Hey friends! Happy Friday! Hope you’re doing well. We’re enjoying record heat this week in Colorado so I’m currently writing this sitting outside watching Madeleine climb trees while Matthew naps…pretty much a perfect Spring day.
Even though I don’t run as much anymore, I’m still a runner at heart. If you’ve followed me for a bit, you know that I found my love of fitness through my love of running. I did marathons and half marathons on the regular pre-kids and I’ve been dying to get back into it. I made some running mistakes after having Madeleine and did things much differently when I was pregnant and post partum with Matthew. I wanted to share my post partum plan I went through after Matthew and how it helped. And if you still around, you’ll get a fun running workout perfect for post partum mamas!
With Madeleine I started running 6 weeks post partum without doing any pelvic floor exercises and very little strength training. That resulted in some serious pelvic floor and back injuries which took me out of running until I was 9 or 10 months post partum. I definitely didn’t want to make that mistake again.
With Matthew, I was diligent with pelvic floor exercises throughout my pregnancy with him and continued to do those post partum. I also saw a pelvic floor PT throughout my pregnancy with him and post partum. These things helped set me up for a fairly easy delivery and recovery with Matthew. I did no weight lifting at all for 6 weeks after he was born. I know some women can get right back into lifting and working out 2-3 weeks post partum and I’m here to say, don’t compare yourself to these women. I strongly recommend you waiting the full 6 weeks no matter your fitness level. At 6 weeks I started my own Empower Your Fitness program and made modifications where needed…no frontal pressure on the abdominals and no high impact exercises. I waited 12 weeks before running as per the latest research suggests.
I started with a basic running strategy…run 1 min, walk 4, run 1 min, walk 4. I did this until my pelvic floor started to feel fatigue or slightly uncomfortable. The first time I did this, I was able to cycle through those intervals for 35 minutes. This was my max until I felt no pain or fatigue throughout the exercise. I also ran at a faster pace that normal for that 1 minute. Slower running causes more ‘bouncing’ in your stride which can add more pressure to your pelvic floor. To avoid this, run at a sprint or slightly slower than your sprint pace. This takes that bouncing away and therefore, reduces the pressure on the pelvic floor.
After 2 weeks of doing this interval work 2-3 times per week, I upped my running time to 2 minutes and decreased my walking time to 3 minutes. As you can see, it was a very slow reintroduction to running and at times I felt as though I’d make no progress. I kept telling myself, however, that it was important to avoid injury. As I continued to run 2-3 times per week and slowly up my running time, things started to click more and feel better. I am now at a point I can run 2-3 miles with very little walking and it feels great.
Another thing to keep in mind, if you’re getting back into running after a hiatus, is to keep it fun. There are days when I take my daughter out for a run and we just follow her pace. It’s obviously slower than normal for me but it’s enjoyable, which is why I started running in the first place–I enjoyed it! I want to maintain my love of this sport and the only way to do that is to have fun and be more relaxed on a some of my runs–no pace or distance in mind, just run.
So let’s talk specific running workouts, shall we? Below is a downloadable file just for you! In this file, you’ll find 3 running workouts that can be tailored to fit your running ability. Download and enjoy! Let me know if you try them, tag me on Instagram or shoot me an email!