Post-partum running: Running during pregnancy looks different for everyone. For me, it was close to non-existent. I had visions of being that uber-pregnant lady still pounding the pavement but it wasn’t quite the dream I had in mind.
From day 1, I had it rough. In the first trimester, I was so sick and tired that running felt like torture and I stuck with mostly yoga when I was feeling like I was going to throw up.
In my second trimester, I was just uncomfortable. There were a few times I ran but I was never “feeling good” and didn’t want to push it with the heart rate so I kept it rare.
Third trimester, I pretty much couldn’t run even if I wanted to. I would occasionally try to go half a mile or so but it was always so sluggish and hard. That being said, I did run half a mile the day I went into labor — yay me!
Fast forward to post-partum days. I was itching to run to see how it would feel — and went on my first verrrry slow, jog-slog at 5 weeks. Since that cold, rainy day in December, here’s what I’ve learned about post-partum running 11 months later.
1. Have low expectations.
Or say…no expectations. You just go out there and do you — LISTEN to your body and don’t plan for anything at first. As time goes on, you can gradually see where your body tells you to go. Don’t worry — there’s plenty of time to get back to normal.
2. Start slow and short.
My first run out was literally down the block — maybe a total of a half mile and slow as humanly possible. I felt like I was a Grandma but that’s okay!
3. Give it at least 6 months.
I know that sounds like a long time but someone told me she needed at least a year to get back to normal. Six months is probably the earliest you’d feel normal — and that’s if you were pushing it. I know if you are running regularly, it’s frustrating and you’ll feel like you’re getting nowhere, but that’s not the case!
4. Stroller running strengthens.
If you are like me, you were pumped to stroller run. I do it frequently but it’s not my favorite thing because it’s hard. You know what hard means…strength, endurance, power. The more you do it, the easier your solo runs will be.
5. It might not make you feel the same.
Previously, running may have been the one thing that made you fee like a million bucks. Maybe you looked forward to your weekend long run. Well, life is different and priorities change. For me, I didn’t want to spend the same amount of time running because it took away from other parts of life. Also, the way your body responds may just be different so be prepared for that.
6. You must do speedwork/cross training to get back to where you were.
While before you may have run say 20 miles a week easy, you may need to do some speedwork or workout other muscles to get back to your old paces and endurances. Doing speedwork gets your body used to the old speeds and cross training is important as your body recovers from the trauma of pregnancy and giving birth!
My saving grace on getting back into running this year has been podcasts. Also, knowing I’m always running with what I need — water, phone, headphones, snack, layers. It’s easier if I’m stroller running — that thing will hold EVERYTHING you do (and don’t!) need.
Of course running stroller-free is the best but you still want to have your stuff. I have been using the Nathan hipster waist pack and hand-held water bottle. They also have a shoe light that hooks on to the back of your shoe if you are running early morning or night in the dark.
(*Nathan sent me these items for review)
Ideally, you will have wireless headphones (I have the Epic2 Bluetooth) and they are SO much better than dealing with wires. Either way, you need to have your phone for a variety of reasons. I also track my runs on RunKeeper app sometimes.
I’m still not back to where I once was. But I feel stronger each time I run and I know eventually I can get there. Don’t be discouraged by post-partum running — just give your body the time it needs!
Questions for me? What experiences have you had with post-partum running?