Getting back to running post-partum is more about head space than physical ability, so how do you get back? Nandini Reddy has a few suggestions.
After the marathon of being pregnant for 9 months and dealing with a new born, it is hard to find the head space to get back on a running schedule. Once you have recovered physically, you need to also find balance in your head. The journey of post-partum exercise can be a tough one. But if you have the right approach then you can get back to your running schedules faster.
The first thing you need to do is wait for six to eight weeks and then get your doctor’s clearance before you begin your exercise routine.
Pregnancy changes your body drastically. Six to eight weeks after the delivery, when your doctor clears you for exercise – ensure that you discuss your goals with your doctor to understand your limits. Respect your body and remember that if you have been a active person before and during your pregnancy – getting back will not be a problem. Pregnancy and labour pushes your body to the extreme – emotionally, mentally and physically. Be mindful of the changes and work with a coach who is aware of this.
Involve your baby
The baby is always a priority in your life. So why not get them involved? You have yoga sessions which have mom and baby sessions. Use a stroller during your run. The added effort to push the stroller along will give you the extra resistance you need. This allows you to keep an eye on your baby and work in interval training routines or even strength training routines along with your runs.
Be flexible on time
Time is a luxury for every mother who is caring for an infant. If you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby you need to create a workout plan that takes into consideration the feeding schedule. There might even be instances where you need to feed your child mid workout or run. Don’t let that bother you too much. Prepare yourself mentally for these breaks and you will be able to achieve your fitness goals and be a good mom.
Rediscover your pace
When you start to run again after your pregnancy, you will probably find yourself putting in more effort and your pace might not be the same. It will feel like your starting all over again. You need not get into marathon’s immediately but you should train with that mindset. Work on increasing your pace and distance every week and you should be back to your pre-pregnancy running pace very quickly.
Work on your core
Your core muscles will weaken during your pregnancy. It is important to concentrate on them, otherwise you will have a future injury in your lower back, legs or hip flexors. Core strength training is extremely important. Try and work with a trainer who will be able to give you the right kind of exercises to strengthen your core. The abdominal wall needs to heal and you need to work on your breathing as well to tighten the core.
Fatigue is a given
Everything about your running style might change after the delivery. Your strides, your muscle strength and even your stamina. Even runners who have run during their pregnancy face these issues. Be cautious and work towards increasing your pace and distance slowly. You will feel fatigued. Ligaments will be more stressed as they also get expanded during the course of the pregnancy. So it is important to understand this and accept that fatigue will be a part of your training to get back.
Pick the right set of exercises
High impact exercises are not a good choice to begin with right after delivery. Running with intensity can also cause your pelvic region to weaken. The pelvic muscles are the weakest after a pregnancy and it is important to strengthen them the right way. Pay attention to this and focus your strengthening exercises on this.
The amount of trouble might seem overwhelming in the beginning. Easing back into exercise takes time and you need to give your body the respect it deserves. Find your rhythm and routine and the new you will find a way to adjust itself to a whole new exercise format.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.