Pregnancy and postpartum has changed many things about my running. I know it would be nice to hear that everything went back to normal, but it hasn’t. It’s been different but it’s also been very rewarding.
Yesterday I went on my longest run to date since being pregnancy – 16 miles. To be honest I wasn’t looking forward to the run and dreaded it most of the week. The biggest reason for this is due to some of the changes I have had in my running postpartum – both the good and the bad.
The longest run I did during pregnancy was 11 miles. It was still a good amount, but it has also been a long time now since my body has been used to long runs. My endurance has decreased from what it once was, which for the most part is to be expected.
Normally I would have a little longer to bring my endurance back up, but since I plan to run Boston in April I’ve had to bring back the long runs a bit quicker. Each week I feel small improvements, but long runs still seem to be my biggest struggle.
While my endurance has changed the good news is that it isn’t lost. Just like with anything in time it will begin to come back and one day my long runs won’t be quite as hard.
I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of women postpartum say they came back faster than before pregnancy. While I still have a good amount of time to determine if this will happen, I can see it didn’t happen right away for me. Running for the first time postpartum was definietly slow and it has taken me some time to get my legs back even with running during pregnancy.
I’ve seen small improvements since I started marathon training but it is still a long road to get back to where I once was. That’s why I didn’t set a time goal for Boston and will simply go out and have fun. Hopefully in the future I will be able to say I came back faster postpartum, but if not I’m still ready to work hard in the coming years to pick back up my speed.
My mental toughness has actually improved since before pregnancy. There is something about childbirth that really made me strong postpartum. The mental strength I had to use during delivery was a lot like the mental strength you use during a marathon.
I’ve noticed as I face harder runs postpartum that I am able to dig deeper and mentally focus a lot more than I did previously.
My husband and I used to spend 3+ hours at the gym some days running, stretching, and doing strength work. We didn’t have anyone else’s schedule to go by. We could take as long as we wanted, but now that has changed.
I find that I am much more productive and focused during my workouts. I obviously no longer have an unlimited amount of time and am fitting my running and strength training around my sweet boy’s schedule. While this may seem like a negative, I look at it as a positive! I have to focus on quality over quantity. I have to make the most of the time I have and that has made me a much more efficient runner.
After you have a baby, you running changes. Some changes will be great and others will be frustrating. I believe that believe prepared and realistic when approaching postpartum running is essential and it has made me a better and stronger runner because of it.
Don’t get frustrated with postpartum running. It will take some time to build your body back to what it once was, but it doesn’t mean that it will never happen! Don’t expect it over night but slowly and surely changes happen. Your body has gone through a lot and in the end you will be stronger because of it!