Reflections on Postpartum Running
ME:“Holy crap, I just grew and delivered a human child.”
“What the heck, kid? Why don’t you sleep more than 2 hours at a time?”
“Is poop supposed to look like that?”
ME:“I am just so tired.”
“WHERE IS ALL THE CHOCOLATE?”
“Has that spit up been in my hair all day?”
MIRROR: Yes. Also your shirt is on backward.
ME: K, cool.
Enter postpartum running. A remedy for some of us to fight back against LOSING OUR FREAKING MINDS. Here are my reflections after now having two babies in the past three years. (Update- I ended up qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon and these three things were necessary for my comeback from pregnancy and childbirth. I am still alive and well and have not lost my entire mind.)
Now a perfectly “fit pregnancy” was something I dreamed of, but due to complications, I was not able to run my whole pregnancy. Do your best. It’s ok! You are growing a baby. There are a lot of benefits to running during pregnancy. Check out this article about running while pregnant by The Mother Runners.
#1 Focus on form.
Coming back from pregnancy, many of us are chomping at the bit to do as many miles as we can manage. First, we must run correctly. My body after babies was healing and readjusting from the ground up. Sometimes we have to run a different distance or pace to do this while postpartum running. For example, I had to run fewer miles a bit faster to execute good form. Slogging more miles with a slouched and tired posture only hurt me. I received help gaining health and mobility through physical therapy at Endurance Rehabilitation in Ada, Michigan and using a Zero Runner.
RELATED: Check out our A to Z Running Podcast episode, Run Faster without Trying Harder.
#2 Be consistent.
You’ve heard us say this over and over at A to Z Running, but CONSISTENCY IS KEY! One of the ways we developed consistency was by making running a family thing. Our investment in a single and then double jogger was essential. We have a YMCA membership which also has greatly helped me with my consistency. Running buddies and running groups add fun, accountability, and add value by building friendships.
Consistency is not just something new mamas struggle with, but every busy human. We wrote a must-read article about How to Succeed at Consistency in Running.
#3 Rest and cross train.
We get very few hours of sleep as moms, and our bodies may have a hard time recovering from a long run or workout. I took charge of my training. I changed the days of my long runs, chose to aqua jog or bike if the pounding hurt, and took days completely off. I found I could do a lot more when I was fatigued than I ever thought I could. If I could safely and sanely get the miles in, I did it.
A helpful question I ask myself is “Will running today hurt me or help me?” And the follow-up question: “What can I do today to set myself up for a better day tomorrow?” Sometimes the answer is using a foam roller and taking a bath (and maybe eating some chocolate).
Ok, so what do you think? Ready to run post babies? You’re tougher and more courageous than ever.
You are not alone in the obstacles facing mother runners, so check out some of the common challenges for mother runners and how to overcome them HERE. We also offer training services for runners on every level. We provide some of the most affordable coaching on the market. If you are interested, check out our training services.
RELATED: Podcast Episode, How to Support Mother Runners