Running after having a baby

Returning to running after a baby: Account of a gentle year of regaining fitness

About a year ago I was sat in a similar position on my sofa searching the internet about returning to running after having a baby.

Picuture of legs and trainers of runner after baby

During my research I read several helpful posts, but really enjoyed personal accounts of women who had returned to running after their baby. I loved reading individual stories that inspired me.

My writing here may not inspire but is a simple and genuine reflection on my year of gentle running after my second baby.

I’d been given advice by my GP at my 6 week check, and also a physiotherapist, that running (high impact exercise) is not usually recommended until 12 weeks after delivery. I also had some pelvic floor complications so was advised to take it really easy until 6 months.

By the time my little boy was 3 months old, I was keen to get my trainers back on. I’d not been able to exercise at all during my pregnancy due to severe morning sickness so knew I was going to have to take it really easy.

picture of sea

Running three months after delivery:

At 3 months post delivery (to the day) I set out on my first tentative post-baby run. I’d thoroughly ‘googled’ the topic and felt armed with the essential information. I knew the importance of correct support for breast-feeding and opted to wear not one, but two, super-supportive sports bras; I meticulously planned my run around sleep/feed times (my babies and my own); Ensured my bladder was empty right before set off.

After all this preparation I ran (or rather gently jogged) for a grand total of 5 minutes.

A very short and drama-free jog, but one during which I appreciated the precious minutes to myself, and was incredibly thankful that my core and pelvic muscles had recovered sufficiently to enable the start of a return to fitness.

Over the next three months, I ran maybe once or twice a week for a maximum of twenty minutes at a time and at no more than 70% effort. Like a lot of women I found my pelvic floor wasn’t as strong after my second baby. In these early months I spent a lot more time on pelvic floor and core exercises than running.

Core abdominal exercises after baby

Running six months after delivery

At around 6 months old my little boy was breastfeeding frequently over night and although my pelvic floor and core were feeling stronger, I was tired. My running pattern remained a gentle jog once or twice a week.

Running nine months after delivery

I ran a couple of 5k park runs and finally felt confident enough to rejoin my running club.

Running track

Running one Year after delivery

It took a whole year to get close to my previous level of fitness and finally managed to run 5k in around 25 minutes.

Running fourteen months after delivery

I’d finished breastfeeding and inspired by some of my amazing friends, who had run half and full marathons after their babies, I singed up to a couple of 10k runs completing in times of 49.53 and 51.48.

I am looking forwards to a half marathon next month.

I am not a super-serious or particularly fast runner, but it is something that makes me feel happier, more confident and re-energised. If you’re thinking about running after pregnancy do chat to your GP at your 6 week postpartum check. Although time (and sleep) are often in short supply as a parent, it is possible to regain fitness, or even to think about physical fitness for the first time.

If you’d like some more inspiration have a little look at these two wonderful Mums, one of whom started running for the first time after her second baby and the other who regained fitness after a difficult twin pregnancy.

Running trainers

Exercise has many benefits for both physical and mental wellbeing. Of course it doesn’t have to be running, NHS choices has some excellent information about recommended amounts of cardiovascular and muscle strengthening exercise.

Other Articles about Running after Pregnancy:

  • Runner’s World:  A list of activities to start each week after delivery beginning with pelvic floor exercises, adding in some strength training and starting some gentle running after 8 weeks.

Although some people may be thinking about return to running after 8 weeks, the advice I received advice from my GP and physiotherapist that running is not usually recommended until 12 weeks after delivery.

  • NHS: Sensible advice from NHS choices about fitness and health as a new parent

Healthy strawberries

Mami 2 Five

5 thoughts on “Running after having a baby

  1. DrJuliet September 26, 2015 / 9:53 pm

    Well done! It takes so much effort to get yourself out there when you’ve had a baby. So many things that make running a bit of a difficult challenge from psychological to physical barriers, not to mention time! Good luck with your next event, looking forward to seeing how it went x

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare September 27, 2015 / 8:24 am

      Time is definitely a limiting factor at the moment, it just takes lots of organisation to plan a long run! In the early days absolutely there were lots of other barriers too. I’ve actually had to switch from the HM I’d planned to one the week after, it might not be as picturesque but just as much of a challenge! Xx

      Like

  2. toughcookie11 September 27, 2015 / 12:21 pm

    Very inspiring! I used to be such a keen runner and I just one day stopped! When I had my little man I decided to start all over again. I’m only doing half hour a few times a week but I have found a new love for it again! Just need to find a warm top for those chilly morning runs in the winter x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Karen September 28, 2015 / 7:52 pm

    Wow!! I am so impressed! I took on running before I got pregnant, but I think lack of time and tiredness were my biggest barriers for getting back into it. Lots of luck with your training and future events.
    Thanks for linking up to #SundayStars

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare October 9, 2015 / 6:45 pm

      Thanks very much. Its true there are many barriers after having a little one. Hope you find time and energy for whatever it is you most enjoy now a days!

      Like

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