I am not a mother runner, which means no matter how many books I read on running (all of them) or how many friends I have go through the experience, I’ll never fully understand running after pregnancy.
Learning your body again while someone is hanging off of it and you’re sleeping less than ever. Figuring out why things feel so different as you juggle a new schedule.
Yet, many of you coming here for information are indeed new mother runners and I coach many running mom’s, which means I felt like it was my duty to go out and find the best information I could for you just like on any other topic!
Luckily, I know some incredibly amazing mother runners, some of whom are coaches themselves. I peppered them with questions and happily they gave up their secrets.
So now some of the things they wish they’d known as new mother runners.
5 Tips for Running After Pregnancy
It goes without saying that every single runner has a different experience and every single new mom has a different experience.
It’s why when I found someone to write about running through pregnancy we talked about how some women feel great the whole time, others are done after trimester one and some suddenly feel like going in the last trimester.
Which is to say, use these tips as motivation to know it’s possible to get out there. Not as a comparison of what you should be doing, you do you!
Pictured here: Lindsey Hein
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Prioritize
The main reason anyone doesn’t run is either “I’m too busy” or “it’s bad for your knees”. Ha ok, not that simple, but for most time is our biggest issue and what I’ve found with everyone is it becomes a matter of prioritizing.
I’ve loved watching the dedication of Rebecca and thought she had some great tips:
“When I started running, I thought just working out from home would make things easier. No driving to the gym, travel time doesn’t need considered, I run from my house to my house- what a great idea!
However, kids don’t care what time you’re “supposed” to work out (until the kids start running themselves). Luckily, the deal was I (mommy) get gym/run time so she can shed the baby weight and daddy gets kids within 2 hours of alarm time through the time I get home. Then, as soon as I get home, he (daddy) leaves to go lift. It’s a give and take.
If you don’t have the support crew, it’s harder to make this work. You can definitely always STILL get up, dead-dog tired and run on a treadmill while your kids sleep in the other room. It’s completely doable, but much easier when someone can let you get that 1 hour of extra sleep before it’s time to get your fitness on.
However, even if you have the support, it’s up to you to motivate yourself. What do you want and how bad do you want it? Say you’ll do it and do it so you don’t have “working out” looming over your head all day, wondering when you’ll fit it in. It makes you happier and in turn your family happier.”
Need tips on transitioning to morning runs? Check this out.What does it take to get back to running after baby? 5 mother runners (and coaches) share the tips you might be overlooking! #runchat #fitfam #motherruner Click To Tweet
2. Jogging With Baby
If you thought buying new running shoes was a trick, well jogging stroller life is a whole new ballgame. Luckily you don’t need to replace them every 500 miles, but you do need to figure out how to run with one and how to get your new running buddy used to it!
Lisa from Mile by Mile shared this tip:
The biggest lesson I learned about running with a jogging stroller is to make sure it is aligned properly! Most jogging strollers have a front wheel that locks, but it if it’s not aligned it’s really hard to push it straight!
If the manual isn’t helpful do some googling to figure out how to get it aligned. Many runners leave the front wheel unlocked and find that to be more comfortable, but I felt like the stroller moved to much. Figure out what works best for you!
Beyond that is learning how to run with the stroller:
- Just like starting to run, go back to run:walk and get a feel for how things move
- Try shifting arms so you aren’t always using more force from one side
- Utilize the tether to make you feel more comfortable when it picks up speed downhill
3.Incorporate More of the Family
Let’s be honest running after pregnancy isn’t just about how your body feels different, it’s how EVERYONE feels like things are different.
Take your kids to the local high school and let them play on the field while you run, invest in a jogging stroller, wake up and get your run in before your partner goes to work, run while your kids ride their bikes, hire a local high schooler to watch your kids for 45 min. while you get a run in…
Ask your partner to figure out a schedule were you get some solo time to run or where you alternate who goes to workout solo.
Nike said it so well… Just do it!Pictured here: Danielle Hart
4. Pelvic Floor Exercises Postpartum
If dynamic stretching is what I harp on to every single runner around me, then pelvic floor is what every mother runner needs to learn to incorporate both for running while pregnant and post pregnancy running.
Running Coach Christine is certified in post pregnancy running and provided these great tips!
Pelvic floor strengthening tends to be overlooked for new moms as it’s mostly talked about for those who are pregnant to aid in labor and delivery.
But now that baby has arrived it’s just as important to focus on regaining strength in the very important muscles that were stretched and weakened for both vaginal deliveries and cesarean deliveries.
The pelvic floor muscles and deep core muscles play a role in every day life and many new moms experience issues with peeing while running, diastasis recti, prolapse and simple things like sneezing and coughing.
But with proper movements, breathing, contracting and releasing of the correct muscles, these issues can be fixed and improved over time, which can lead to getting back to doing these like running and exercising!
ONE PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISE TO TRY
An example of a simple breathing exercise to help your mind connect with the correct muscles is as follows:
- lay down on your back with your feet on the floor, about hip width apart, close to your bottom
- Close your eyes, place hand on your belly, and inhale a deep breath pushing your belly out and release the pelvic floor muscles
- The pelvic floor muscles would be the same muscles you would release in order to pee
- On the inhale, release those same muscles (without peeing of course)
- On the exhale contract those same muscles (as if you were to stop your flow of urine) and contract the transverse abdominal muscles (think lower abs)
- While you are exhaling and contracting, imagine pulling a zipper up the inside of your body from the pelvis all the way up to your head
- Hold for about 3 seconds
- Once you feel comfortable with releasing and contracting these muscles, try adding a bridge on the exhale.
If you are having issues with incontinence, pelvic pain, or prolapse, it is recommended to go see a Pelvic Floor PT Specialist so they can asses and prescribe the proper treatment plan for you.
5. Pay Attention to Fueling
Great tips from Holistic Health Coach and mother runner Laura Peifer:
- Your post-baby body is looking for extra calories as you recover from birth, and especially if you’re breast-feeding.
- Pay attention to eating every 3 hours.
- Getting a mix of protein and carbs to keep your energy high.
- Give your body the nutrients it needs to rebuild itself and get stronger.
In other words, you’ll be squeezing these runs in when you can, but doing it on low fuel is going to make them feel far worse and slow down your return. Even if you are thinking about weight loss, this isn’t the time to try burning crazy calories.
Your body needs fuel to keep up with the demands of your day.
All right mama’s these are some incredible women with wisdom of both experience and certifications to help you through this time.
Have more new mother runner questions?? Let us know.
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