Postpartum Running: Sarah’s Journey
Let’s talk about running postpartum.
My favorite form of stress relief is running and I even enjoy running races to satisfy my competitive nature. I’m currently a mom of two and with my first baby I was able to run/workout for 8 months, so I wasn’t worried about getting back into it after having her.
My delivery was long and my body went through so much trauma. But, even after a stressful delivery, I felt I was ready to get back into the saddle doing some sort of exercising just a few short weeks later.
I started out walking, of course with a stroller, which is more wearing than you think if you’ve never done so. I never realized how much I needed my arms for momentum before! Once I was cleared to run/work out again, I began my long journey of running to get back into shape. It was more difficult than ever due to lack of sleep, a new (often unpredictable) schedule, breastfeeding, work, and between meals/errands.
Even though it was a slow process, I was determined to run the 10K we had signed up for...7 weeks postpartum...not sure what I was thinking. However, I did it and finished with a time of 60 minutes! But, at what cost, you may ask? Sure, my body was able to finish, but I can tell you it didn’t like it! I was uncomfortable and hurting all over. I didn’t listen to my body that was telling me I was still healing and recovering. Instead, I only listened to my competitive spirit that was telling me to push, push, push.
As I continued with my fitness journey, my time was limited. So, when I had the time to work out I would only run. I would do so at lunch or early morning. Luckily, I have an amazing and supportive husband who knows I need my exercise time and would help make that happen so I could also run on my own, stroller-free! I did not cross train (which, now I know better) and began having back pain/neck pain that I never had before.
This was more than likely due to lack of strength and increased elasticity of my ligaments. Before I knew it, I had a herniated disc in my neck and began to lose strength/sensation in my left arm and hand. After PT and injections, I was on the mend and knew I needed to do a better job of taking care of myself.
Welp, a month later I was pregnant with my second. Oops.
Because I wasn’t in the shape I was in prior to having my daughter, I knew running through this pregnancy was going to be harder. I tried, but was only able to make it to 4-5 months due to increased pain, Braxton hicks, and lower extremity discomfort.
I walked and did body weight workouts here and there. But, walking with a stroller while pregnant was hard enough, truthfully! My son was born in December, and I was determined to get back into shape, but take care of myself while doing so this time. I ran another race, 10 weeks postpartum this time, but my body still wasn’t ready. You would think I would have learned the first time around, but I didn’t. So, after realizing how much harder it was with two kiddos, I lost all motivation. Lack of sleep, weakness, fatigue, two kids, and working took a toll on me. A year went by and I knew things needed to change.
Once my son turned one, I was determined to get myself back in a healthier space.. I knew I needed to do more cross training and work on getting my core/hips stronger. When January came around, I hit the road running. We signed up for a race to run in April, which gave me 3-4 months to train. I started out slow and did more interval training instead of just going out and running miles. I was on pinterest/google looking up all the return to running workouts and running programs. After months of training, I was able to get my mileage up and felt better than I have in a long time. It was a journey, a hard one that I am still training through and learning daily.
Stay tuned for my next blog where I'll share my favorite tips for running postpartum! And, of course, please feel free and share your own in the comments. :)
Thanks for reading,