Today I woke up very motivated to get my workout in today because it’s a national holiday!
I picked out my special outfit the night before, took care of baby Gavin and headed out the door for my run on National Running Day! So in loo of the holiday I wanted to share my tips to postpartum running.
1. Follow doctor’s orders
Before I began running again I made sure my doctor gave me the thumbs-up to exercise without any restrictions. After delivery my doctor and nurses did recommend walking… stroll like walking not power walking. In addition, I would foam roll 2-3x per week because I knew once I got back into running it was going to come with tight calves, hamstrings, and IT bands.
2. Go shopping and dress for comfort
Before my first run I made a trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods with coupons in hand and bought mama some new clothes (workout clothes). I really was not looking forward to squeezing into my Lululemon shorts and tanks because it was not going to be pretty or comfortable. I opted for Underamour shorts that were a looser fit and tanks tops that had a slightly higher neck line. With breastfeeding I am a little top heavy so I can’t stand the cleavage spilling out the top. Lastly, you may want to considering wear two sports bars. Again, being a little top heavy it’s no fun to feel the extra bounce or everyone to see the extra cleavage while running.
3. Find your stride and your breathe
My first few run workouts were run/walk intervals. Not the interval training in the sense of push to max and recover; rather, run one block walk the next block, try to run 2 blocks walk the next, etc… It’s cliche but after delivery of baby your body is different and stuff feels like it moved. So as I would run I would focus on my arm action; shoulders down, arms in tight and moving rhythmically. Then I moved down my body to legs and reminded myself to make my stride as light as possible (even thou my legs felt like led). I am not sure how many of you think about your breathe while running but it’s my go-to technique when the “running gets tough” and to find my rhythm while running. In through the nose and easy out through the mouth…
4. Cut yourself some slack
Easier said than done for me because I can be my own worst enemy. I blame it on being a virgo; in other words, I am a perfectionist and critical. (Right now) I am not expecting to be the athlete I was prior to getting pregnant. I am enjoying “starting over” and I have found a new appreciation for all exercise and new ways to exercise now that life is a little different. I have quickly come to terms with
a. workouts need to be quick (sometimes 30 minutes) and
b. workouts may not take place at my preferred time of day and
c. a workout may not be in the cards some days because moms are tired people. Especially when you are waking up in the middle of the night for weeks/months or your baby won’t go down for his 1pm nap
and most importantly
d. some days it’s more important to be with my husband and son rather than the gym.
5. Run intervals, build mileage slowly and mix up the cardio modes
I have three types of workouts I focus on throughout the week:
a. Intervals 1-2 days per week. I love interval training because it gives me a mental break from the stress of stringing together miles upon miles. It’s less “I only ran a mile so far!!! This treadmill must be broken it, I feel like I did at least 2.5miles.” With interval training it’s more of “2 minutes… I can run for 2 minutes than I get to walk for 2 minutes.” 🙂
b. “Long day” 1 day per week to build mileage. If I ran 3 miles last week, I am going to work towards four the next regardless of the amount of time it takes. Today was my long day. I am up to 4 miles 8.5 weeks post baby.
c. Don’t just run… that’s boring, ha ha. 1-2 days per week I go for a very long and hilly walk with the baby stroller or spin and do the elliptical. This is my way to build my stamina. Also it gives my “running” muscles a break. As a side note, I do try to strength train 3 days a week (that’s a whole other post).
6. Sign up for a race
I registered for Philadelphia Marathon as soon as I got home from the hospital. That was excessive I know… but it put me in the right frame of mind. And gave me something to look forward to doing for myself. In the meantime, I will slowly get back into running and focus on shorter races. I just ran my first 5K on 6/1/14!
I hope these tips were helpful in getting you motivated or giving you a place to get started.
I return back to work tomorrow after my maternity leave. Check back this week to find out if I cried in the corner my first day back at work, ha ha. Yikes, I hope that doesn’t really happen!
Disclaimer: Although I have a degree in Kinesiology and certified, you should consult a physician before starting any exercise program. If you choose to do any of the workouts featured on this website, you do so at your own risk.