Firstly, I believe congratulations are in order, Mozal tov!
Secondly lets just get this out in the open; “Go fast or go home” makes for a marvelous instagram quote, but its not really the rule for retruning to running after having a baby. It is said that returning to running postpartum is even harder than running whilst pregnant; phsycially, mentally and believe it or not, emotionally.
So don’t worry if your thinking ‘I’m hurting in places I never knew existed after trying to run around the block, this is going to be impossible’ (when it was once effortless, free and easy to run, frankly anywhere).
Well this is for you.
You are not alone, its a perfectly NORMAL reaction (and it is possible!)
I read somewhere that pregnancy teaches you humility, whereas postpartum running teaches you patience.
Whats weird is we tend to be more forgiving and understanding when running during pregnancy. Its right to gain weight and be unable to ‘go hard or go home’. Yet once we have our baby we assume our bodies and running abilities will come flooding back to pre-baby state instantly.
Your first few runs may resemble a bambi-on-ice, limbs everywhere, heavy awkward and almost forign; like your body isnt your own. You loose heart, perhaps feel you’ll never get back to normal.
And don’t be discouraged if you feel this way for a number of months (we’re talking up to 9-12 months before it starts to feel ‘right´again). But your body has been through an enormous change and is dealing with it. Not only that, you have to consider time and logistics running with a stroller.
Oh how things have changed…
The changes your body throughout pregnancy and childbirth
During pregnancy, the uterus expands pushing on the abdominal muscles, causing localised separation and weakness whilst the weight of the growing fetus increases the demand on your pelvic floor muscles. A hormone called Relaxin is produced during pregnancy which helps relax the structural integrity of joints (which is great for stretcing and movement in the pelvis for support in childbirth but not so great for running).
That pesky (for running) but integral hormone Relaxin lingers within your body for up to 6 months after the baby is born, which can enable your joints to go beyond their anatomical limit easier; putting higher than normal injury risks for hips, knees, ankles. Great.
Not only that, Natural childbirth creates significant stress on the pelvic floor (so needs time to recover). The abdominal muscles are weakened causing a dominoe effect contributing to low-back pain, hip pain, pevlic pain and so on.
Also lacking in a sleeping routine is a major factor to hindering your running performance. Your body is grafting to recover and re-regulate itsself from the trauma of child birth, without efficient sleep, you will naturally find it increasingly difficult to lace up the sneakers and hit the trials. So don’t be so hard on yourself, your working relentlessly, without even realising it.
“When can I start running again?”
How long is a piece of string? Your body is completely different to mine, who is completely opposite to Claire’s (I don’t know who Claire is either) but it is so important that YOU DO NOT COMPARE TO CLAIRE OR ANY OTHER MOM RUNNER. Our pregnancy journeys, delivery, complications, recovery, Doctors approval, and circumstances vary so there is no right answer here except: always go by your doctors advice.
Although if you’re interested in timelines:
I think its safe to say, for the first 6 months, you listen to your body, recover from the physiological adjustments to bring your little one into the world and enjoy some mid-dayy-naps, cuddles, focus on building the basics back up with pelvic floor exercises.
It is likely your physician would put you on an exercise progression routine to slowly build up the intensity with cross-training before entertaining the idea to put your body under further stress to run. (But of course, consult your doctor before you dig our your running shoes!) something resembling this:
Jogging strollers facts that will wow you.
So you’ve got the all clear from your doctor to start running again, but wait everything has changed since having a baby. EVERYTHING. Including how your going to manage to run whilst taking care of little one, or even get out at all – you’re probably going to need a jogging stroller.
No seriously, it’s a thing.
To make certain its all safe, it is best to get the approval of your doctor to run with a little one. A few points to consider:
- Its usually advised to wait for little one to be at least 9 months old (as many jogging buggies don’t have laying down feature for baby)
- Make sure your little one has eaten (and thus due a nap and wont interrupt your running momentum)
- Get a stroller designed for jogging that the front wheel locks straight
- Run against traffic if you must be road bound but stay off the road for obvious reasons
- and BE SEEN!
- Practise with the new stroller in the store before buying, theres so many options (and you wouldn’t dare buy shoes without trying them on first!)
I know it can be difficult to push a stroller whilst walking, so running is going to get interesting isn’t it? However, theres scientific research here that have pinpointed how much more effortit takes to push a stroller and run, down to the extra percentage of calories burned per technique of stroller jogging. Cool huh? Theres even a calculator to figure it out yourself.
The 2016 study from Seattle Pacific University conclude:
*You could actually lag behind your usual pace but still burn the same amount of energy as you would usual pace without a stroller, neat huh?
Some jogging strollers to consider
Running doesn’t have to break the bank. The safety of you and your little one is paramount and having done research for you, these strollers are top-notch for front wheel locking and wheels for multiple terrains (you’re so welcome):