10 things to consider when returning to running

This week on Instagram I was talking a lot of about returning to running postpartum.

I hate making “rules” for women when it comes to their bodies and how they return to fitness. We get enough rules in pregnancy, postpartum, and in life in general in terms of our body.

I also want you to be able to return to the things you love successfully without fear of leaking, pain, or set backs.

Here are 10 things you might consider when returning to running postpartum

  1. Sleep
  2. 3+ months postpartum
  3. core and pelvic floor function
  4. breastfeeding
  5. no pain
  6. strength of core and glute muscles
  7. single leg balance assessment
  8. single leg squat assessment
  9. forward bounds
  10. single leg running man

Sleep is crucial for recovering not only from birth but also when starting to workout. So if your little angle isn’t sleeping 3+ hours stretches at night keeping you up multiple times a night, running might need to wait. High impact activities on little sleep can do a lot of damage to our bodies.

Yes your doctor gave you the go ahead at 6 weeks to resume life as normal but what if we treated postpartum like an injury. If you sprained your ankle and didn’t do anything on it for 6 weeks would your resume running right away?No, you would work on strengthening, mobility, and the actual act of running, because you gate might have changed. So how can we rehab our postpartum body to be ready for running.

Core and pelvic floor rehab. Taking some time to rehab your core and pelvic floor is crucial not only for running but postpartum life. Taking time to strengthen these areas together will help keep your back from pain, heaviness in your pelvic floor, and better strength during running. My first suggestion is always meeting with a pelvic floor physical therapist to get a base line of understanding. Then connecting with a postpartum fitness specialist to get back to the activities that you love.

Breastfeeding and running will not change your production but it will effect your joints. The hormone relaxin is elevated up to 3 months after weaning or stopping breastfeeding. This can make joints lax and weaker. Returning to running moms just need to be more aware of this and make sure their shoes are appropriate and knowing the terrain of their run. Just like during pregnancy.

If you have any pain at all during your day to day life you should strongly consider holding off on running. Running will only exasperate that pain and make your day to day life harder. Running is an outlet, a chance to feel like yourself again. You don’t want it to be something you are scared to do or something that will cause more pain later. I highly recommend a pelvic floor PT before returning to running.

During pregnancy and postpartum our posture changes, and many times when this happens are glute muscles and hamstrings turn off. Take time to strengthen not only your large glute muscles but your side butt (stabilizing glute muscles) as well. These muscles keep you knees strong and pain free as well. Again core strengthen is crucial as well. If you are looking for core workouts specifically made more moms check out The Strong Core Guide.

Now for the assessments. What should you be thinking about during these. Pain, heaviness in the pelvic floor, weakness, or instability. If while performing these exercises you have any of these symptoms work on that exercise to strengthen those muscles or contact a pelvic floor PT or myself to help you return to running with success.

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