Postpartum Running – The Beginning

So I’ve been running for a week now.

tiredhurts runningisimpossible

I WHOLE week and I’ve logged about 9 miles. For some people this is a blip on the radar. For ME that’s a blip on the radar. Of course, some people are also able to run their entire pregnancy and can jump back into things a lot sooner without chancing injury. Obviously, I am not one of those people. I’m hoping to follow my running progress over the next few months — on the road to racing and hopefully PRing over the course of the next year. I have some lofty goals, but if this pregnancy taught me anything it’s that I have a higher pain threshold than I thought!

Untitled
Sure you do.

You’d think that because Evan is my third baby I would know what to expect getting back exercising… but yeah, I’ve found it’s different every time. I also didn’t run with Braeden and Livie (I started when L was about a year old) and running is really a different beast. Running incorporates so many different muscles that I don’t use in other cardio activities.

horizontal running

So, how is going SO FAR?

Well, the first run back was euphoric.

turk

I was really expecting it to be horrible – but it was anything but. I jumped on the treadmill and just went for it before I could procrastinate. I started at a pace that I thought would be difficult – but it ended up feeling easier than I thought it would. I did stop and walk once every mile for a minute to give my body a break and to chug some water. I’m also trying to be “good” and run with the treadmill at a 1% incline. I confess in the past I’ve been bad about adding the incline – but I want to strengthen my legs as much as I can, as soon as possible and leaving it at 0% incline isn’t going to help me.

The second run was less euphoric, but still felt really good. I ran intervals on the treadmill between supersets – again as an effort to strengthen my body. However, I was tired by mile 2 and as I closed in on 2.5 miles my right calf muscle and left hip/abs started to ache. I think part of this is due to my shoes. I really love the Brooks PureConnect2 BUT they are a little small (I’m planning on returning them — woomp woomp). I was hoping to run 3 miles, but my running form was off and I didn’t want to risk it I so cut it off at 2.65. I’m pretty sure if I kept it up this would have happened…minus the worm.

worm

The third run was my first run outside and a true test of how much running ability I’ve lost. At the advice of many, I did not wear my Garmin (partially because I haven’t charged it and I think it’s about to die anyway), but I did wear my HRM to monitor my overall time. I wore an older pair of shoes and again they did not do me any favors – especially because it was rainy and the ground was wet and slippery. FAIL. Overall, the run sucked. I went after the kids were in bed and there I was already tired. It was crazy humid (no surprise there), I ate a million bugs, and after about a mile in my left thigh/adductor started to bother me. BUT I ran the whole damn thing and I regardless of how much I thought it sucked I also LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

This is me on endorphins.

Endorphins make me take selfies.

The best part, of course, is the crazy runner’s high I get when I’m done. I don’t normally get that feeling until I’m hitting about 4 miles, but I must have a lot of pent up endorphins just busting to get out because I’ve felt amazing after each of these runs. If anything, that feeling alone is keeping me going.

Finally, here are a few observations I’ve made over the past few runs…

  • It’s a lot easier to run when you don’t have a litte human living inside of you.
  • It’s easier to change up your stride and correct your form when you haven’t run in a long time.
  • Running gives me more energy than I thought it did. I have been so wired after each run – surprising when you are otherwise completely sleep deprived.
  • Skipping the chiropractor is not doing me any favors. Unfortunately, getting there is not convenient and I haven’t been since the Wednesday before Evan was born. I’ve actually decided to switch practices – I found one that is close to work AND has a sports therapy focus. 
  • I have to constantly remind myself to TAKE IT EASY. It’s so easy to slip right back into a mode where I’m really trying to push myself, but in reality I need to take it slow and gradually rebuild my strength and speed.
  • Muscle instability is no joke. My adductor isn’t that sore today, but I am not risking pulling any muscles (especially that one, which can result in needing surgery!) – so I won’t be running until it feels  100%. In the meantime, I will be doing exercises to help balance my pelvic floor area. Hormones doesn’t seem to help either. I still have some Relaxin swimming around in my bloodstream so I need to be careful!
  • I AM SO THIRSTY.  And I really hate water, so being thirsty and being able to chug 60-90oz of water a day is huge for me. Can I just refuel with beer and wine?? No? Damn.
  • Running is awesome.

Have you taken a hiatus from running (for any reason – not just pregnancy)? Any tips?

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  1. Running is my coffee. It’s the only way I ever feel awake. My rest days are awful that way because I’m sleep walking around.

    9 miles is a great first week back! It will get easier soon. After my first run back I could barely walk up the stairs and I had run my whole pregnancy haha
    Kara recently posted..I’m not really even trying here

    • It’s crazy how alert I am! Usually working out just makes me tired.

      It’s reassuring that you were hurting your first week back too. It’s crazy how jacked up your body can get just popping out a kid.

  2. Great to hear that things are going well. 9 miles is great for the first week back.

    I am interested to see how my own return to running goes in a couple of months. I have come back from injuries, but nothing that has changed my body the way pregnancy has. It will be an adventure.
    Heather recently posted..Birth Planning

    • I think you’ll be surprised at how fast your body will bounce back – especially because I know you’ve kept active! I do feel like I am starting over with running, but my body doesn’t feel TOO out of shape. I think he biggest issue to adjusting to sleep and breastfeeding. I think my body is used to now and it hasn’t really impacted me as much (or maybe I’m just in denial). It’s always an adventure :)

    • It took me a long to get back to the swing of things with Braeden — with Livie I was back a little sooner. You’d think because I am older that would be the opposite, right? No idea why that is.

      Glad you liked the gifs – I probably spent more time than I’d like to admit finding them. Lol.

    • I hope I will be back to normal soon! It’s like starting over again though – it’s definitely going to take some time. And thank you!

    • I agree with expecting the worst!! The subsequent runs have been more difficult BUT I know I will get back to my pre-pregnancy form. I just need to have patience and put in some hard work!

  3. Pingback: Postpartum Running - Months 1 and 2 - Crazy Running Legs