Postpartum Running After a Long 16 Week Break
I was so keen to complete our 6-week check with the doctor, and receive the green light to begin my postpartum running.
Firstly, I spoke with my personal trainer Ed. I aired my concerns about the potential impact of the break, and the extra weight I am now carrying. His advice was to try and run 3.5K on my first attempt. Initially, I felt this was a little ambitious. However, Ed’s explanation of how this distance would give my legs time to warm up and adapt made perfect sense. So, the first weekend Daddy was around to help with the boys, my aim was to get out postpartum running. Although I have to admit the anticipation was building and there were certainly mixed emotions about this run. I wanted to be both optimistic and realistic, which left me feeling a little nervous. Standing outside the front door, I began my warm-up stretches…
My First Run
During the first kilometre, I felt like my old self again. That sense of freedom and pride, which comes from being a runner, came flooding back. I felt energised and motivated by my classic music playlist, which I have not listened to for many months…as my happy place, and distresser, it felt comfortable!
That is until the chest pains kicked in. I haven’t experienced them like this since my very first run when my eldest child turned 12 months old. At approximately 1km, I remember thinking just how hard this was, and I even told myself how it may be too soon for postpartum running…but really, I knew that was a cop-out. It was inevitable that it would take some distance to regulate my breathing and break my legs in.
At this point, it took hard work and determination to continue, but I did. Although my pace was terribly
slow, and to passers-by, I must have looked like I was inexperienced and struggling, I know what my body has been through, and how great I would feel when I finished my chosen route.
Personal trainer Ed advised me well, my legs did adapt – a welcomed response following the varicose veins I gained during pregnancy!! My breathing did take a little longer to settle down when I finished my run, but that is all part of getting my fitness level back.
To sum up my first postpartum run, physically I felt challenged and disadvantaged. But, emotionally I felt stronger than ever…having the ability to say I CAN because I am a RUNNER made me feel
elated and proud.
It’s definitely going to be an uphill battle to return to my former running fitness. However, I’m not trying to return to my former self, because now I am a mum of 2!