I plan to do again, setting a time goal will often cause many of us to push harder than we need to. It is more important at this time to make sure you are listening to your body than trying to push it to run a certain pace.
It’s an easy trap to fall into, so make sure you are truly taking it slow and not worrying about what the time on your Garmin says. If need be, leave you watch a home! Staying healthy is much more important that running fast in the beginning.
As I start working towards eventually running again postpartum, I’m enjoying focusing on these small things that I know will make a big difference in the end. Remember, don’t compare yourself to others and do what is best for YOU and YOUR body!