Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Getting Back to Running Post Baby

Chloe nailed it. This is pretty much how I felt about the Aggie game this weekend. It was tough to watch and I'm trying to figure out where our offense went. Oh well, I'm not here to talk about my weekend. It wasn't the most exciting weekend in the world. In fact, it didn't stop raining which caused my first race postpartum to be cancelled. Such a bummer! Speaking of running postpartum, that is what I'm here to talk about today!

I was lucky enough to have an easy, vaginal delivery {birth story part 1, part 2} which allowed me to get back into the running game quickly. I was itching to get back out there since my running during pregnancy was cut short due to my ankle injury in my 16th week. So here's how I got back into running post baby.

Take it Slow.
A slow and steady start will help you ease back into the swing of things. Jumping in too fast could potentially cause injury or becoming incredibly discouraging. For me, it all started with walking. As a runner, walking never seems like enough. In fact, it feels like you're not trying hard enough or taking the easy way out. Remember, having a baby is a traumatic experience for your body. You need to let yourself heal completely before doing too much. I started going on walks after about 2 weeks. This time will vary for everyone! After two weeks, I was ready to get out there and take it slow. I mean slow. I couldn't walk with the dogs because they went too fast for me. Eventually, I was able to pick up my walking speed and I even learned how to take the stroller and one dog out together.

Try your first few runs solo.
Once you're ready to try to run, go out solo. You don't have to worry about slowing anyone down. You can take walk breaks when you need to. You only have to worry about how you feel. Make adjustments during your run, and remember it's your first few back in the game, you don't have to be perfect. Going out alone will help get rid of insecurities and you can just be proud of yourself for being out there! I attempted my first run in College Station at about 4 1/2 weeks postpartum. I only did 2 miles, it was probably pretty slow, but I was out there and I did it!

Don't expect to be the same pace you were pre baby yet.
Getting back into running is hard. Not only is your body different, but your endurance is as well. The most discouraging thing about running again is that you cannot pick up where you left off. Your normal pace is no longer normal, it's now your goal. Your previous goal pace is now a stretch goal. Try to remember where you are and be proud of yourself for getting back in the game. Start slow and gradually push yourself as your body becomes stronger. Try going out for your first few runs without a watch. I used a running app to track my mileage. I wouldn't pay attention to it during my run, but I was able to see how far I went.

Chloe will be 3 months old this week and I'm still about 30 seconds per mile slower then I used to be on average!

Train with a jogging stroller.
Jogging strollers are great! You can get your runs in with baby in tow and it's an awesome training tool. You think you're slow without the stroller, wait until you're pushing several pounds while you run. Again, you may be slower and need more walk breaks, but this is amazing for your endurance! Don't get discouraged and keep using it. When you run without the stroller, you'll feel like a rock star.

Here's an important stroller tip, don't assume the tires are completely inflated when you get it all set up. Mine were only about half full and it took me 2 months to realize it. Once my dad pumped those babies up, running with it was so much easier. Magical really!

There are tons of jogging strollers out there and everyone has there own preference. I recommend going to a store and getting a feel for the strollers before purchasing. I have the Graco Relay Performance Jogger {It's on sale at Babies R Us!} and love it! Chloe loves it too. She usually sleeps during our runs together, but sometimes likes to stay awake and watch her momma bound around. Here we are post run when she was awake for once!

You might pee.
This could be TMI, but I wasn't expecting it. I thought this may help some other confused new mom out there. Your bladder is not what it used to be, but it does get better. Here's how to avoid embarrassment: (1) Go to the bathroom right before you start running. Not 10 minutes before, right before. (2) Wear a pad. After a little while you can graduate to a panty liner. (3) Focus on contracting your lower abs. (4) Do lower ab exercise every single day. You'll survive. Push through it. Just know that you'll probably pee yourself some. And it takes a while for it to go away. I still haven't gotten there yet :-/

Enjoy the run.
You're running again because you're a runner and you like running. So enjoy the run! Don't focus on the negatives. Focus on how far you've come and the fact that you're actually doing it again. It takes time to get back to where you were before, but this about how much your body has accomplished. It's pretty amazing really. Now go out there and find something about your run that lights you up. It can be a song on your playlist, a favorite route or even just time alone. Just run!

How did you get back into running post baby?
Do you appreciate running more now?

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