Running Tips for the Post-Baby Mama

Photo courtesy https://flic.kr/p/6VZCDb

Photo courtesy Erno Mijland available at https://flic.kr/p/6VZCDb

Given my blog is called Run, Knit, Love you can probably guess that I think running is pretty great. You can do it anywhere with very little equipment. It’s great stress relief. It gives you a good workout in a relatively short amount of time. You can see clear improvement with hard work. I could go on.

But I know not everyone loves running. Running can be discouraging when you’re first starting up, or if you’re coming back to it after a long break. I was a newbie runner once too, and have come back to it after three pregnancies. So I know how that feels. But I’ve also learned some good tips for making the transition to running a little less painful.

  1. Get a good sports bra. You don’t need a lot to run, but you do need a decent sports bra. True story – once I went for a run, came home, was hanging out with the kids a bit before taking a shower. Then when I finally went to take a shower realized that my boob had actually fallen UNDER the bra. Um. Yeah. Luckily I wear a shirt when I run. So. Get a good sports bra. It makes a difference.
  2. Get your stride checked. Most running stores will check your stride for free. Even if you’ve had this done before, you may want to do so again after having a baby. Your feet, hips, stance – pretty much everything – can be different post-baby. Also while we’re on the subject of shoes – they should be replaced every 300-500 miles. Insider tip: you can tell when it’s time to replace them when you can easily bend the shoe backwards. You can also tell because you may start getting injuries. Don’t skimp on shoes.
  3. Give your body time to heal. It can be so tempting to want to get your body back, but your body has been through a lot! Most doctors recommend waiting until after the six week postpartum doctor’s visit before doing any high-impact exercise. From experience, this seems like a good benchmark. I tried going back too soon before, and it ended up putting me further back than if I’d waited the six weeks.
  4. Have a goal. I find it motivating to have something to be working toward. Right now I’m doing the 2015 challenge (2015 miles in 2015). But any goal from a 10 minute mile to a 5K to running 4 days a week is great! If you do train for a race, I really highly recommend Hal Higdon’s free running training programs. I ran my first marathon based on his beginner marathon plan and felt totally prepared.
  5. Stretch. I need to take this advice myself. When I do stretch, I feel better. And get injured less.
  6. If something hurts, stop. Don’t try to run through it. It will lead to more days off recovering than if you’d just walked it home.
  7. Be prepared for some weird stuff. The first month or so back to running involved a lot of emergency trips to the bathroom and other fun with bodily fluids. It’s normal. And it will get better.
  8. Find what works for you. Some people listen to music when they run, some need quiet. Some like to run alone, some with a friend. I usually do a mix of podcasts or silence, and run a few times a week with a friend while running the rest solo. I like mixing it up a bit.
  9. Don’t compare yourself to what you used to be – or to anyone else either. If you used to run, it can be discouraging to get back into it and be minutes per mile slower than you once were. Well mama, you birthed a baby. Give yourself some slack. It will come back, give it time.
  10. Don’t give up. It gets easier. My husband likes to say give it two years before deciding whether you like running. That may be slight exaggeration, but there will be a point when you can run 5 miles without feeling like you’ve been up all night with a crying baby. (Unless you’ve been up all night with a crying baby.) You can do it!

What advice would you add?

6 responses to “Running Tips for the Post-Baby Mama

  1. I don’t run but I’m trying to work out more since having my son. I NEED to get a new sports bra cause my girls are about 100 times bigger than they’ve ever been before. 😉

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  2. One tip I can think of is to tell someone your goal and your route – not just for safety in letting people know where you are going, but to have them encourage you to run by asking you about it and encouraging you, and they may suggest new interesting routes too!

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  3. I am not a runner at all, but my husband is and he really loves it. I was just thinking today that I should possibly take up jogging and trying to run with him after the baby gets here…. slowly of course. I think it would be a good thing for us to do together (I already have a jogging stroller) and it would help get me into shape after my last pregnancy. I don’t want to keep this mom-butt forever! 😉 Great tips and I’ll be keeping for future use!

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